IBM, The Coleman Group, and FutureBrand Form e-branding Alliance

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NEW YORK - 24 May 2000: -- IBM today announced a strategic alliance with two Interpublic Group branding agencies to create a world-class e-branding consultancy for Fortune 1000 and emerging dot-com companies.

Sister agencies FutureBrand and The Coleman Group will complement IBM's comprehensive suite of e-business services -- provided through the global IBM Centers for e-business Innovation -- with integrated corporate and consumer on-line branding expertise. Together the companies will build a team of strategy and design specialists in corporate and consumer branding across all industry segments. This highly-specialized team will help companies extend and differentiate their brands in the e-marketspace.

The alliance announced today builds upon the IBM's relationship with The Coleman Group and its HyperMedia digital branding unit as well as several other alliances announced last November.

"As e-business matures in both the business-to-business and business-to-consumer markets, success will become increasingly defined by the nature and quality of interactions brands establish with their customers across multiple channels. This is driving client demand for e-branding solutions that create a consistent brand experience in both physical and virtual environments," said Neil Isford, vice president, e-business, IBM Global Services. "This alliance strengthens our ability to meet the market demand for this next generation of e-business solutions."

"Businesses need to understand how to connect with their customers, differentiate their brand message, and provide a brand experience that creates relevancy and greater brand loyalty," said John Elkins, Chairman/CEO, FutureBrand. "The e-branding solutions alliance provides businesses with the strategic and executional skills to develop an interactive environment that maximizes their customer's experience with the brand."

The alliance will assemble dedicated e-branding specialists in New York to service the United States and, by year's end, intends to open an office in London to service Europe.

"Additionally, the alliance will tap into the resources of our 450 branding and new media specialists worldwide." said Owen W. Coleman, CEO of The Coleman Group. "Our relationship with IBM in the digital environment is a natural extension of the work we have done for the world's leading brands. We have helped global organizations across all industries define, create, and manage their product brands for over thirty years."

IBM launched a worldwide network of innovation centers, complemented by several branding and design alliances, in November, 1999. The centers bring together business strategists, marketing specialists, interactive designers, application developers and systems integration specialists to help companies quickly and effectively envision and build e-business solutions.

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