Content marketing can be a tricky area for brands whose products or services are not traditionally seen as ‘sexy.’ But IBM has turned that idea on its head and produced some of the most exciting content I’ve seen in any industry.   

In this post I’m going to take a look at some of the best examples of IBM’s content, and why I think this company’s strategy is so effective.

The World’s Smallest Movie

Before we look at IBM’s more recently published content, let’s not forget it was responsible for breaking the Guiness World Record for the smallest film ever made.

In its film titled ‘A Boy and His Atom,’ IBM wanted to highlight how crucial the ability to move atoms is when it comes to its atomic memory research.

The film is only visible when magnified 100m times. 

Let’s face it: this post could stop there.

IBM wins content marketing as far as this slightly nerdy writer is concerned, but let’s look at some of the other stuff the company has been putting out recently.  

YouTube

If you’re looking for one of the most clear and concise explanations of big data I’ve ever seen, look no further than the IBM YouTube channel. 

This video works because it is genuinely helpful and useful to people while also positioning IBM as an approachable expert on the subject. 

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The next video was published as part of IBM’s THINK campaign. Top marks for creating emotional resonance in a video about data.

That’s got to be worth an award in itself. 

Vine

I love Vine for the same reason I love Twitter: it forces people/brands to get their message across concisely.

As a result there is some really creative stuff going on, and IBM’s contributions are no exception.  

This animation of a dismantled IBM Selectric 1980s typewriter being put back together is ridiculously satisfying.

To promote its weather data arm, IBM used Vine to publish a number of short animations depicting the different ways in which the elements can impact on business. 

Each animation is accompanied by a fact about weather’s impact on business, and uses the hashtag #WeatherMeansBiz to promote it.

Instagram

The THINK campaign shows up again here in a series of simple, striking photos containing the motto. 

IBM THINK on Instagram

IBM THINK on Instagram

IBM THINK on Instagram

Like some of the other ‘old school’ brands (Ford being the first one that springs to mind), IBM uses Instagram to post nostalgic  pictures from its past. 

This is a good strategy because not only does it make for interesting content, it also hammers home the message that IBM is a trusted and reliable brand that has been a part of people’s lives for decades. 

IBM retro on Instagram

IBM retro on Instagram

IBM retro on Instagram

Cognitive Cooking with Chef Watson

This is perhaps my favourite piece of content from IBM. In a bid to discover new recipes free from the limiting nature of human bias, IBM teamed up with the Institute of Culinary Education to develop a cognitive cooking platform: ‘Chef Watson.’

By combining ingredients with data about the way humans perceive food, Chef Watson suggests unique and unusual recipes (some of which are unusual for a reason. Chicken broth old fashioned anyone?). 

Here's a picture of the food van IBM toured around the US to promote the campaign and cook Chef Watson's suggestions.

Chef Watson van

Consumers can either download the app to get their own recipe suggestions or buy the recently released cookbook in print form. 

Cognitive Cooking with Chef Watson cookbook

Here’s a video of a guy making a burrito with chocolate (and a load of other ingredients Chef Watson suggested). 

IBM also published some decent Vine content to coincide with the release of the cookbook. 

Conclusion: simplify the message

IBM’s content strategy works because they take complex messages and present them in a simple, relatable way. 

This is probably one of the biggest challenges for companies whose products are very technical, but IBM has nailed it because its content appeals to laypeople as much as it does techies.

Jack Simpson

Published 25 June, 2015 by Jack Simpson

Jack Simpson is a Writer at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.

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Comments (2)

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Nachum Sokolic, Product Manager at TescoEnterprise

consistent across channels too

about 2 years ago

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Davide Gaeta, Digital Marketing Manager at Transputec Ltd

Impressive for consistency and efficiency... you want to keep reading. Excellent post!

about 2 years ago

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