Posts Tagged ‘IBM’

We Need More People & Companies to Ask the Question…Why Not?

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

It’s Monday morning and I’m in my usual work routine…check the headlines from business and tech publications to see what’s going on in the world. A good PR person never wants to be caught off-guard and have a client call to discuss news that is relevant to them and the industry without being prepared, but that’s just my humble opinion.

I just read what I consider to be a fascinating article by Daniel Terdiman from c/net titled “At IBM Research, a constant quest for the bleeding edge“. The article discusses a handful of projects that are being worked on at the nine IBM research centers around the world. One project with a biology slant involves two researchers who are coming up with a procedure in which they drilled a tiny hole into a microprocessor in order to allow a strand of DNA to go through and impact its nanocircuitry. Another project, called “Lab on a Chip,” is trying to create an inexpensive and quick way for medical facilities to test blood samples. And yet a third project could help municipalities offer residents cutting edge traffic and public transportation system predictions that are far better than anything available today.

What we’re seeing here is an emphasis on researching and developing new technologies that can help people in ways never thought possible before. As Terdiman stated:

“Throughout my visit to IBM Research, nearly everyone I spoke with brought up Smarter Planet, IBM’s corporate innovation program that aims to gather data from a wide variety of sources and use analysis of that data to solve new problems for customers and clients alike.”

So why am I going on and on in praise of IBM, a $97 billion company? Aside from the fact that my father worked for IBM for 30 years, which gave me a natural bias towards Big Blue, it reminded me of why I got into this business. I cannot design a microchip, am not qualified to do biological research and can’t describe how a CPU works. None of that interests me nor has it ever. And yet my world, both professionally and personally, revolves around technology.

What I have always loved about technology is how it impacts our world on a daily basis. Is my T-Mobile G1 phone with the Android O/S saving the world? No, but it has kept me from getting lost thanks to its Map application, allowed me to take a picture while boating in the middle of Lake Pend O’Reille in Idaho and posting it to Facebook in real-time, and let me instant message with my kids during carpools.

It’s these types of advances that give me hope that people and companies will continue to create new technologies that not only help support corporate growth, but allow young minds to be creative and ask the question…why not?

Why All the Fuss About Brand?

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

Brand name, brand experience, brand awareness, brand recognition, brand image, brand franchise, and brand identity…just to name a few. Thanks Wikipedia. Here’s the definition of brand that I like:

The word brand has continued to evolve to encompass identity – in effect the personality of a product, company or service.

Is there a more misunderstood or overused term in marketing than “brand?” I hear the term in planning sessions and see it all over the news, but how can something that is intangible cause such a stir in the corporate world?

In a recent CNET article about the world’s strongest brands, the top tech companies recognized included industry heavyweights Google, IBM and Apple. In fact, Google was the winner for the fourth straight year. Sort of funny when you think about it since IBM and Apple have actual products you can touch whereas Google is really just an online tool, albeit one that has effectively taken over the Web.

Here is the top 10 ranking of global brands in 2010 by research firm Millward Brown Optimor in its fifth annual “BrandZ Top 100 report“.

Top 100 Global Brands

So as we talk about building brand, really, what does brand mean to you? To me Kleenex is a brand—do you ask someone for a tissue or a Kleenex when you’re about to sneeze? The name has effectively taken the place of the product line. I always have considered Sony a strong brand because it stands for quality products. I used to feel that way about Toyota but that’s another story.

A common attribute of brand in advertising that I see is the ability to identify with the product and want to emulate it on some level, like the Michael Jordan commercials with Gatorade (“Be like Mike”) or the Air Jordan shoes.

So in today’s day and age why is brand so important?

Because it’s all about building trust and strengthening brand loyalty. With so many choices available to consumers and companies, as well as so many mediums (radio, TV, social media, etc.) to reach target customers, companies are striving to keep their customers. It’s common knowledge that it costs less to maintain a customer relationship than to secure a new customer.

My feeling is that we’ve seen an uptick in the growth in usage of the term “brand” due to the rise of social media. Tools such as Facebook and MySpace not only give companies a way to reach their customers, but it creates a two-way dialogue that lets the customer engage with the company on an entirely different level. I’ve read about many smart companies that have added an element of customer service via Twitter. Sounds pretty smart to me.

So how can companies strive to instill more “personality” in their brand? What are some unique ways that companies are doing this?

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