HOLLYWOOD, FL: Brands need to strike the right balance between marketing what they sell and "what they believe", according to a leading executive from IBM.

Jon Iwata, IBM's SVP/Marketing and Communications, discussed this subject at the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) 2016 Brand Masters Conference.

"Companies need to have a balance between marketing that which they have to sell and marketing what they believe," he said. (For more, including further details of the brand's strategy, read Warc's exclusive report: For third time in 20 years, a "new" IBM.)

"We certainly invest marketing [dollars] in what we have to sell. But we really market in what we believe."

More specifically, he could point to the organisation's slate of marketing programs over the last few years, which include focusing on a "Smarter Planet", e-business and its classic "Think" positioning.

"At IBM, once every ten or 15 years, we put out into the world something we call a 'branded point of view'," said Iwata.

"It is a point of view on something technology-related that millions and millions of people are talking about. But it is a differentiated point of view that has to be considered and argued before we [put our] brand on it."

And in its latest incarnation, the firm's marketing is able to highlight the power of its Watson cognitive computing platform, and its burgeoning capabilities in the field of artificial intelligence.

"We spend a lot of money, and effort, and energy marketing ideas for others to embrace as their own," Iwata reported.

"When, at your core, you are an innovation company, by definition, you are bringing to market – to life, to businesses, to people all around the world – concepts, products and ideas they've never heard of before.

"So, before they create demand for a product or service, they first have to understand what it is and why are they needed."

Data sourced from Warc