At the risk of crossing Oprah, we question whether the Starbucks “I’m In” initiative was the best way for the struggling coffee giant to tap into the zeitgeist. No doubt the election put a premium on optimism and grassroots participation, and admittedly, the campaign’s execution to date has been flawless, earning major endorsements and plenty of ink. But does a populist rally cry from a company that sells $5 Venti Caramel Frappuccinos trigger anyone else’s BS meter? More importantly, does it translate to sales?
Davis Brand Capital today released the 2012 Davis Brand Capital 25 ranking, which evaluates brand management and performance comprehensively. It is the only annual ranking of companies that demonstrate overall, balanced approaches to managing the full spectrum of brand and related intangible assets, providing an indicator of total business strength and effectiveness.
Some of the world’s most valuable and well-known companies share a common brand trait that has not been explored in depth. Apple, Dell, Ford, Google, Mars, Microsoft, Nike, Starbucks and Wal-Mart, to name just a few, are “founder brands.” These are brands where the founder or founding family exercises significant influence over the management of the brand and direction of the business. Davis Brand Capital identifies the qualities that define founder brands and explores some of the challenges in managing them for maximum value.
In its August issue, Vanity Fair charges Microsoft with losing its mojo, pinning much of the blame on CEO Steve Ballmer. While the article makes some useful and valid observations, it never completes the circle, relating them back fully to the larger, underlying issue that ails brand Microsoft: the company has strayed far from the management and proper deployment of its founding vision.
Web bots, the “internet of things”, machine learning and other converging technological advancements offer an early glimpse of our artificial intelligence future. And marketers need to start paying attention.
Davis Brand Capital today released the 2011 Davis Brand Capital 25 ranking, which evaluates brand beyond its traditional marketing function and considers it as a blend of key intangibles. It is the only annual ranking of companies demonstrating comprehensive and balanced approaches to managing the full spectrum of brand capital, which provides an indication of the strength and effectiveness of an entire business.
Davis Brand Capital today released the 2010 Davis Brand Capital 25 ranking, which evaluates brand beyond its traditional marketing function and considers it as a blend of intangibles creating value in the intellectual economy. The ranking compares the five key intangible categories by which the consultancy defines brand capital: brand value; competitive performance; innovation strength; company culture; and social impact.
One need not stretch too far, nor have particularly partisan views, to accept arguments that ours is a culture marked by institutional collapse. Confidence on Wall Street and in capitalism itself slipped with the tarnishing of names AIG, Lehman and Merrill Lynch (among others) during the Great Recession. Trust in the U.S. government eroded along party lines, calling into question the integrity of the democratic process, on the path to health care reform. Faith in the Catholic Church continued to fold just last week under the weight of yet another round of scandal fueled by priests preying on the most vulnerable. On somewhat lighter fronts: there is no longer a "most trusted man in news" when every adman is a newsman, and so many newsmen an advertisement (or plagiarist). Science is more politicized than ever, the clarity of its objective truths clouded by a climate of competing interests. If our cultural institutions are not as strong as they once were, where is one to place belief?
On Monday Davis Brand Capital released the 2009 Davis Brand Capital 25, and IBM took the top spot. IBM's #1 ranking may surprise some at first glance. After all, brand is typically viewed primarily through a marketing lens, and therefore tends to be more closely associated with consumer-centric - and arguably more glamorous - companies such as Apple or Nike. But the Davis Brand Capital 25 examines brand more holistically: as a collective set of intangibles, including brand value, competitive performance, innovation strength, company culture and social impact. The following commentary and qualitative assessment of top-ranked IBM highlights the company's successful management of these five intangibles that comprise brand capital and provides context for its #1 ranking.
Davis Brand Capital today released the 2009 Davis Brand Capital 25 ranking, which evaluates brand beyond its traditional marketing function and considers it as an amalgam of intangibles creating value in the intellectual economy. The ranking compares the five key intangible categories by which the consultancy defines brand capital: brand value; competitive performance; innovation strength; company culture; and social impact.
Advertising Age’s Garrick Schmitt recently wrote that “Data Visualization Is Reinventing Online Storytelling.” He celebrates the brilliant New York Times/IBM Visualization Lab and others for “turning bits and bytes of data... into stories for our digital age.” Admittedly, the Times’ work is groundbreaking, and I applaud Many Eyes and other “visual scientists” for their valuable work in helping us see complex data in clear, useful ways. But storytelling it is not.
