HP has come a long way from a tiny garage on Addison Avenue in Palo Alto where Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard took $538 in working capital and a Sears-Roebuck drill and built what is now the largest technology company in the world. When HP tasked Edelman Digital to build a website for its passionate tech enthusiast community, we looked at our own entrepreneurial heritage for inspiration. After all, Edelman came from humble beginnings as well – Daniel J. Edelman transformed his company from a one-man PR business to the leading independent global PR firm in world.
In 1949, Dan Edelman accepted his first public relations job for the Toni Company (now a Gillette division) and launched the first-ever product media tour with 12 sets of identical twins asking the question, “Which Twin has the Toni?” The campaign achieved unprecedented success. Why? It was creative, personal and told a story. Those are the cornerstones of great PR and now, the essentials of online engagement, such is the case with HP’s The Next Bench community.
HP’s new Tech Community website, called The Next Bench, was named for Bill and Dave Packard’s approach to product development. The idea was simple: if the guy on the next bench wanted the product you were working on, chances are it would be a success. Just as HP continues to look to customers for input on what kinds of product ideas to pursue, The Next Bench strives to carry on that tradition as well.
Today, in an era of information overload and mass personalization, telling the story and integrating customers into that story is more important than ever. Therefore, Edelman and HP agreed that The Next Bench site must [not only tell a compelling story, but also be a place for people to connect, engage and continue to come back ] The Next Bench does just that. It’s a new kind of online media channel – it’s a central hub that serves the function of part newspaper, part blog, part broadcast medium and part corporate newsroom that reinvigorates the way HP delivers news and engages its community.
As Mark Budgell (Twitter.com/MarkatHP), Social Media Lead for HP’s Personal Systems Group explains it, “Story telling is a really valuable way for us to establish lasting relationships with our customers. Our goal when we redesigned The Next Bench was to make it easy for them to find, comment on and share the stories they liked. The new site takes on a simple news blog format that immediately serves up the content and information our customers want.”
Check out the site. Share it with others. Connect with HP. And, we’d love to hear your thoughts, opinions and how we might make this site better for you. www.TheNextBench.com