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Intel’s People: Sponsors Of Tomorrow

Staff | SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

A FEW YEARS AGO, in 2009, Intel’s brilliant “Sponsors of Tomorrow” campaign redefined what it means to be a rock star.

Intel did a really good job of extending this idea across markets—so good, in fact, it’s easy to miss the larger message. The brand is no longer Intel: it’s the people of Intel. And that’s huge.

Intel says of the campaign:

Rather than focusing on a new product, the “Sponsors of Tomorrow” ad campaign celebrates what makes Intel different—culture, personality, heroes—and ways Intel has helped change the world for over 40 years.

By taking this position, Intel moved beyond being an ingredient brand (“Intel Inside”), a brand that makes other things possible, to a lifestyle brand—a brand that can demand a premium not just because of what it does, but how it makes you feel.

We’re used to pitch men, even pitch employees. There’s not a huge difference between the Maytag Man of yore and Flo, the Progressive Lady. 

But this is different. It’s placing far more brand equity in real employees with real personalities, accomplishments and stories. It’s saying, “What differentiates us is…us.”

That’s a brave move, but it’s also a really, really smart move. It throws down the gauntlet to Intel’s competitor but, more importantly, it also paves a new path to brand equity. When job security is at an all-time low, featuring employees has all the brand-driving benefits you’d expect, but it’s also a great engagement driver.

Expect a whole lot more in this “our people are our brand” space. And consider, when you do, what it suggests about employer brands: that smart companies are realizing that the old “our people are our product” line just happens to be true. And resonant. And incredibly important.

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