Large companies like IBM, Syngenta, Procter & Gamble, 3M, and Unilever show that innovation can be a repeatable discipline. Yet, with all of this progress it still feels like a positive surprise when you see a large company confidently approach the challenges of innovation.
While for-profit companies and governments are able to engage in “building a smarter planet” with the likes of IBM, nonprofits and the organizations that make up the social sector lack the means to engage such sophisticated talent. And yet money is not the major factor keeping the social sector from embracing the data age.
Twitter and Facebook usually aren’t the last click before an ecommerce buy, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t inspire or influence the purchase. Yet IBM’s Black Friday report says Twitter delivered 0 percent of referral traffic and Facebook sent just 0.68 percent.
In the corporate world, the HP Way has been to sell the servers and professional services that companies need, and then to partner with big software companies like Oracle and SAP for the applications. This has left HP holding the bag with low-margin businesses.
Since 2005, micro-blogging platforms like Facebook and Twitter have changed the medium in which IBM often communicates, but the company remains committed to blogging and is an especially enthusiastic user of Tumblr, though you can find IBMers on Instagram, Pinterest and any other up-and-coming social media site.
Clearly Defining What a Brand Stands for Provides a Competitive Edge and Leads to Increased Productivity. The heads of marketing for three of the country's best-known brands eagerly picked one another's brains about the strategies that are working and the campaigns that are resonating.
How much more profitable would your business be if you had, for free, access to 100 times more data about your customers? That's the question I posed to the attendees of a recent big data workshop in London, all of them senior executives. But not a single executive in this IT-savvy crowd would hazard a guess.
“What’s becoming clear is that in order to stay relevant and remain competitive in today’s uber-digital and social world, the CIO and the CMO must work together. Today and in the future you’ll see this connection grow tighter than ever before,” said Jeff Schick, VP, Social Software.
Marketers have tried targeting consumers in stores with QR codes and barcode scanners that so far have gotten limited traction. Now IBM is testing a new approach, dubbed augmented reality, which is a bit like applying search or a personalized version of Google Goggles to the world of physical store shelves.
The hierarchy of customer interaction methods starts with face-to-face, followed by websites, channel partners, call centers, traditional media, advisory groups and finally, social media. That won’t be the case in a few years. According to an IBM survey of 1,709 CEOs from 64 countries and 18 industries, social media will leap to the number-two spot while traditional media plunges to the bottom within the next three-to-five years.
On the heels of acquiring sales data analytics company Varicent last week, Big Blue is making another buy in the data space today— Vivisimo. Vivisimo provides enterprises with search software that helps organizations access and analyze big data across the enterprise.
IBM has partnered with Honda and Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) to develop a pilot project that will allow electric vehicles to communicate with the power grid, receiving and responding to charge instructions based on the grid and the vehicle’s battery level.
It’s a new era where consumers will punish a company for taking a wrong stand, but also for taking no stands at all. In these volatile times, brands actually should become more willing to take a stand.
Math nerds and historians, it’s time to get excited. Minds of Modern Mathematics, a new iPad app released Thursday by IBM, presents an interactive timeline of the history of mathematics and its impact on society from 1000 to 1960. The app is based on an original, 50-foot-long “Men of Modern Mathematics” installation created in 1964 by Charles and Ray Eames. Minds of Modern Mathematics users can view a digitized version of the original infographic as well as browse through an interactive timeline with more than 500 biographies, math milestones and images of relevant artifacts.
What ideas are you building your company on? It’s an important question for all organizations, and some companies are responding with innovative and inspiring answers. Ideas shape our thinking, animate our endeavors, and serve as the foundation upon which we scale our institutions and companies.
Apple has edged out IBM to become the top brand of 2011, according to an annual list from marketing strategy firm Davis Brand Capital. The Cupertino-based company ousted IBM, which topped the list in 2009 and 2010.
Coca-Cola is the only Atlanta-headquartered company to make the 2011 Davis Brand Capital 25 ranking which “provides an indication of the strength and effectiveness of an entire business.” The annual ranking measures brand value, competitive performance, innovation strength, company culture and social impact.
