How IBM rebuilt its brand around 'Smarter Planet'

Geoffrey Precourt

In December 2004, IBM announced it was putting its PC business up for sale; The New York Times called it the "end of an era in computing". It was also the end of what the IBM brand had been built around.

"The PC was the last touchpoint with the individual – the individual business and the individual consumer," Jon C. Iwata, IBM SVP/marketing and communications, told a keynote audience at the Association of National Advertisers' annual Masters of Marketing convention. "It represented IBM to them. It was no small thing to them."

Photo: Rishi Shah / Clarion Pictures

Seven years later, IBM's 'Smarter Planet' positioning is viewed as a brand success story. But getting there was no easy feat.