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Top Intel Sales Exec Vows ‘One Intel’ Approach Will Boost Partners

‘As we‘ve been talking to our customers and partners, they talk about how strong the Intel brand is and that they want to see us use it more to their advantage — to be louder, to be more vocal — and we have the 12th most valuable brand on the planet, and frankly it’s only going to get better and stronger,’ Intel’s Michelle Johnston Holthaus says in her Intel Partner Connect keynote.

Top Intel sales executive Michelle Johnston Holthaus said the chipmaker will get louder about its brand and use a “one Intel approach” to boost the businesses of its channel partners and help them more closely align with the semiconductor giant’s marketing plans.

Johnston Holthaus made the vow to partners in her keynote with Intel channel executive Greg Baur at the virtual Intel Partner Connect on Tuesday, which marked the second Intel Partner Connect of the year and the first time for the event to happen in the fall.

[Related: Intel’s $9B NAND SSD, Memory Sale To SK Hynix: 6 Big Things To Know]

“As we’ve been talking to our customers and partners, they talk about how strong the Intel brand is and that they want to see us use it more to their advantage — to be louder, to be more vocal — and we have the 12th most valuable brand on the planet, and frankly it’s only going to get better and stronger,” said Johnston Holthaus, an Intel channel veteran who is executive vice president and general manager of Intel’s Sales, Marketing and Communications Group.

Kent Tibbils, vice president of marketing at ASI, a Fremont, Calif.-based Intel distributor, said that message will resonate with partners because it will help them educate customers about the value and benefits of Intel’s products versus the competition. This more vocal approach was apparent at last month’s Tiger Lake launch event, where it made a point to highlight multiple times how the new laptop processors are better than AMD’s competing Ryzen 4000 CPUs.

“If you want to use ‘vocal’ or ‘aggressive,’ those are two good words that would describe what channel partners want to see from Intel in helping them also deliver the message,” he said. “I think you see the changes coming in branding but also with what they‘re doing around their partner program, so that they can bring out that new brand and emphasize that partnership and continue to come up with creative ways to help expand the value of what Intel offers to resellers and how, in turn, resellers bring that value back.”

In her keynote, Johnston Holthaus highlighted how the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company underwent a major rebrand in conjunction with its Tiger Lake processor launch in September that impacts all of the chipmaker’s brands, from Intel Xeon to Intel Optane and beyond.

“We’ve taken that history and brand equity and really tried to transform it to be fresh and new to really signal where Intel’s going, to show the business transformation and the journey and path that we’re on,” she said. “Many of you have been watching us use the logos and badges in your promotion, your marketing, your communications, and you’ll continue to see that in the future, but that new brand will also help us sell into the future.”

To help partners more closely align with Intel’s product road map and marketing plans, Johnston Holthaus the company will take a more coordinated “one Intel” approach going forward.

“We‘re going to focus a lot on aligning our road map with our marketing plans with the goal of increasing the value and making that one-punch market impact,” she said. “So when you see the new brand or you see us talking about that, you have a product that goes along with it that you can immediately go out and talk to your customers about.”

Integral to this “one Intel” approach is the new Intel Partner Alliance program, which will launch in 2021 and unify multiple Intel channel programs, including the Intel Technology Provider Program, to provide more comprehensive resources, according to Johnston Holthaus.

“I am so excited as I look ahead at our channel business, from closing out 2020 with healthy supply and moving into 2021 with our new program [Intel Partner Alliance], the channel will continue to be a top priority and critical to our success,” she said.

Tibbils, the executive at ASI, said the “one Intel” approach will help partners align with campaigns that Intel may have run in a more siloed fashion in the past.

“Anytime our resellers are in a position where they can talk about technology and they can emphasize the advances and the benefits of those things, I think it‘s an advantage for them,” he said. “It puts them in a position where they’re able to demonstrate their expertise and their knowledge and the benefit that they’re going to have for that end market.”

In another part of her keynote, Johnston Holthaus said while Intel has seen strong growth in the PC market due to pandemic-induced work-from-home movement, the chipmaker expects demand in the cloud market to go down in the second half of the year. However, the company does see growth opportunities in countries where governments are issuing stimulus packages.

“We‘re really seeing the local governments put infusion of cash to really get stimulus started across small business, education and healthcare,” she said. “Those are just a few of the verticals that we’re really starting to see pickup. However, we remain cautious in the second half as the forecasted GDP is supposed to be compressed worldwide.”

Johnston Holthaus admitted that one of the challenges Intel has had this year is with the delay of its 7-nanometer manufacturing process that will be used for next-generation products. But she said that won’t stop Intel from arming partners with “leadership products with breakthrough capabilities.”

“Nobody at Intel is happy when a schedule moves,” she said. “However, we heard from a lot of you that what you really appreciate is that we‘re going to be committed to delivering an annual cadence of products that you can rely on every year.”

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