Microsoft had the third most "brand capital" among companies in 2011, according to a new report by a company whose business is helping clients boost this. Microsoft held the same spot in Davis Brand Capital's 2010 report, one place up from 2009. Longtime rival Apple topped the list for the first time, moving up from seventh place last year. IBM, whose decision to use Microsoft for its operating system three decades ago made the Redmond tech giant, fell from first to second. Davis' ranking looks at brand value, competitive performance, innovation strength, company culture and social impact.
The iPhone, iPad, and Mac maker topped the Davis list for the first time this year, ousting IBM, which had come in first in 2009 and 2010. Following those two are a handful of other technology companies including Microsoft, Google, and Hewlett-Packard. "(Apple's) rise in this year's rankings was driven largely by its competitive performance and added brand value," Davis said in a press release. So how does the company come up with these rankings?
In the 20th century, a select group of leaders — General Motor's Alfred Sloan, HP's David Packard and Bill Hewlett, and GE's Jack Welch — set the standard for the way corporations are run. In the 21st century only IBM's Sam Palmisano has done so. When Palmisano retired this month, the media chronicled his success by focusing on IBM's 21% annual growth in earnings per share and its increase in market capitalization to $218 billion. But IBM hasn't flourished because it kowtows to Wall Street. In fact, five years after Palmisano took over, IBM stock was stuck where it had been when his tenure began.
As IBM celebrates its 100th birthday, many observers are rightly calling attention to the many strategic changes the company put itself through to remain relevant amidst dramatic technological and economic change. But one of the biggest transformations IBM went through is less about computers and more about culture. Over the last decade and a half, the company has realigned its HR practices and strategies to move away from the analog ways of the past and to embrace a variety of 21st century approaches, including some highly unconventional ones.
What makes one brand survive a reputation crisis better than others? While it would take a PR and branding genius to help, for instance, BP restore its tarnished image, how about less extreme examples? Consider the recent New York Times expose on General Electric that revealed how the corporate behemoth paid no taxes in 2010. GE made $14 billion in profits in 2010, $5 billion of that in the US — but its US tax bill is negative $3.5 billion. And yet, GE's reputation has not suffered as much as BP, Toyota or Goldman Sachs, at least so far, according to YouGov BrandIndex, the consumer perception brand research service.
Cloud technology isn’t hype anymore: Businesses are moving computing work to the cloud. And with trillions of tech dollars at stake, it’s war up there. Here are the tech companies battling for their piece of the market.
There's a clothing drop box down the street that says, "The American Red Cross of Massachusetts is a humanitarian organization, led by volunteers, that provides relief to victims of disasters and helps people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies." Good enough, so far. But adjacent to those words, in a font four times the size, and in bold, mind you, are the words, "Mission Statement." Which made me wonder, is this Red Cross's mission, or its mission statement?
The capitalist system is under siege. In recent years business increasingly has been viewed as a major cause of social, environmental, and economic problems. Companies are widely perceived to be prospering at the expense of the broader community. Even worse, the more business has begun to embrace corporate responsibility, the more it has been blamed for society’s failures. The legitimacy of business has fallen to levels not seen in recent history. This diminished trust in business leads political leaders to set policies that undermine competitiveness and sap economic growth. Business is caught in a vicious circle.
Microsoft managers probably shouldn't bring iPhones to business meetings. Ford employees shouldn't commute to work in BMWs. Coca-Cola employees likely shouldn't drink Pepsi on their lunch breaks. As a rule, companies with strong brands and competitive cultures expect more than a modicum of brand loyalty from their employees and contractors. But with employment opportunities tight and economic recovery slow, a profound organizational transformation is taking hold. "Loyalty to the brand" is mutating into "Living the brand." Brand values — not just brand value — are seen as core competitive differentiators.
In the last decade, we've had two wars (Iraq and Afghanistan), two automobile bankruptcies (General Motors and Chrysler) and two radically new social-media sites (Facebook and Twitter). We've had a housing crisis, a banking crisis and a dot-com bubble. Three of our four leading airlines have gone bankrupt. And the fourth one (American Airlines) is losing money. We've witnessed the incredible rise of Google and Apple. And the incredible fall of A.I.G. and Lehman Brothers. "Everything has changed" is the message marketers have been reacting to recently. And because everything has changed, marketers believe they have to change everything in their marketing programs.
