A Sad, Sordid Brand Affair

Whitman_high_resMeg Whitman, CEO of HP, unwittingly wound up on brand trial several weeks ago, prosecuted by Kai Ryssdal of NPR’s Marketplace.

I just wanted to crawl inside my sweater for her.  In that “I’m so sorry you are in pain right now, and please, god, never, ever let this happen to me” kind of way.

Ryssdal, questioning Whitman about HP’s earnings report, was delightful and friendly.  He was breezy.  He was giving her space to tell her story.  Why this is going along rather nicely, I thought, if a little hazy.

Then, the closing 30 seconds; the wrap up; Kai, trying a third time to get the CEO to tell us what HP is – without all the “corporate speak:”

[Ryssdal] “I’m gonna try one more time, and then I’m gonna let you go. HP in five words or less.

[Long silence (by on air standards).]

[Whitman] “The largest IT company in the world that can provide…

[Ryssdal laughs. Emits an amused, if slightly impatient, sigh.]

[Ryssdal] “You can’t do it in five words.”

[Whitman] “It’s a big, complicated company.  It’s hard to say what it is in just five words.”

If your CEO can’t connect your value to people you do not have a brand.

You have a problem.

Whitman interview with Kai Ryssdal on Marketplace.


Categories: Observation


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