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126: George Hammer of IBM on what it means to make less and matter more

George Hammer, Chief Content Officer at IBM

In this week’s episode of “Marketing Today,” Alan talks with George Hammer, chief content officer at IBM. In his conversation with Alan, Hammer discusses current trends in content creation as well as his vision for the way IBM operates in the creative realm and how it has changed “business as usual” at IBM.

Hammer talks about the current trend we’re seeing of so many companies bringing create in-house and how the content creation model at IBM — “IBM Originals” — is different. “I believe that we can actually do better,” says Hammer. “And so, for me, no — we’re not building an in-house agency. And I think if you just simply think about that, you’re missing the opportunity to do something bigger and greater. And there are all sorts of opportunities that are unlocked when you have an IBMer sitting next to an IBMer working together to make something.”

At the same time, Hammer recognizes what outside talent can add to the IBM mix: “There is a great purpose and role all of these external agencies and media companies can play from a talent perspective that will make them not just relevant but essential to a brand’s success.”

Hammer also notes, “We are diverse in our creation model because we allow the idea and the talent to dictate which way we go.”

Highlights from this week’s “Marketing Today” podcast include:

  • Hammer talks about his background and how his experience prior to arriving at IBM impacts the way he operates. (1:16)
  • Hammer’s first 100 days at IBM. (8:16)
  • “In the end, every touch point we have with an audience is an impression. (11:00)
  • Hammer’s pivot from content marketing to content directing. (13:07)
  • Hammer on creating an ecosystem of external creative partners: “We’re always looking for the best person.” (15:24)
  • The IBM mantra of “make less, matter more.” (17:01)
  • Making a great place for creators and better content for people. (19:53)
  • Evolving the content craft: IBM’s Content Cantina. (22:04)
  • Hammer discusses his experience serving on the ANA’s CMO Growth Council. (24:46)
  • How improv training and performance changed Hammer’s perception of winning. (27:26)