IBM vet brings his expertise to Microsoft

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Twenty five years ago, Microsoft Corp. thought it saw the future more clearly than IBM Corp. when it recognized software -- not hardware -- was the future. Now, after a bruising year, the company Bill Gates built needs to ensure its software remains relevant in the hyperkinetic Internet world. To do so, it's tapped one of the executives responsible for IBM's highly successful e-business ad campaign.

Microsoft recruited Scott Lennard, 35, an Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide executive, to lead its business advertising. Until a couple of weeks ago, Mr. Lennard was senior partner-management supervisor at Ogilvy's New York office, where he spent three years as a member of the agency's high-profile IBM team. Mr. Lennard succeeds Eric Koivisto, who left Microsoft this summer after six years in that role.

BUSINESS AUDIENCES

As director of advertising, Mr. Lennard will manage ads targeted to all Microsoft's business audiences, via TV and print efforts that constitute a major portion of its advertising. "The highlight was my experience on IBM. I was there to launch the e-business campaign. . . . " Mr. Lennard said. "We did a lot to position IBM as the leader in the e-business space."

And that, no doubt, is Microsoft's reason for tapping him as the company aims to create a more cohesive, unified message in the market about its products and services for Internet businesses.

Over the last few months, Microsoft has worked to bulk up a recently created Central Marketing Organization, recruiting new talent across all disciplines. This spring, the company created a new position and hired as media director David Grubb, a former executive at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco.

"The bottom line is Microsoft is always looking for good, smart people," said Mike Delman, general manager for advertising, events and packaging. Mr. Delman is in the process of recruiting several advertising managers to complete Mr. Lennard's team, which includes three existing positions, but he isn't creating new positions at this point.

"Scott is an advertising specialist," Mr. Delman said, adding, "he is an advertising professional who understands the technology category, and that is the type of person we're trying to create here."

LEARNED AT IBM

Mr. Lennard soon will have the chance to apply what he learned working on the IBM business as Microsoft ramps up a major effort around server offerings, and on high-level brand repositioning work that will cross business divisions, from McCann-Erickson Worldwide, San Francisco, which handles the estimated $350 million account.

At Microsoft, Mr. Lennard said he will work to develop a broad brand positioning "that is relevant to our customers and that also allows the specific products to be supported. . . . It's a very difficult thing to do."

THE LONG TERM

Microsoft has its work cut out for it. The server campaign is expected to be just one component of a more fully integrated campaign that will articulate what the brand means for the enterprise market. Although Microsoft won't discuss that positioning yet, "We're focused this year on Microsoft's relevance in the new digital world," said Mich Mathews, VP-marketing. "Where we are right now is we have landed on a much bigger idea which will permeate way beyond just advertising. . . . It's for the long term," she said.

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