Best Electronic Newsletter

IBM’s internal newsletter meets its goal: Compete with the likes of People, Maxim, GQ

IBM iX’s “#mobilize" had maybe the highest expectations of any email newsletter in history: Employees should grab it as eagerly as they open Esquire or Elle.

#mobilize - Logo -


IBM’s global mobile leader, Warren Tomlin, gave Susanne Frame and Robert Mindzak a mandate: Design and write an email newsletter that expresses a new corporate vision and culture. Make it irresistible to IBM staff and consultants. Make them rave about it. And be quick about it.

For coming up with an internal publication so good that it’s heavily used by IBM sales and marketing people as a primary sales tool, for drawing cheers from IBM consultants, and for setting the standard for good internal communication at IBM, the newsletter “#mobilize” has won the “Best Electronic Newsletter” category in Ragan’s 2015 Employee Communication Awards.

Some of Susanne Frame’s core concepts for the project, dubbed “Frame-isms”:

  • “Employee communications must be informal, yet informative.”
  • “A great publication must be equally strong in both design and writing.”
  • “At IBM, if you didn’t receive something by email, it doesn’t exist.”
  • “It’s never easy to educate, motivate, or engage employees—especially during big changes.”
  • “Our internal content must be just as good as what we produce for clients.”
  • “Our content must be as good as anything employees read in a [popular] magazine.”
  • “Nobody ever wants MORE email, unless it’s something worth reading.”
  • “How often have you heard, ‘It’s just internal, don’t spend much time on it.’”

The “#mobilize” newsletter walks Frame’s talk: It’s easy to read, interesting on IBM app development and trials (potentially the dullest of subjects), and packed with literate, readable employee opinions and stories on work, IBM products, daily life, and everything else. 

Warren Tomlin’s “#mobilize” comes closer to removing the barrier between internal and external communications than any other huge, multi-national organization’s journalism we’ve seen. 

Kudos to Amanda Anderson, Amy Bechard, Robert Mindzak, Susanne Frame, and Warren Tomlin for taking IBM internal communications in a new direction!


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