DELL TECHNOLOGIES

For the new Dell, Day 1 is all about the message 

The combination of Dell-EMC is a key time to put forward a positive message for the company. 

Posted September 7th, 2016

The first day of any big acquisition or merger is usually a time for the marketing and public relations department to shine. 

New logos and slogans are unveiled, old Twitter accounts are retired, signs at offices across the globe are switched out and the company's top executives give media interviews extolling the virtues of the deal

Such was the case with Dell Technologies, which officially closed its $63 billion purchase of data storage EMC Corp. on Wednesday, and celebrated the deal with a dose of marketing materials about the new company. The deal had been in the works for nearly a year. 

The newly combined company will have $74 billion in annual revenue and 140,000 employees, making it the largest privately owned tech company in the world.

Dell is planning on hosting celebrations for its employees next week, with events planned in Austin, Hopkinton, the San Francisco Bay area, Ireland and Bangalore. Other cities will have watch parties.

Even just communicating the new name -- Dell Technologies -- and explaining how the company plans to name and divvy up its different business units required a new website and a special hour-long video featuring Dell Technologies CEO Michael Dell. The video featured skydivers jumping from a plane above Dell’s Central Texas headquarters with billowing signs featuring the new company's name and the slogan: "Go Big, Win Big.”

The company also had to quickly transfer its social media accounts. By mid-morning the social media team had closed the old @EMCcorp handle for @DellEMC. This new Twitter handle was busy sharing messages on Wednesday about the "new dawn" at Dell Technologies:

Chris Slocumb, who runs marketing firm Clarity Quest, said "Day 1" is a vitally important messaging opportunity for corporate acquisitions. She compared it to an inaugural ball for a new president, which all focused on positive energy and excitement over a new era. 

"What they want to try and accomplish is for this event to be seen as a positive for all of their constituents - employees, customers, partners and resellers," Slocumb said. "They want to keep them on board because it's like, 'Oh my gosh, what happens to me after the acquisition?' " 

Companies that avoid these marketing moments, she said, risk people filling in the silence with conjecture. There has been speculation already about whether layoffs are coming, and Dell itself has acknowledged that some administrative jobs will likely be impacted. 

The new Dell Technologies website features images that are seemingly unrelated to the world of data centers and computers. There's a young man running his hand through a field of wheat. A runner bounds across a picturesque bridge. And a plane banks left over the horizon. 

The only words at the top of the page: "Let the transformation begin," a slogan that appeared in other Dell marketing materials on Wednesday. 

Credit: Dell

Some messages emphasized what a big deal this merger is for the company and for the tech sector -- and even suggested it is important for humanity at large. 

"We believe humanity is standing at the very beginning of the next industrial revolution," Michael Dell said in a conference call with the media. He said Dell was uniquely qualified to help people take this "quantum leap" into the next generation of technological advancements. 

The messaging could be criticized as over the top, but Dell does have a complicated story to tell to different audiences.

Though the company will continue to make personal computers, the purchase of EMC means Dell is much more heavily engaged in the humdrum world of IT infrastructure. That means talking about "converged infrastructure" and the "native hybrid cloud," terms that are readily understood by  IT executives - their bread and butter - but not everyday consumers.

And there are the technical details of the merger to get across. 

The entire combined company will now be "Dell Technologies." What previously was EMC will become Dell Technologies' data center division and be called "Dell EMC." And its PC business will stay just "Dell." Many of EMC's subsidiary companies, such as VMware, will essentially function independently. That makes Dell a bit like Alphabet, Google's parent company, which is a collection of different companies under one umbrella.

In the conference call with reporters, Michael Dell emphasized the size and scale of the newly combined company, which has offices in 180 countries. The combination of EMC and Dell gives the company a massive sales workforce and bigger breadth of IT offerings. 

"We have stated for a long time that we think scale matters," Dell said. He also emphasized another edge the company has: being privately owned and not subjected to the pressures of Wall Street investors, like many of its competitors are.

"It's a large organization, we always think about 'how do we get faster even as we get larger,' " Dell said. "The single best way I've found to do that is to actually detach yourself from the 90-day reporting cycles that are common among large companies."

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