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Ethan McCarty, Director of Enterprise Social Strategy and Programs, IBM

Ethan McCarty, Director of Enterprise Social Strategy and Programs, IBM

By Ethan McCarty

A brand’s true currency is its reputation, which derives from all the experiences people have with it. Maintaining that reputation requires a delicate balance, especially when we’re all connected through social media.

The key to success for today’s brands is to embrace authenticity. This means exploring ways to engage individuals instead of demographics. It’s proving relevance and value through utility instead of making over-simplified claims. And it means allowing employees and advocates to have a share in the corporate voice. Ours is a world that increasingly favors transparency over a neatly packaged message.

Throughout its history, IBM has maintained that its brand is best experienced through the IBMer. After all, what could we possibly say about ourselves that could be more interesting than our researchers finding new ways to treat cancer or developing computer chips that have neurons and synapses?

In order to give innovative employees a bigger stage, we created programs over the last decade to educate, empower and activate IBMers in the digital and social space. This has resulted in thousands of IBMers blogging their ideas, leading conversations, engaging with influencers and contributing to the enduring reputation oSP VOICES_Screens4f the IBM brand.

That proliferation of activity sparked an experience we call IBM Voices.

Originally released in 2012 as a real-time feed of social data from IBM brands and IBMers, Voices has evolved into a dynamic visualization of the knowledge and expertise shared every day by IBM. We’ve taken that original social data feed and applied an algorithm, which ranks the content according to what performs best on social platforms. In other words, the ranking system cuts through the noise and surfaces the most popular content being shared by our network of individual experts and brand managers.

The latest release of Voices gives an early glimpse into how smart companies can use data to create more meaningful customer experiences.

Visitors to the site can navigate through trending topics or search for their particular interests, surfacing what IBMers have to say about topics like cognitive computing or big data. A new tile-based, mobile-friendly display creates easier access to videos, images and infographics.

Voices represents a radical shift, empowering a company to ultimately turn over editorial control to the marketplace. But that’s just one marketer’s opinion. See for yourself what happens when a company like IBM lets the best ideas rise to the top.
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Follow Ethan at Ethanmccarty.com and on twitter @ethanmcc

And Follow IBM Smarter Planet on Google+

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Thanks for this. IBM is a great example of a company which understands that brand and reputation are virtually an identical concept. In most cases these are seen as separate because they are ‘owned’ by different communications functions, but IBM had broken down that barrier internally and this is a good example IMV if what results.


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