From the Typewriter to AI: Inside IBM’s Brand Transformation

For most Fortune 500 companies today, success is synonymous with innovation. For those with as rich a history as IBM, innovation has to be grounded in both heritage and a vision for the future. Communications is imperative to that process. In our new episode of The New CCO podcast, Jon Iwata, former Chief Brand Officer at IBM, speaks about his role, how he helped to shape the IBM of the 21st century, what it means to be a next-generation CCO and what’s in store for the future of our profession.

Jon discusses why the communications function is no longer about “messaging or information or about opinion or perception, but about behavior” and how this new way of thinking can help CCOs create better consistency between communication and marketing. Listeners will also hear the background behind key communication and brand milestones for IBM. This includes the creation of Watson as the brand’s symbol of innovation and details on how Jon used his role to create a platform for “what it means to be an IBMer” today.

Recorded as he closed out his more than 30-year career, Jon offers his wisdom on why communicators need to “be willing to embrace new capabilities” and “learn what not to change” when undergoing a brand shift. Jon reflects on why understanding corporate character and getting it right can be “a touchstone that serves the corporation through times of great change.”

IBM continues to use communications and marketing as a tool to showcase the transformation of its business. This conversation with Jon goes behind the scenes with the architect of this approach and its inspiration to the next generation of communication leaders.