IBM, that old school, not-so-cool, computing juggernaut that once ruled the technology landscape, is upping its digital game of late. Following the acquisition of video streaming company, Ustream earlier this month, the tech giant on Thursday announced the acquisition of 300-person digital agency Resource/Ammirati.
The deal, which is said to close by the end of the first quarter, is the first part of the planned expansion of IMB's Interactive Experience division which aims to help "clients digitally reinvent to create transformative brand experiences." The division already has 1,000 designers, developers, consultants and strategists serving IBM technology clients.
Of the acquisition, IBM Interactive Experience Global Leader Paul Papas said: “Resource/Ammirati has built its own stellar brand and reputation on a long, distinguished record of advancing leading brands in every industry. That portfolio of work and proven expertise is a perfect complement to the experience design capabilities of iX -- where we bring clients a distinct fusion of industry insight, design thinking and end-to-end digital transformation, from the experience of the individual to the core processes of the client's enterprise.”
Founded in 1981 with Apple as its first client, Resource/Ammirati has been known for several firsts in the digital marketing space -- from infamously “breaking the internet” in 1999 with the Victoria’s Secret Webcast Fashion Show during the Super Bowl, to being the first to tackle Facebook eCommerce capability for The Limited, Home Depot and P&G, to creating Sherwin-Williams’ ColorSnap Studio, an Ad Age “App of the Decade,” and the first-ever digital personalized circular, CVS’s myWeekly Ads.
It's not a surprising move given that brands have increased their focus on customer experience -- and as we all know, that experience has become increasingly digital. Current IBM Interactive Experience clients include Air Canada, Boston Children’s Hospital, Citi and Staples.
It's a stretch to think of IBM as a digital marketing presence, but isn't this approach of acquiring digital/interactive specialty firms similar to what IT consultancy Sapient did when it built Sapient Interactive around the agnecy Nitro? that turnd out successfully, as Sapient is now a major industry force, and critical to parent Publicis' plans to transform from an agency holding company to more of a data and IT driven marketing consultancy.