Samuel J. Palmisano, I.B.M.’s chief executive, doesn’t jet around the world to make an appearance every time the technology giant wins a services contract. But the announcement Friday morning in Nairobi is different, says I.B.M. I.B.M. will supply the computing technology and services for an upgraded cellphone network across 16 nations in sub-Saharan Africa. Its customer is India’s largest cellphone operator, Bharti Airtel, which paid $9 billion a few months ago for most of the African assets of Kuwait’s Mobile Telecommunications Company, or Zain.
The second move in about a year for a little-known data storage company highlights how big technology companies are scrambling to help their larger customers do more with the massive amounts of information they are collecting.
A brand crisis can take many forms, which can linger differing lengths of time depending on the survivability of the brand. Every corporate brand crisis is unique; each has a starting point when the CEO becomes responsible for the survival of the company. BP's bumbling management of its Gulf crisis, its seemingly endless decision making process, not to mention post-crisis effects that will last decades, make this crisis unprecedented.
A brand crisis can take many forms, which can linger differing lengths of time, depending on the survivability of the brand. Every corporate brand crisis is unique; each has a starting point when the CEO becomes responsible for the survival of the company. BP's bumbling management of its Gulf crisis, its seemingly endless decision-making process, not to mention post-crisis effects that will last decades, make this crisis unprecedented. Tyco, Texaco, Dynegy, IBM, Enron, Worldcom and Citigroup are a few of the crises we've studied. Some companies survived not only intact but emerged stronger than ever. Others were destroyed, or forced to merge. A handful limped on, weakened but not ruined.
What is the end of the world? For some, it would be dedicating your life to appear on a TV game show. For others, it would be creating a machine that can prove itself better than anyone who dedicates their life to appear on a TV game show. For myself, it seems clear that IBM has created something that will be the apogee of appointment television by honing a supercomputer to compete with the finest mailmen, insurance brokers, and nurses to prove that it can, well, find the question in the answer.
What do chief executive officers really want? The answer bears important consequences for management as well as companies' customers and shareholders. The qualities that a CEO values most in the company team set a standard that affects everything from product development and sales to the long-term success of an enterprise. There is compelling new evidence that CEOs' priorities in this area are changing in important ways. According to a new survey of 1,500 chief executives conducted by IBM's Institute for Business Value, CEOs identify "creativity" as the most important leadership competency for the successful enterprise of the future.
Back when Apple was first an entrepreneurial wonder and I was a baby consultant often in Cupertino, I used to think of Apple in baseball analogies. Apple was the Boston Red Sox, exciting and colorful but doomed to be second to IBM's New York Yankee-like deep pockets and market domination. Not any longer. The tech leagues have expanded, and while IBM is still a powerhouse, it does not play in consumer markets. Apple is now a game-definer and game-changer, in major consumer segments.
There's the key and the lock. The bolt and the nut. The button and the button hole. So, too, there's the position and the hole in the mind the position is trying to fill. Except, of course, many marketers seem to have forgotten about those holes in the mind. Which is strange. If there is one constant in the communications chatter about the marketing function it's this one: The consumer owns the brand. True enough. But where in the world is the consumer going to put the brand except in his or her mind?
All these examples tell the same story: that the world contains an unimaginably vast amount of digital information which is getting ever vaster ever more rapidly. This makes it possible to do many things that previously could not be done: spot business trends, prevent diseases, combat crime and so on. Managed well, the data can be used to unlock new sources of economic value, provide fresh insights into science and hold governments to account.
Oracle, having spent the last nine months fighting rivals and regulators in order to own Sun Microsystems, has pushed itself into the middle of the scrum of technology heavyweights all jostling for the same corporate customers. The $7.4 billion deal, which gives Oracle a vast hardware business for the first time, pits it against Hewlett-Packard, I.B.M., Dell and Cisco Systems, all of which have made a flurry of acquisitions and alliances. Many of these moves broadened the companies’ products and services from their traditional specialties, like databases, computers or networking equipment. Each company wants to be able to claim to prospective customers that it, and it alone, has more of the parts to be an end-to-end service provider.
