HP Uses the Power of Storytelling to Celebrate International Women's Day

brought to you by WBR Insights

Gender issues are big news right now, with societally-conscious brands all trying to do their bit to create a fairer and more equal world for everyone regardless of their identity.

One way in which B2B marketers can help get this message out there is to use the power of storytelling to simultaneously promote equality and the brand itself.


As the name suggests, storytelling is a marketing technique which uses stories as a way of promoting a company's products and services.

The idea is that, by creating meaningful stories around your brand, you can provoke a genuine emotional reaction in your audience. That emotion is then attached to the brand itself, creating a bond between it and the viewer.

Think about how passionate people are about brands such as Apple, Android, PlayStation, and Xbox. These brands generate discussion and debate like few others. That's because people have attached part of their identity to them. People describe themselves as an "Apple person" or a "PlayStation person," demonstrating how powerful these connections can be.

These connections are made possible by storytelling.


To celebrate International Women's Day 2018, HP wanted to find a way to get the message out to its business clients about how women's voices are growing stronger. They also wanted to highlight companies' responsibility to help promote equality.


(Video source: youtube.com)

The campaign took the form of a short film featuring a young girl named Paro. Paro is constantly distracted by doodling and scribbling in her notebook, much to the concern of her teacher and parents. Eventually, Paro's teacher confiscates the notebook during class, much to the heartache of the little girl.

However, when the teacher reads the book, she discovers Paro is a talented writer and goes about bringing the book to life using HP computers, printers, and scanners. Paro is then presented with the book in a school assembly and invited to read it to her classmates.

The film is genuinely moving and gets the message out there that everyone engages with learning in their own way, and that what appears at first to be a daydreaming student may actually be an enormous talent that must be encouraged to blossom.

"Paro was created to spark discussion about dreaming big and chasing your passions, no matter your background or where you are in the world," said Chief Marketing and Communications Officer for HP Inc, Antonio Lucio. "We believe powerful stories - told vividly and authentically - can change minds and spark action. International Women's Day is a perfect reminder to always inspire action and stories are a perfect vehicle to touch hearts."

The message to HP's business clients is clear - women have a powerful voice and are bringing amazing and creative ideas to the table. Like Paro's teacher learned, you should never judge a book by its cover. Instead, you should look within to discover the real value a diverse range of people can bring to your business.

Black Girls Code

If women are underrepresented in business, then women of color are even more so. This is what has led HP to partner with Disney to bring another facet of its International Women's Day celebration to the fore - Black Girls Code.

Designed to help promote and nurture the next generation of tech-savvy black women, Black Girls Code runs after-school programs, summer camps, and hackathons, where local groups build projects ranging from websites to robots.

"Just like a lot of you, my daughter just wanted to be able to create the games she was engaging in," said Black Girls Code Founder and CEO, Kimberly Bryant, who began BGC when her daughter started going to tech programs and camps and discovered she was the only black girl in the room - a scenario which Bryant, who had a successful career in biotech, was all too familiar with. "My frustration grew into a movement that now, hopefully, will help all of you become the leaders that much older engineers like myself will look up to in the coming years."

Storytelling was used to bring this message to the forefront, with Disney and the cast of Ava DuVernay's 2018 film A Wrinkle in Time helping to promote the movement.

Final Thoughts

We can often have too narrow a focus when it comes to B2B marketing online. However, by doing our bit to shine a light on the inequalities that still exist in the business world, we can not only help create a fairer and more equal world for all but also make sure our brand message is heard by the people who need it the most.

You can hear HP's Head of B2B Ecommerce, Sushma Shirish, speak at B2B Online 2019, taking place in April and May at the Chicago Marriott Downtown.

Download the agenda today for more information and insights.

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