At Cannes Lions 2013, during a seminar called “The Era of “You”: The Science of Giving People What They Want”, IBM’s Vice-President, Corporate Marketing, John Kennedy explained IBM’s continual investment in a culture of innovation. He discussed how to use the explosion of data created by consumers through social media to unify brand perception and brand reality in a true and authentic way, thus creating value beyond the commercial transaction. As an example, he presented what must have been the most amazing film at Cannes Lions: a one minute film featuring moving atoms, called “A Boy and His Atom”.
As IBM’s Vice-President, Corporate Marketing, John Kennedy is responsible for IBM’s brand development and marketing programme on a global basis and also for IBM’s ‘Smarter Planet’ agenda. He started his talk by mentionning that social media and new mobile technologies make users create billions of data and brings marketers to understand their custumers not just as segments or targets, but as actual individuals. Empowered customers thus push marketers to be more creative to sell them advertising. So is it imperative for brands to turn Big Data into Smart Data, to create relevant content, as campaigns must go beyond selling products and services to creating ongoing and meaningful exchanges with consumers. The moto is now: Meet Your Customer. The theme was developped by John kennedy through three axis: Actually Knowing You, Value at Every Touch and Culture as Brand.
On the principle belief that innovative technology is the key to making the world work better, IBM has continually invested in a culture of innovation with intelligence. By example, IBM developped the program “Smart Ideas for Smarter Cities”, demonstrating that a simple curve can change plenty of things. A curved pannel glued against a city wall can protect people from the rain; the same curved pannel, upside down, becomes a seat; curved pannels on stairs helps rolling up a suitcase…
In a recent collaboration the Eames Office, IBM sponsored a free interactive iPad app called”Minds of Modern Mathematics” whose main feature is to looks back in history from the Eames’ 1960 vantage point, starting with the year 999. The app was downloaded more than 200, 000 times. IBM started as well creating content with media partners like the Huffington Post and, always faithful to its commitment into create content and educate people, participated with Watson at the game show Jeopardy! During Jeopardy! shows, Watson analyzed the questions to grasp the meaning and identify what was asked. It then browsed into the 200 million pages of natural language its memory contains to get the correct answer to the question.
John Kennedy kept the best for the end of his talk: by searching to always improve the possibilities of data storage, IBM came into the field of atomic-scale memory. In 2012, IBM scientists announced the creation of the world’s smallest magnetic memory bit, made of just 12 atoms (see picture below). Hence the nanophysicists’ idea of creating a stop-motion film out of atoms of carbon monoxid moving on a tiny copper plate. Nanoscientist Andreas Heinrich arrived on stage to explained the making of the one-minute film with atoms magnified over 100 millions times. They were moved thanks to a kind of nano “needle”, in the way the needle of a record player used to produce music when running into a record tracks. The films film shows a stick-boy meeting an atom, becoming friends and dancing together, the boy bouncing like on a trampoline and tossing the atom in the air. This most scientically advanced cartoon ever made has been recognized by the Guinness World Records Book as The World’s Smallest Stop-Motion Film, making it “Officially Amazing”! Big Blue provides us with fascinating story, and that is far from finished.