IBM Social Media Chief Jumps To Juniper

Adam Christensen will join Juniper Monday as director, social media and digital communications, he confirmed Thursday. At Juniper he will report to David Shane, vice president of corporate communications, and work closely with Juniper Chief Marketing Officer Lauren Flaherty and her team. At IBM, which he left earlier this month, he was manager, IBM Social Business Strategy & Execution, Corporate Headquarters.

"Juniper's done a lot in the social area, and I'll be looking to elevate that role on a couple of fronts," Christensen told CRN Thursday. "It'll be about how can we look at that as a way to benefit customer relationships. At a high level what I'm being asked to do is make that consistent across all forms of communications and marketing, and bring some competitive advantage."

Christensen spent eight years at IBM, holding various marketing and corporate communications positions while there. Before IBM, he held public relations positions at Brodeur Worldwide, Novell and Coltrin & Associates.

As he gets underway at Juniper, Christensen said, he'll be reviewing how Juniper leverages various social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and corporate blogs, as well as examining how to better project Juniper's culture using social networking.

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"Social media is a place where quick investment and quick experimentation lead to some pretty nimble movements," he said. "I expect we'll see a lot of tweaks even in the first 30 to 60 days. The most important thing is that all of it is consistent."

Christensen is part of Juniper's recent hiring spree, which has included a number of VP-level appointments in marketing and communications. Juniper is investing millions to expand its marketing, and Christensen said he'll be part of the channel partner-facing marketing efforts headed up by Vice President, Global Partner Marketing Luanne Tierney.

Christensen said one mistake many businesses make is that they treat social media as merely another form of business advertising without nurturing what makes platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn unique.

"People see it as advertising, which it can be, but you can't execute it just like you would any other form of marketing," he said. "I think that's one misconception, that it's just another box to be checked. And it's really not as a new as everyone thinks. It comes down to things we've always done in a business-to-business context: it's all about relationships. The same things that made us successful before -- being smart, being competitive, being aggressive -- are the same things that make you successful in the social realm."

Christensen is based in Huntington Beach, Calif. At Juniper, he'll be reunited with Flaherty, a 26-year IBM veteran who was vice president, worldwide marketing, small and medium business before leaving Big Blue herself in 2006.

Asked why he left IBM, Christensen said he saw Juniper as a compelling opportunity.

"I loved and continue to love IBM," he said. "This opportunity is exciting, though, because [Juniper's] a company in a different growth stage. I love competitively where they fit. They're the up-and-comer."