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IBM Case Study

1.) IBM advertises itself as a company that provides service and business solutions. It used to be positioned as a computer hardware company, but as more companies like HP and Dell began to pop up they were forced to move away from this image. I recently had the pleasure of speaking with an IBM sales person, and he said that they very much rely on the value of their products, rather than competing on price. IBM positions themselves as having better, but slightly more costly, products than their competitors. IBM doesn’t want to be seen as just another computer company, but as a company that can help you run your business, and make life all around easier for you.

2.) Prior to 1993 IBM’s advertising was handled by a large number of different agencies. 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 have portray itself in a wide variety of ways around the country. In 1993 IBM moved all of it’s advertising to Oglivy & Mather whose goal was to “keep the IBM brand fresh, interesting and topical.” In 1995 they introduced “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.

In the late 90’s the introduced the “E-Business” campaign. 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. This campaign was huge in turning around IBM as a company.

In 2002 Samuel Palmisano became the new Chief Executive of IBM. Palmisano’s wanted to dramatically increasing IBM’s focus on the fast-growing Business Services market. IBM began to use the “ON Demand” campaign. The purpose of this was to show businesses how they could run when they relied very heavily on IBM. Again testimonials were used. IBM showed how they could create smoother operations through technology, staying on the cutting edge by providing new tools such as broadband, and appealing to customers who needed to have the best resources to be competitive.

In the mid 2000’s IBM recognized a new are to grow, Business Process Transformation Services (BPTS). Companies were more and more realizing how advantageous it was having a partner to help streamline your operations, and IBM knew that they had the potential to be this partner for many clients. They needed to position themselves as continuing to provide superior technology, and at the same time position themselves as having superior customer service and support. This was done through the “Help Desk” and “The Other IBM” campaigns. These were IMC campaigns used to create awareness, credibility, preference, and an image of IBM as a provider of business consulting services. Both of these campaigns established IBM’s customer service and support business, without implying that IBM was less focused on providing the best technology in the market. “The Other IBM” campaign was launched during the masters, and beautifully captured IBM’s target market, with the help of print ads run in The Wall Street Journal. The “Help Desk” campaign was more focused on how IBM solves real problems and helps real people. These ads showed situations that could some up in varying jobs, such as a highway traffic officer, or leisure activities, such as golfing, and how they could be helped by IBM. These ads connected with people and made people feel comfortable with IBM’s...
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