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‘We’re Selling Trust And A Relationship’: IBM’s Hammer

CANNES—Having just celebrated its 108th anniversary, IBM is doubling down on core values. “That’s how all businesses future proof themselves is maintain that trust, that transparency, having an ethical stance and delivering that purpose to audiences,” says Chief Content Officer George Hammer.

“When you see brands lead their creative with a purpose, I think people realize that brands stand for something greater than just the bottom line. That’s getting us noticed in a slightly different way,” Hammer adds in this interview with Beet.TV at the recent Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

Behind the scenes, IBM is sensitive to the reality that because people build algorithms, the end product could very well contain bias. “So what we’re doing is building models to evaluate the models that AI has, to make sure that there’s no bias within them and constantly check the technology we use in order to make decisions.”

Hammer believes that maintaining the public’s trust is one reason why the company has survived for more than a century. “Think of how we change what we sell every ten years. So we don’t sell products, we’re selling trust and a relationship. We help clients get from here to there.”

Blockchain technology is another tool in the pursuit of transparency, particularly among business partners, according to Hammer. One example is the amount of money on a digital media buy that used to end up in the pockets of technology middlemen but now more is ending up with publishers.

“A blockchain built with a network of partners can help deliver that,” Hammer says. It goes beyond the technology itself to “also having the players who are ethical and have the right DNA in their core to participate in a blockchain. You have to bring the right players to the purview, you provide that transparency and openness, and people tend to act in a way that’s better for the collective.”

A recent initiative by IBM called B Equal, which promotes gender equality in business leadership, isn’t just a campaign because “it has to be about the way we work and the things we do, and I believe that’s what you’re seeing in the brands here as part of the ANA and CMO Growth Council.”

Formed a year ago at Cannes, the Council represents “a diverse group of people” that is producing initiatives that are “not just words but they actually have action behind them, and I believe that’s the next step in this initiative. We’re aligning on some pillars, we’re aligning on our missions and our outcomes, and now we’re putting the actions in place and saying ‘let’s go make this happen.’”

You are watching Beet.TV coverage of the CMO Growth Council Summit in Cannes. This series is presented by Teads. For more videos from our series, visit this page. Please find all our coverage from Cannes 2019 right here.