Discover what Koen Van Beneden, Managing Director HP Belgium and Luxembourg, has to say about being Best IT Brand and how they scored best in “Brand trust”.
How will you maintain this number one position in the coming years?
Koen Van Beneden: We see a great demand for our products in the market. Both computers and printers have become indispensable products for consumers because of the pandemic.
We see that this also really changes behaviour: instead of one laptop per family, we are moving at record speed to one laptop per person. As HP used to say in its campaigns: The computer is personal.
Also in printing, we see that people now more often have a printer at home, where they used to regularly print private matters at work. We also expect a permanent effect here because in the future people will work more often from home.
We continue to pursue our strategy: together with our retail partners, we are building a complete range in which every consumer can find his/her ideal product.
We pay a lot of attention to the total experience. It’s about much more than hardware alone.
For example, with HP Smart and Instant Ink, we have fundamentally improved the whole printing experience. In the past, printing was not a pleasant experience for consumers: it was complicated to get the printer to do what you wanted, and it ran out of ink just when you needed it most. So we developed HP Smart - an application that makes printing and scanning intuitive and easy from any device - and Instant Ink - which allows the printer to order ink and have it delivered to your home before it runs out and at a lower price than before.
You are way ahead of the other brands in your sector in terms of quality/price ratio. How do you maintain this good balance?
Koen: HP responds to this by developing a wide range of products. Every consumer has their own needs, wishes and budget. Both for PCs and for printing, we make a good mix for each consumer, which responds to their situation.
By understanding very well what the consumer wants and configuring the products exactly as desired, you maximize the value experience of the person who buys the product.
“People sometimes say ‘Trust comes on foot and leaves on horseback’. This is certainly true in our product ranges.”
Koen Van Beneden
You have the best score in terms of “Brand Trust”. What do you do to earn this trust?
Koen: People sometimes say “Trust comes on foot and leaves on horseback”. This is certainly true in our product ranges.
When you sell a large number of IT products every day, you know that something will go wrong here and there. users don’t like that, but they understand it. It’s about intervening correctly at that point and making sure the consumer is helped quickly. We are a brand that customers trust and we must not betray that trust.
Is your product diversification strategy important?
Koen: Definitely. We try to be an inclusive brand - a brand for all consumers.
Our customers range from die-hard gamers to primary school students looking for a Chromebook, from audiophiles to SMEs who mainly want to use Excel and Outlook.
It’s really about understanding the consumer. What does it take to offer this person a great experience that fulfils all their needs? This starts with developing a broad product range in which you can offer all these consumers what they need.
We do this, for example, with our Pavillion, Envy, Spectre and Omen brands, where we offer every consumer the choice to buy their dream configuration. It is equally important to ensure that consumers are guided to the right product in-store. With so much choice, it can be difficult to make the right decision.
For this, we work together with our retail partners to ensure an optimal choice experience.
Your innovation score is lower than Apple’s. Is it in your goals to position yourself as a more innovative brand?
Koen: We are working hard to make the user experience as good as possible.
Think of innovations like Instant Ink, where we use IoT and big data to really give the consumer a good experience. These may be less visible innovations, but as an industry leader and inclusive brand, we are making sure that everyone can enjoy them and that the whole market moves in the right direction. As the home office and IT in the home environment become more and more important, we feel that our innovations will also be more and more visible.
How do you manage sustainability issues?
Koen: HP has been elected several times as the “most responsible company” in the tech sector in the US. As market leader, we also feel a great responsibility here.
We realize that the choices we make in product development have a major impact on the planet. For years, we have been making products that can be easily recycled, and we are also using more and more recycled materials to make products. It is also very important to look at the whole lifecycle of a product.
For example, we make great efforts to collect used cartridges and then recycle them. With Instant Ink we close this cycle completely.
Finally, good planning is very important. Until a few years ago, almost all consumer PCs were brought to Belgium by plane. By making our planning with retailers more proactive, and by being one of the pioneers in opening a rail link between China and Europe, we were able to reduce the CO2 emissions from the transport of the PCs by 95%. Where we differ from most brands is that we set very clear short-term goals and adjust if we fail to meet them.
It’s not about being climate neutral by 2050, it’s about taking concrete steps today, learning from them and innovating ever faster towards a sustainable future.