Dell Beginnings: Restoring The Brand Story “WHY”

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Dell’s “Beginnings” ad was brought to my attention by Raquel Del Pozo from our LinkedIn Group.

The “big idea” behind it .. celebrating the entrepreneurial spirit by recounting the humble beginning and amazing success stories of well known companies.

Some of the featured brands include

  • Trip Advisor, the world’s largest travel site, born in February of 2000 in a small office above a pizza shop.
  • Shazam, one of the world’s most recognized mobile consumer brands, that began in a modest house on a hill in San Francisco, and a handful of makeshift offices in coffee shops and cafes from Berkeley to London.
  • Shutterfly, the market leader in digital personalized photo products and services, including cards and stationery, photo books, gifts and home décor, set-up in 1999 in a small office above a weight-loss center in Menlo Park, California.
  • Whole Foods Market, the leading natural and organic food retailer, that began with a single store in Austin, Texas, in 1980. Opening with a team of just 19,
  •, the members-only online shopping site, which first went live in a warehouse in the Brooklyn Navy Yard in the spring of 2007.
  •, the online discount retailer which began in Salt Lake City, Utah, during the infancy of online shopping. It launched with no outside funding.
  • The Knot, the Internet’s most-trafficked one-stop wedding planning solution, set-up in 1996 after the founders struggled through the process of planning their own wedding.
  • Zoosk, a leading online dating company, created by graduate school roommates in a rented residential space in Hayward, California in 2007.
  •, the world leader in cloud computing and CRM, set-up in a rented one-bedroom apartment on San Francisco’s Telegraph Hill in 1999.
  • Amerijet – the fast-growing global freight carrier, that began with one man and a single, leased airplane in South Florida in 1974

and last but not least, the brand that played a role in helping the above and so many other remarkable companies “find the power to do more”…

  • Dell, founded on November 4th, 1984 by Michael, a dreamer in his own right, who started this company in his dorm room and has since grown Dell beyond anyone’s wildest imagination.


Why This Type of Ad Woks: Restoring the “WHY”

Dell sells computers, they’re very good at it, one of the best actually.

However, over the years, they became defined by WHAT they do rather by WHY they do it.  They became “That Great Computer Company”.

Ironically, their strength became one of their weaknesses.

Much like great actors fear getting typecast into a specific role, so must brands be weary of getting typecast into a specific industry sector.

As other players entered the market and competition intensified, margins dwindelled and sales flattened.  Dell’s response, make cheaper computers. They struggled to diversify and move into other markets because they  lost their WHY.

By contrast, Apple, also “A Great Computer Company” once upon a time, thrived because they had an extremly strong grasp of their WHY: “Think Different”.

They successfully diversified by penetrating, disrupting and dominating multiple industry sectors including mobile communication and media devices, personal computers, and portable digital music players.

This “Beginnings” ad and the “do more” campaign  are good attempts at restoring Dell’s Brand Story “WHY”.

According to the company:

“We are a company that personifies entrepreneurial spirit, celebrates it every day, and embodies it in everything we do. Michael, a dreamer in his own right, started this company in his dorm room and has since grown Dell beyond anyone’s wildest imagination.


This celebration of that spirit, and it’s often humble beginnings, is a reminder to all of us that with vision, audaciousness and the right technology, anything is possible – no matter if your company started in a dorm room or at the dinner table.


Dell is proud to have played a role in helping so many remarkable companies find the power to do more.”

To learn more about this campaingn and the stories mentioned in the ad, visit

Further Recommended Reading

Over To You…

Inspired by Dell’s “Beginnings” ad? Do you think they are successfully restoring their “WHY”?  Share your thoughts below…


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