IBM marketers around the world answer the call for servicex
IBM marketing teams will deliver volunteer service projects around the world throughout 2019, responding to a call to action from IBM Ambassadors.
IBM marketers around the world answer the call for servicex
IBM marketing teams will deliver volunteer service projects around the world throughout 2019, responding to a call to action from IBM Ambassadors.

“IBM means service” – 1949: IBM client commitment

“Every day we aspire to be essential” – 2019: IBM purpose, values and practices

Those two IBM beliefs—connected across time—are coming together as the company’s marketing organization plans global days of service to support community initiatives and not-for-profit organizations.

About 270 internal ambassadors on IBM marketing teams around the world are activating their peers—a group that numbers in the thousands—to participate in various volunteer projects at the local level.

“We want every IBM marketer to thrive and know that their work makes a difference—in the company and in their communities,” says Josephine Guevarra, the IBM manager of culture and environment, who leads the ambassador program.

“We have informally done this for years, but our official day of service program started in 2018, and this year our ambassadors have really run with the idea—in some cases, it’s now an entire summer or year of service!” she says.

Spread across more than 100 countries and supported by regional chief marketing officers, IBM ambassadors have already begun some volunteer projects, while others are just getting started.


Marketing 101: amplify reach and impact
In their service projects, the IBM teams are looking to use the “smart penny, not the dumb dollar”—a marketing and advertising proverb about making clever use of what’s available.

“We have expertise and coverage around the world,” says Ms. Guevarra. “Our Ambassadors can quickly take an idea, mobilize teams and amplify our reach and impact.”

A snapshot of some of their upcoming projects:

Romania
The team has run a “marketing matters” program for several years. The initiative uses coaching, mentoring and design thinking sessions to help non-governmental organizations and small charities understand why and how marketing can support their missions.

“One thing that unites us all is the responsibility to others,” says Gerold Gutti, the director of the Marketing Services Center in Bucharest, Romania.

As described by Anda Tinta, one of the center managers, the program covers a wide range of skills development for not-for-profit organizations including audience analysis; digital strategy and time management.

“It’s become so popular that now it is an annual, year-long tradition,” says Ms. Tinta, who is also an active volunteer. “We not only build external eminence for IBM, we build capabilities for social causes that really need the help.”

Egypt
Becoming IBM’s newest Marketing Services Center location in 2019, the team has quickly adopted core practices, including the day of service.

Nesma Makar, a digital strategist and IBM Ambassador, is in the process of planning their day of service for later in the year.

The team is considering two options for its day: preparing food boxes and distributing them in underprivileged areas of Cairo or donating clothes packed in boxes for specialized organizations.

“It feels good giving back to the community and helping others,” Ms. Makar says. “Plus, I believe these activities can boost employee morale and lead to greater productivity—it’s a chance for us to know each other on a more personal level.”

Australia/New Zealand
P-TECH is an educational model that integrates high school and college, focusing on STEM topics and learning. The program has an eye toward “new collar” jobs, primarily for students who might not normally have access to such schooling.

As part of their day of service, IBM marketing teams in Australia and New Zealand will run workshops for P-TECH schools in their countries.

On 23 July, teams will visit the Central Coast P-Tech school in Sydney and the Ballarat P-Tech school in Melbourne. On 29 July, the P-Tech school in Auckland will participate in a workshop by the IBM team.

The three-month-long day (that makes some people cry)
Now in its second year, the Austin, Texas marketing team’s “day” of service will stretch from June through August—officially referred to as “The Summer of Service”—in a project to help not-for-profit organizations address vital marketing needs.

Some of the results for Austin’s 2018 day of service
Some of the results for Austin’s 2018 day of service
Some of the results for Austin’s 2018 day of service
Some of the results for Austin’s 2018 day of service
“Many non-profits focus very little on marketing—it’s not their core competency, but it is ours,” says Laurie Parko, vice president of the Americas Marketing Services Center locations and an executive sponsor of the service initiative.

“Our teams have a broad range of expertise in web design, social media planning, content creation and more. Non-profit partners tell us that receiving this expertise, in a donated consulting engagement, if you will, has a deeper, more sustained impact on their efforts.”

In fact, the offer was so compelling that the number of non-profits that asked to participate was twice what the team expected.

During the recruitment process, Catie Shadley, a member of Ms. Guevarra’s culture and environment team, described what was planned to a potential non-profit participant.

“When I told her that she could have a team of IBM marketers help her organization reach its business goals, all she could say was, ‘Oh my gosh, you are going to make me cry! This is incredible.’ "

In a touch of marketing flair, the 2019 edition of the team’s Summer of Service—which has expanded to 11 non-profits—had a big reveal to cap a live event in June, hosted by IBM Chief Marketing Officer Michelle Peluso. Nearly 110 IBM volunteers have since signed up, learning more about the program from an internal website, Slack and flyers.

“It’s grown to be bigger and more impactful for local non-profits and IBMers than we ever imagined,” says Erin Jordan, a marketing specialist Jared Kinsler, Erin Jordan and Angela Huang
(left to right) IBM volunteers Jared Kinsler, Erin Jordan and Angela Huang at a 2018 day of service workshop
Jared Kinsler, Erin Jordan and Angela Huang
(left to right) IBM volunteers Jared Kinsler, Erin Jordan and Angela Huang at a 2018 day of service workshop
in influencer programs, who is part of the volunteer leadership team that guides the Austin effort, alongside Wennie Allen, Stephanie Fryer, Stephanie Watkins and Shelby Zellman.

In addition to the invaluable transfer of marketing expertise, there’s also the possibility of a monetary transfer. If the Austin team delivers enough service hours and IBM volunteers, each non-profit might be eligible for an IBM Community Grant.

“Being essential can happen in many ways. Our Summer of Service here in Austin, together with projects by our marketing teams around the world, gives us the opportunity to surprise and amaze our clients, the community and each other,” says Ms. Parko.

She adds, “Everyone gets to experience, firsthand, the value of what it means to be an IBMer.”


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