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The Business Case for Nonsense: IBM Social Media

Presented at Harvard Business School, Jan 7, 2010. IBM social media case on viral video.

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The Business Case for Nonsense: IBM Social Media

  1. 1. The Business Case for Nonsense: IBM Social Media Case Study Tim Washer, IBM twitter: @ timwasher blog: Ep 1
  2. 2. <ul><li>“ I've been thinking a lot lately about taking chances, and how it's really just about overcoming your fears. Because the truth is, every time you take a big risk in your life, no matter how it ends up, you're always glad you took it.” </li></ul>John Dorian, M.D .
  3. 3. Managing Perceived Risks <ul><li>Gain agreement on rules </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Convene bloggers, lawyers, marketing, PR </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>IBM’s guidelines: </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Experiment inside the firewall </li></ul><ul><li>Get some big wins, and promote </li></ul>
  4. 4. Approaches <ul><li>Uncover most compelling stories </li></ul><ul><ul><li>sources: PR, marketing, clients, R&D, customer service, corporate social responsibility </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Find most compelling experts/storytellers </li></ul><ul><li>News format: recycle b-roll, expert interviews </li></ul><ul><li>Rely on nonsense/absurdity/humor to gain awareness </li></ul><ul><li>Story trumps messaging </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Social media is for stories, not brochures </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Episode 1: Full Series: A Benchmark for Nonsense: “Art of the Sale” The Mainframe Blog
  6. 6. ROI <ul><li>Objectives: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>create awareness for new mainframe value proposition </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Increase mainframe awareness with college students </li></ul></ul><ul><li>>250,000 views on first episode </li></ul><ul><li>Blog traffic increased 25x </li></ul><ul><li>Analyst, Press, Blogger coverage </li></ul><ul><li>Screened at Chief Sales Officer summit, Price Waterhouse sales training, etc. </li></ul>
  7. 7. &quot;You gotta see this video….IBM is re-positioning the mainframe as a back-to-the-future alternative. The tone of Hoey's spoof training video is in keeping with the kinder, humbler image IBM now seeks to project.”
  8. 8. http:// =10085
  9. 9. “ Mad Science” series Featuring John Cohn from Discovery Channel’s from “The Colony” Micro-forecasting http:// Smart Grid
  10. 10. IBM Smarter Planet blog: http:// / YouTube: http:// An Exercise in Utility: A Brief History of Intelligence Foul Plea: one chicken's appeal for a smarter food system Seamus McManus: Beekeeper; Father of Cloud Computing