When Barry Judge, chief marketing officer of Best Buy, started his Twitter feed in mid-2008, he was anxious. He recalls fretting: "What if my tweets are boring, and what if no one follows me?" He had worked at Best Buy for more than eight years at that point but he was a social media neophyte. Now Judge finds himself tweeting a couple times a day. He has nearly 14,000 followers. Now he can't imagine doing his job without using social media, which he uses to communicate with Best Buy colleagues and customers.
What's the most inventive company on the planet? If you judge by sheer volume, it's IBM, which has received more patents from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office than any other company for 17 years in a row. No. 2 would be Samsung, which has trailed IBM since 2006. But the rankings look different if you measure patents by their value, as Ocean Tomo did at the request of Bloomberg BusinessWeek. The intellectual-property consulting firm sorted through U.S. patents granted to the world's 1,000 biggest companies (by revenue) from 2005 to 2009. Ocean Tomo then assessed the patents' value by tallying, among other things, patent filing trends, litigation rates, and how many times each was cited by other applicants or in scientific and technical journals. The data were aggregated into a patent value index number and ranking.
When Lenovo announced in December 2004 that it was taking over the PC business of IBM, it stunned employees at “Big Blue”, competitors in the industry, bankers and management experts. As most cross-border mergers and acquisitions fail anyway, how could this succeed? The US$1.75bn deal was unprecedented. It involved a company controlled by the Chinese state swallowing one of the world’s leading technology businesses. A company that had been selling in China only was attempting to transform itself into a global player with foreign markets accounting for 60 per cent of its sales.
Google’s expected unveiling on Tuesday of a rival to the iPhone is part of its careful plan to try to do what few other technology companies have done before: retain its leadership as computing shifts from one generation to the next. The rapid emergence of the smartphone as a versatile computing device may be as much a challenge as an opportunity for Google, which built its multibillion-dollar empire largely on the sale of small text ads linked to search queries typed on PCs.
Today's cloud-computing vendors focus on infrastructure, but that won't be the case for long. It can't be. As competing vendors seek to differentiate themselves, they're going to move "up the stack" into applications. It's like the history of enterprise computing, played out in months and years instead of decades.
IBM decided to close 2009 with a bang by acquiring Lombardi, a privately held provider of business process management (BPM) software. Big Blue racked up a number of acquisitions this year including: data discovery software firm Exeros, database security firm Guardium, security provider Ounce Labs, and analytics provider SPSS. Lombardi marks IBM's 90th acquisition since 2003. That's a lot of companies to digest. With Lombardi, IBM strengthens its presence in BPM by effectively capturing the customers it doesn't already have. IBM currently has more than 5,000 BPM customers in about 30 countries and growing.
A recent Economic Times story detailed IBM's new "spoken Web" technology, which will allow users to browse the Internet and access information by speaking in their local language without having to type or otherwise use the computer keyboard. An IBM India lab is currently developing the technology and performing real-world tests with rural dairy farmers in India. The idea is that if IBM can remove barriers to accessing its enterprise resource planning technology, Big Blue may be able to unlock a large market selling ERP software to companies that source dairy and other foodstuffs from rural Indian farmers.
Think about your organization and ask yourself these two questions: Are external social media sites restricted or blocked while at work? Is the use of social media in the workplace inhibited or frowned upon? If you answered yes, then your organization is one of the majority of firms with over 100 employees that have yet to embrace the use of social media in the workplace for the average worker. In a study conducted by Robert Half Technology entitled "Whistle But Don't Tweet At Work," many organizations are struggling with how to integrate social media into the workplace.
A group of 1,200 marketing and advertising executives at the 99th annual conference of the Association of National Advertisers in Phoenix are anxious about the economy--but many see opportunity as they look toward 2010. Executives from Walmart ( WMT - news - people ), McDonald's ( MCD - news - people ) and MillerCoors on Friday spoke about how their companies, which sell "value" products, have profited from the recession and changes in their businesses. The takeaway message from these executives: Don't be too distracted by fads and trends--stay focused on customers and the brand basics.
