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The IBM Brand Promise

As you might know, I am an IBMer now by way of acquisition of my erstwhile firm ILOG. In addition to reading The Supply-Based Advantage: How to Link Suppliers to Your Organization’s Corporate Strategy which was discussed in the last guest post – Supply Based Management in Tough Times, I am also reading All Customers Are Irrational: Understanding What They Think, What They Feel, and What Keeps Them Coming Back by William J. Cusick.

One of the opening insights that Bill presents in this book is the idea of Brand Promise. He talks about Brand Promise in the following way:

To be clear, when I say, "brand promise," I’m not asking about positioning, which is more a strategic discussion, wherein you map out the market position of you competitors and contemplate how you can carve out a position or spot in the market and in your propect’s mind. Determining your positioning is a key discussion in your company, but it is more cut and dried; it is purely a business consideration. Brand promise moves to a different, more emotional level. Positioning is really about pure strategy Brand promise is about an appeal to the customer.

and further,

We feel it’s absolutely critical to understand what it is that this particular company is promising to prospective and existing customers. What, in other words, are the customers’ expectation whey "buy" (whatever that might mean). What is the distinctive value proposition? Some might even describe it as the company’s soul. Surely a company that generates billions of dollars in revenues each year begins all work and initiatives from a common, consistent, and unique brand promise – a raison d’etre, if you will – right?

So I’ve been through the IBM orientation and having worked for IBM (my client) as a consultant before that – take a look at one of the latest ads that I’m sure that you’ve seen on the TV every now and then:

Then tell me, What is the Brand Promise here?

My answer:

I thought it was "Barriers in the rear view". Or in plain-speak: "Out-nerd ya!"

Tags: All Customers are irrational, Brand Promise, IBM, IBM’s brand promise, Out-nerd ya!

Category: Personal Observations, Reviews, Strategy

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