Informing a Global Narrative: Lenovo
As a multinational technology company, Lenovo faces the challenge of communicating relevantly across markets with different expectations and cultures. Historically a product-focused company, Lenovo needed to illustrate the power of technology in creating a more diverse and dynamic world that enhances the human experience.
To drive clarity around a single global vision for both internal and external stakeholders, Lenovo launched the ‘Smarter Technology for All’ brand campaign in September 2019.
Taking a strategic approach, the campaign was divided into two themes:
Technology Leadership: Build the reputation of Lenovo as a leader in intelligent transformation
Governance and Citizenship: Build the reputation of Lenovo as an open and transparent brand positively impacting society
Reputation Metrics: After two consecutive quarters, ambassadors across 6 business outcomes rose +2 percentage points each
Earned Media Recognition: Named one of the best business laptops by NYT in Oct 2020; and consistent positive media mentions in The Verge, TIME, Reuters, CNET for one year following campaign
Market Impact: Share price increase >50% from the start of the campaign in September 2019 to January 2021
‘Smarter Technology for All’ is about driving real and meaningful impact through technology. It is the north star that guides our innovation and creativity.
We believe ‘smarter’ is a better way to describe the opportunity and power that technology has – it guides everything we do, the way we do it, and what it delivers.
Vice President Worldwide Brand
How Lenovo Did It
Using RepTrak’s model, Lenovo defined the brand vision for ‘Smarter Technology for All’ by:
A. Identifying which reputation Drivers most positively impact Lenovo’s global reputation – these are:
B. Delineating the company’s strengths and weaknesses in these areas, which showed weakness in key qualities they needed to highlight:
Strong in Products and Services, specifically High-quality
Weaker in Innovation, with the lowest area being First to market
Citizenship was the lowest scoring Driver
C. Creating a narrative based on these themes that would resonate globally, with an emphasis on two very different markets:
For China, given the competitive innovation culture, Leadership was a critical factor in this market. The pillar ‘Technology Leadership’ spoke directly to Lenovo’s Chinese roots.
In the U.S., purpose was a critical lever to highlight. Connecting Lenovo’s products back to positive influence on society helped Lenovo meet expectations in the U.S. tech industry.
D. Streamlining measurement of Lenovo’s global comms team under 1 metric:
RepTrak’s Reputation Score
E. Moving the needle on RepTrak KPIs:
Global Reputation Score +1 point
Global awareness +5%
Rational perception of Innovation, Citizenship, and Governance Drivers +3 points each
There is no ‘one size fits all’ to managing a global reputation
Global companies must navigate social and political challenges that impact key markets they operate in
Communication with a worldwide theme, yet tailored to specific market demands, will be most effective
A single consistent story needs to be told globally alongside additional messaging that adds relevancy to particular markets
Identifying values and initiatives that resonate across markets will mitigate the risk of polarization and help stakeholders connect more meaningfully on a single message
For Lenovo, ‘Smarter Technology for All’ encompasses Products, Innovation, and ESG so the narrative can shift depending on the market and the content is always relevant
Companies should select topics that they can stand behind and speak to in every market