Dell announced last week that the company is joining (PRODUCT) RED along with Microsoft. Dell will add RED products to its lineup, with a portion of the sale price benefiting The Global Fund. This by itself isn’t a particularly newsworthy item, as several large companies have joined the (PRODUCT) RED campaign. But if we look at how Dell became involved in this initiative, well that’s a pretty interesting story…
Dell’s Direct2Dell blog is often presented as one of the better company blogs, and rightly so. But another successful initiative that the company launched is Ideastorm. Simply, Ideastorm is a sounding board for Dell users and current/potential customers. The site lets anyone submit ideas on how Dell’s products and services can be improved, or addresses issues/complaints. The Ideastorm community then votes on which submitted ideas are their favorites, similar to Digg.
One of the first ideas suggested when Ideastorm launched came from a user named Smotchberry, who wanted to see Dell join (PRODUCT) RED. Here’s the thread where Smotchberry submitted the idea. Notice how fellow Ideastorm users that liked the idea helped flesh out how Dell could become involved, adding which products could become (RED). Those that disagreed with the idea were also allowed to express their viewpoints.
In the end, Dell decided to take up the suggestion of the Ideastorm community, and join (PRODUCT) RED. In announcing the move, Chief Blogger Lionel Menchaca even made special mention of how Dell was acting on an idea submitted by Smotchberry.
Great example of how a big company is using social tools to give its customers a sense of ownership in its marketing.
Thanks to Ideastorm’s Kara Krautter for giving me the background on how Dell worked with the Ideastorm community to make this suggestion reality. And thanks to Richard Binhammer for his answering a thousand emails. I have to admit, those (RED) laptops look damned cool.