1. What is the primary objective of IBM’s advertising? How have the objectives of its advertising changed over the years? In one perspective the initial primary objective of IBM’s advertising is to recapture brand equity to increase its diminishing market share. Plunging from one of the market leader during 70’s and 80’s to almost a market looser in the 90’s, IBM’s rebranding aims at the value proposition in the mind of the consumers. Defeated by the rivals such as Microsoft, Dell and Oracle, IBM had to push the awake call alert to reposition itself as one of the significant player in the industry. This all been done through the ingenious and new paradigm of advertising series on which could reinstate the big blue stigma.
The transformation process that could penetrate the existing market with the new products known as the product penetration strategy can be best served through the non-personal media Gradually, over the years these objectives had been streaming with the need and orientation towards the present consumers demand and market behavior. What has been emphasis during the early stage of communicating with the consumers has to be molded with the present requirement to suit the consumer needs and wants. Series of persuasive and accurate appeals of the IBM’s advertising plus the campaign has alerted the consumers of its present business orientation and objectives. At this stage recapturing the brand equity has become marginal as the target is to increase the market share through brand retention, brand loyalty and customer relationship management (CRM).
2. Evaluate each of the campaigns described in the case and the accompanying ads shown in the Power Point file. Are the intended branding messages being communicated clearly and do the ads speak equally well to users, as well as non-users, of IBM products and services? IBM’s advertising was handled by a large number of different agencies prior to 1993. Until the late 80’s this wasn’t a problem because IBM was such a dominant player in the market. However this eventually became a problem as IBM was beginning to loose its identity having portrayed itself in a wide variety of ways around the country. So in 1995 they introduced a campaign. “Solutions for a small planet”:
These ads were meant to create a unified brand image of IBM around the world, while connecting everyone on this “small planet”. This campaign was very successful, and was a huge step in restoring IBM’s image. The main communication goal for this campaign was delivering message that IBM can “manage information anywhere, anytime, and for anyone”. The messages are underlined by the repeated use of the word ”solutions” in describing I.B.M.’s products and services. That echoes the theme ”Solutions for a small planet,” which has appeared in all the I.B.M. advertising created by Ogilvy & Mather, the WPP Group agency that has been the company’s worldwide shop since 1994. The campaign was based on extensive market research around the world. This campaign targeted C-level Executives like Chief executives, Chief Managers, etc. IBM wanted to be known as the “provider of solutions”. “E-Business”:
This campaign was introduced in the late 1990’s. This was to connect with people who were beginning to use the internet more and more for their business and personal use. This was a very good move as using the internet in some way is now a part of almost everyone’s daily activities. This campaign continued to connect the brand with being able to help people with their business needs. Testimonials from customers such as Mercedes Benz and Motorola were used to back up the message that IBM can help you with your business. E-business signals IBM’s recognition of its customers’ increasing desire to use the Web for commerce and collaboration. IBM also used this campaign to attract a broader customer base of small to midsize customers seeking to develop a Web presence. “On Demand”
The main objective of this campaign was to increase the focus on Business Services Market. It used a series of print ads, television commercials and outdoor advertising which reaches the consumer while he or she is outside the home. It was focused on marketing to consumers when they are “on the go” in public places, in transit, waiting and/or in specific commercial locations. Outdoor advertising formats fall into four main categories: billboards, street furniture, transit, and alternative. IBM helped analyzed medical data with an advertisement “Fighting Cancer is ON”. Other examples include “Napster is ON”, “China is ON”, “The PGA Tour is ON”, to increase the focus on Business Services Market. In all these campaigns “ON” is about getting your company to work better. The goal of the ‘ON Demand’ campaign was to show that yet again IBM was at the forefront of helping companies/businesses which were fully integrated, wanted to meet the demands of the ever demanding consumer and aiming to provide better services and grab business opportunities available at a global scale.
“The Other IBM” and “Help Desk”:
These campaigns move into the Information Technology Consulting Industry. The Other IBM was designed in 2005 to reposition company. It used imagery with scenes of King Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table. The IBM Help Desk was aimed at mid-sized businesses and, rather than concentrating on technological jargon, it focused on showing how the IBM Help Desk can be of assistance in solving practical business problems. The TVCs literally take the Help Desk into the real world to show, in a humorous way, how the IBM Help Desk can assist businesses in making their operations smoother and their lives easier
3. What is the value of using testimonials or mini-case studies across a variety of business and industries in IBM’s integrated marketing communications campaigns?