Though more branded and less exclusive than Tabbloid, HP’s customized Skinit portal is another example of their ‘added value application’ approach to advertising.
Skinit is a service that allows you to personalize just about any tech device with a ‘skin that reflects your tastes and passions’. HP’s Skinit site allows their users to personalize their HP computers, iPAQs or notebooks with custom skins, but HP was also careful to add other, non-HP products as well, making it a one-stop shop for all of your skinning needs.
Stumbled across the HP Skinit site, but don’t have an HP product to skin?
Not a problem. You can order up ‘generic’ sizes for 12, 15 and 17-inch laptops, slap a skin on your Zune, or even cover your iPhone without ever leaving the site.
Need a skin for your HP laptop, but also want to cover your Sidekick while you’re at it?
Again, HP’s got you covered. Whether you’re using HP, T-Mobile, or even Apple to live your digital life, HP will gladly serve as your digital life provider, because they know that being the ‘cool’ company pays dividends down the road.
It’s All About Perception
HP knows that if they can provide you with a good user experience that serves your needs and doesn’t scream their branding at you the entire time, you’re more likely to look at HP products as an option when the next buying decision rolls around.
In addition, Skinit allows HP to partner with other ‘cool’ companies, such as MTV, the American Breast Cancer Foundation, and even colleges, sports teams and the military to create designs that fit everyone’s own personal style.
Plus, if you’re the type that likes to take personalization to the next level, then HP’s Skinit will even allow you to upload your own photos and skin any products with a look all your own. It’s your digital life to the nth degree, and HP wants to be there with you along the way.
Don’t Forget Extension
In addition to the direct benefits of having a Skinit portal, HP is also able to use Skinit to tie in other advertising campaigns that they’re running for a more holistic approach to the consumer.
One example of this is their HP Holiday Cheer campaign, which they launched on Twitter with the following message:
Just a few short hours later, and thanks in large part to the Skinit giveaway, they had more than their desired amount of Twitter followers, and the @HPHolidayCheer campaign was off and running.
Had they limited their Skinit store to just HP products, they would not have been able to entice anyone other than existing HP customers with the offer of a free skin, but by opening up to any and all users, HP can reach out to non-customers too and expose them to the HP brand in a very non-advertisey way. Suddenly, users start noticing that HP is behind all the ‘cool’ programs that they’ve been using lately like Tabbloid and Skinit, and they form positive impressions of HP before even purchasing a product.
Sure, there’s always risk involved when you run a campaign that other companies can get exposure from, but if your messaging is clear and you provide enough value to the community in general, the overall ‘goodness’ of the campaign will show through, and if nothing else, your brand will get a positive boost with a strength that few other advertising techniques can deliver.
- Non-branded products allow non-customers to participate.
- Provides an additional tool for other campaigns.
- Great branding opportunity by being the ‘cool’ company.
- Message can get diluted by competition.
- Non-HP product options are still too hidden, and should be highlighted.
- Added Value Applications allow companies to interact with customers and non-customers alike, growing their brand and providing value to the larger community.