“H-P … after acquisition spree … seeks to recast image to encompass a broader range of expertise.” (WSJ, March 11, 2010)
The story itself wasn’t unusual. Company grows rapidly through acquisition of diverse organizations. The brand hangs onto its past image. Marketing isn’t keeping pace. Customers have limited views based on their singular relationships. Employees have their specific focus.
Communications have fallen short. Internal and external perceptions of the company are mixed. A huge amount of marketing communication money is needed to make the fix.
If only the messaging had kept pace with the acquisition spree, clearly defining and supporting the vision along the way. Helping employees and customers not only “get it” but “retain it” as the acquisitions occur is critical.
The article points out that “… part of the push is aimed at H-P’s 304,000 employees … to acquaint workers with its range of businesses.” It also notes that “… all the company’s business units are firmly behind the current effort because, ‘they recognized the importance of telling consumers what H-P is now’.”
Then, along comes this viewpoint from The Wall Street Journal, June 2, 2010, as
H-P announces continuing job cuts while remaking H-P.
As the June 2nd article noted, “The company is still in hiring mode and said it plans to bring on about 6,000 additional employees, largely in sales roles. H-P didn’t say how many employees it has in the services unit or how many of the jobs being eliminated are in the U.S.”
Interesting formula Mr. Hurd is applying to earn big rewards: Acquire, then fire the service people, recast image, hire more sales people.
There are as many approaches to acquisitions as CEOs to execute them. We cited an interesting approach by FedEx in a post a few days ago. ChiefExecutive.net detailed their game plan in an article titled “The Reputational Intelligence Reward.” It is worth checking out.