What impact does spying have on a brand?
Now there’s a study that no-one has thought of before. Until now. David Ibsen at Five Blogs Before Lunch picked up on an Ad Age piece quoting HP’s VP of brand marketing, Gary Elliot. Ironically, Elliot was giving a presentation on HP’s brand marketing reinvention at the Association of National Advertisers conference in Orlando at the time. During the Q&A session, Elliot told the audience that HP “hopes to determine if and how the spy issue is affecting the brand short or long term as part of its ongoing worldwide market research across 26 attributes.”
Countless facetious comments spring to mind. Nevertheless, it’s an interesting question. Will the scandal adversely affect HP’s corporate reputation? Will it have an impact on sales? It seemed that Wall Street was largely unconcerned by the lapse in ethics and only got worried when CEO Mark Hurd became implicated. So will customers care?
In the short term, the brand is undeniably tarnished. And inevitably, the ongoing saga will hamper the company’s marketing efforts for a while – its marketing will have to be more subdued and humble than usual, lest it be seen not to care. In the long term, I suspect it will weather the storm, but I’d be fascinated to see the results of its research.