Human, Not Tech, Define a PC-Free IBM | Marketer A-List: IBM | Advertising Age
With Business Focused on Analytics and Marketing Based on Character, Fabled Computermaker Is Poised to Surpass Coke as No. 1 on Interbrand Chart
IBM’s path to marketing success began strangely enough with a retreat from the very thing most consumers knew it for best — the personal computer. Since the 2004 decision to divest the business to China’s Lenovo and focus on business services and analytics, the IBM brand has never been stronger. In the annual Interbrand rankings, IBM has added 50% to its value, now nearly $70 billion since then. The brand has reached No. 2 with a bullet, passing
Microsoft in 2008 and rising faster than No. 1 Coca-Cola the past three years. Should IBM and Coke maintain their brand-value growth rates of the past year this year, IBM is poised to surpass Coke to become No. 1 by next year on the Interbrand chart. Much of that is based on how investors value IBM, which has seen its stock price soar 78% since 2004, despite a major financial crisis in 2008 that has left U.S. stocks as a whole well below their 2007 peak.
A big part of that financial success has been branding, said Jon Iwata, senior VP of IBM’s marketing, communications and citizenship organization, in a presentation to the Association of National Advertisers conference in October.
IBM’s “Smarter Planet” campaign focused on its role in solving the world’s problems. Its campaign pitting the Watson supercomputer and artificial-intelligence system against human contestants on “Jeopardy” and its Centennial campaign focused on 100 years of innovations have all played a role in IBM’s success.