Imagine an advertising world where ... spending on interactive, one-to-one advertising formats surpasses traditional, one-to-many advertising vehicles, and a significant share of ad space is sold through auctions and exchanges. Advertisers know who viewed and acted on an ad, and pay based on real impact rather than estimated “impressions.” Consumers self-select which ads they watch and share preferred ads with peers. User-generated advertising is as prevalent (and appealing) as agency-created spots. Based on IBM global surveys there are four change drivers shifting control within the ad industry:
I was watching Stephanopoulos yesterday morning and I saw this IBM ad. And I thought, "hey, I've seen that guy somewhere before." And sure enough, he's in a Castrol Motor Oil ad. I think it's the same guy, right down to the wrinkles in his forehead. Does this matter? Maybe what happens in an ad for Castrol Oil stays in an ad for Castrol Oil. Or do actors have "transmedia" properties? Do they carry anything with them between ads? Here's what the "meaning transfer" theory says.
It's certainly not unusual that a stand up comedian like Tim Washer would be producing absurdist viral videos. What is surprising is that the IBM communications executive is doing so for his straight-laced corporate employer. He appeared at a Business Development Institute seminar on corporate social media practices last week. There, he championed the cause of creative absurdity in corporate marketing. And he warned the audience that fear and rigid thinking were the greatest obstacles to their companies' social media success.
The economic shocks that reverberated through the economy a year ago could easily have marked the end of the nascent "Innovation Movement." After all, how could companies prioritize developing innovation programs in the face of very real questions of fundamental survival? A year later, it is clear that innovation has never been more important. And, in a strange way, the scarcity forced on many companies has been a hidden accelerator of efforts to systematize innovation.
For those of us in marketing there's a competition at the U.S. Open that's equal to the exciting Melanie Oudin when it comes to the potential for big bucks. It's the competition among corporate sponsors of the tournament for consumer attention. While the tennis balls are certainly interesting to tennis buffs like me, as a branding professional it's the match for eyeballs that really peaks my interest.
How Big Blue is forging cutting-edge partnerships around the world.
THE Internet has changed many things, of course, but one of its more far-reaching effects has been to transform the economics of innovation.
In the Web world, you know that a trend has major traction when IBM is all over it. Like any large Internet company, Big Blue is careful about which trends it latches onto. It was a good couple of years before they were spotted at the Web 2.0 conference, for example. However in the case of Internet of Things, IBM is proving itself to be an unusually early adopter.
At the excellent MarketingProfs B2B Forum a couple of weeks back, I had the pleasure of attending “Marketing 2.0: Integrating Social Media into Your Marketing Mix” a session hosted by IBM’s Sandy Carter. Carter’s presentation offered a variety of valuable social media insights and strategies on three interesting projects at IBM. The lessons learned from one case study in particular stuck out as worth sharing.
With the rollout of an "augmented-reality" app for Android phones, IBM is bringing state-of-the-art technology to the U.K.'s most traditional sporting event, the Wimbledon Tennis Championships. As the tournament kicks off on June 22, the crowds at the All England Lawn Tennis Club will be able to use an Android smartphone application specially developed to enhance the event.
Messaging with the boss much? Maybe you ought to be. Workers who have strong communication ties with their managers tend to bring in more money than those who steer clear of the boss, according to a new analysis of social networks in the workplace by IBM (IBM) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
For more than a decade, the prevailing view of innovation has been that little guys had the edge. Innovation bubbled up from the bottom, from upstarts and insurgents. Big companies didn’t innovate, and government got in the way. In the dominant innovation narrative, venture-backed start-up companies were cast as the nimble winners and large corporations as the sluggish losers.
Companies are scrambling to silence errant messages while exploiting social networks.
Cisco, Corning, IBM, Intel, and Schwab have weathered worse economic storms. Five strategies to come out of this one even stronger.
If you page through The Wall Street Journal or New York Times, you might discover a few surprises. FedEx, General Electric and IBM have recently launched corporate branding campaigns, and tech power SAP made a splash just last week with a global push from Ogilvy themed "Time for a clear new world."
New study shows consumers far more digitally savvy than agencies.
Blue Thinking is the antidote to Green. It doesn’t go away and it’s not a project with a budget. It is the next generation of thinking emerging from the heart of brands embracing sustainability as business strategy and a driver for innovation. It’s not a green consumer story or marketing idea, not a single product innovation, not one change in the supply chain (but instead many), and nor is it a disconnected concept that should be applied to business because climate change has come upon us. Instead, it is transformational innovation.
IBM has created a list of five innovations that will change the way we all live over the next five years.