This is a writing sample by “nycghostwriter,” AKA Barbara Finkelstein. It is a news story published on “Selling for IBM,” the IBM Corporation intranet. You can get professional ghostwriting services from a business writer. Email me or fill out the short form on my contact page.

Selling for IBM | 6 May 2004

Article Summary

After amassing thousands of marketing and advertising assets, UPS marketing executives needed a secure repository to save and manage them. The global delivery company is using an IBM-Ancept digital media database as it works to implement a global rebranding campaign.

Whenever UPS’s marketing employees need to work with the ads, logos, promotional materials and strategy documents designed for the company’s multimillion-dollar rebranding campaign, they access them “on demand” by using a digital media database.

Until recently, a brown truck conjured up the picture of a worldwide delivery company. With the help of IBM’s digital asset management solutions, “brown” has begun to evoke a global enterprise that also uses its package delivery system to help clients track customer satisfaction, monitor supply chains and manage the flow of funds and information. The multimillion-dollar branding campaign is the largest one United Parcel Service has initiated in 43 years — and it stands to reinvigorate the company in much the same way that services helped usher IBM into a new line of business.

Protecting a brand may sound obvious — IBM has lawyers who do nothing but that — but for companies whose primary product or service has gone unchanged for nearly 100 years, brand value is often taken for granted. Managing director Lee Torrence, client services director Greg Muzi and Abby Kohnstamm, senior vice president of marketing, met three times with UPS’s CEO to help convey the importance of protecting his brand from copyright infringement, legal assaults and logo piracy. While IBM’s digital media implementations for companies such as Coca-Cola and National Geographic underscored IBM’s industry expertise, those conversations about brand — and examples of IBM’s own brand transformation — overwhelmingly won CEO Michael Eskew’s trust.

Turning on a dime

After amassing thousands of marketing and advertising assets, UPS marketing executives needed a secure repository to save and manage them. And the company needed it within ten weeks of the official in-house rebranding announcement. UPS solicited bids from IBM and Accenture for a hosted IT operating environment and digital media solution that would let employees access templates, press announcements and advertisements and, in keeping with software licensing agreements, would charge them every time they accessed an image.

As far as IBM was concerned, the absence of an IT infrastructure posed an advantage over Accenture, whose request-for-proposal indicated that it could not deliver a solution without three or four other vendors.

Working the matrix

By using Bluepages, client services director Greg Muzi located a digital media sales manager who was able to hammer out a unique, but replicable, offering for UPS’s purposes, based on earlier implementations for the National Football League and Children’s Television Workshop. Along with Business Partner Ancept, an application development company that delivers digital asset management solutions for large enterprises, IBM convinced UPS to go to contract right away — without having to discuss pricing or infrastructure issues.

Because UPS had no preexisting operating environment, IBM could do a soup-to-nuts implementation without having to worry about issues of interoperability. The client team installed everything — database, hardware, software, Website — as a Web-hosted solution in Secaucus, New Jersey. Whenever the project requires additional server capacity, the team has the independent authority to increase it as needed. “I can’t tell you just how extraordinary this was for UPS,” says Muzi. “They aren’t the kind of company to let anyone take control of their services or administration.”

Even a straightforward engagement like this one met with some obstacles. Among them:

Having to wait for the completion of all the branding assets. The ad agency was still creating branding materials even after IBM had implemented the operating environment. The team worked ’round the clock for three days to load all the content into the database.

Coordination. Ancept built its applications in Minneapolis. UPS’s project office — and center for managing its marketing assets — is in Atlanta. IBM’s hosting environment is in Secaucus. It took some effort to “keep everyone on the same page.”

The digital database went live without a hitch on March 23, 2003. When all was said and done, UPS made an initial investment of less than $500,000 with IBM to protect a multimillion-dollar branding investment as UPS transforms itself from a “brown” package delivery system into a broader palette of financial, information and customer relationship management services (see sidebar).


Products sold in UPS engagement

Hardware: pSeries: pSeries 660 6H1, pSeries running AIX 5 xSeries: xSeries 345.

Software: WebSphere: WebSphere Application Server – Advanced Edition.

Services: IBM Global Services – e-business Hosting Services: e-bHS Managed Hosting.

Solutions: Digital Media for Cross Industry Digital Content Management Digital Media for cross-industry Marketing asset management.

Business Partner: Ancept Inc. (now part of Stellant) provided Ancept Media Service software, development services and overall system support.


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