IBM iX Wants Blockchain To Work For Brands

While brands aren’t exactly climbing over each other to adopt blockchain, persistent pain in the marketing supply chain means the technology will eventually have its day, according to IBM iX Executive Partner Babs Rangaiah.

“This was built to solve the kind of issues we’re facing,” Rangaiah says this week on the AdExchanger Talks podcast. “It’s redundancy of middle men, it’s cleaning up a supply chain, it’s reconciliation, it’s transparency and truth.”

Rangaiah is a seasoned marketer who spent 14 years at Unilever before joining IBM iX, the marketing services division of IBM’s global consulting arm. IBM iX offers creative, strategy, experience design and other services that often use Big Blue’s own technology.

Two years ago, Rangaiah called on his former colleagues at Unilever, proposing a design thinking workshop focused on blockchain. “They agreed to do that and then they funded a Minimum Viable Product initiative to build a very small self-contained media buy using blockchain,” he says.

That led to a joint initiative between Mediaocean, IBM, Unilever and six other brands that was completed earlier this year. The partners are now evaluating results and have begun work on a “full production” model that will launch in the second half of 2020.

“What we’re building is an enterprise-level foundation,” Rangaiah says. “That’s what IBM does. You’ll find a ton of blockchain startups that will do one thing – payment, reconciliation or identity. Those companies can’t build at scale the kind of foundation we can build, where we can then build on top of it application layers … to address additional things beyond the most basic transparency issues.”

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