IBM marks centenary with CSR push

IBM is rolling out a global volunteering initiative, one of a raft of centenary year initiatives aimed at changing public perception that it still just sells PCs.

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As part of the initiative, IBM’s UK marketing communications team is launching a “bureau” to offer its expertise to charities and not-for-profit organisations.

The bureau will offer free access to workshops, research and one-on-one consultancy. IBM says it aims to build out the service to invite other small to medium-size business marketers to volunteer.

Caroline Taylor, vice-president of marketing, communications and citizenship, says the global initiative, in which the company’s 406,000 employees are encouraged to take part, will help IBM explain to its customers what the brand stands for.

She says: “We are a strong brand but lots of people still think we only sell PCs. We need to shift that perception and prove that we offer a broad range of services.”

Taylor says the volunteering campaign will benefit the company commercially by attracting the “best” employees and improving relationships with clients.

She says: “At IBM it is important to have relationships with our customers beyond technology.”

IBM claims it will be the first technology company to celebrate 100 years of business this month.

IBM, which began life selling bacon slicers and tabulating machines, will celebrate its centenary with the launch of a book that chronicles its history, a series of short films and print ad campaigns.

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