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IBM: Blue Velocity (BV) Global Campaign

Agency: Ogilvy

Business & Cultural Context:

IBM lacked credibility in the startup space and were seen as technology providers for large corporations with big budgets and slow moving IT departments; not fast, reliable and offering value. The dotcom crash had made VCs more risk averse, and put more focus on "time to profit".

A startup owner we spoke with summed the challenge: "IBM needs to approach us like they are a start up themselves. Don’t assume that we are automatically giving them respect for the brand that was developed many years ago.”

 

Customer Insight:

NetGen have changed the rules of the game and re-defined the way we conduct business and deal with companies. They don't believe in old-fashioned management styles of bureaucracy and red tape and have little time for traditional marketing. They function in an informal business environment, with “deals often done in diners”. 

Campaign Idea:

IBM Blue Velocity: Smaller, Less Blue.

Beyond the Campaign:

  • We worked with IBM's sales force to change their dress code and lingo. We got them to get rid of the jacket and tie, roll up their shirt sleeves and don a pair of sunglasses.

  • Next we created an new BV identity with business cards, sales training guides, product manuals and customer brochures with language that was far from the usual IBM corporate jargon.

Results:

The BV campaign and program was launched in USA, Canada, Italy, India and Japan and quickly became IBM's most successful effort targeting the Net Gen audience.