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IBM’s Smarter Planet campaign

September 15, 2010

The IBM “Smarter Planet” campaign initially rolled out in November 2008.  The simple message turned out to be highly adaptable, and in 2009 the firm built it into a more sophisticated, multi-channel communications program promoting IBM’s ability to help build a “Smarter Planet”. 

The reason I wanted to write about this campaign is because it is one of a handful of recent campaigns that have caught both my attention and imagination. Part of the genius of Smarter Planet is the straight-forward message that underlies the campaign.  I’m also impressed how IBM has leveraged social marketing sites into their campaign to better engage employees, clients and the general public. 

Much has been written about this marketing campaign, but I particularly like the September 2009 article in BusinessWeek by Steve Hamm, How IBMs Smarter Planet Strategy Came to Be.  It’s quite brief and was written early on without the benefit of hindsight to color the evaluation of the campaign. 

At the end of his article Steve writes, Smarter Planet is a smart strategy and a smart marketing campaign. The company’s investing a lot in technology and services to deliver on its promises. But, in the midst of the worst recession in half a century, IBM’s revenues have shrunk—and not by just a little. It’s spending a lot on building and marketing these new businesses even while it’s under serious pressure to cut costs. We’ll have to see as the recession eases if smart strategy and marketing will yield solid revenue gains.”

BTW – This summer the advertising campaign was awarded the Gold Global Effie.

Do you have any thoughts on the campaign? Like it? Love it? Hate it?

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