When a company grows primarily through acquisitions, it can wind up with a suite of strong individual brands but a vague master brand. Lenovo is now the No. 1 PC company in the world, with a presence in 160 countries—a position achieved largely by acquiring such high-profile products as ThinkPad (from IBM) and Motorola (from Google), according to Quinn O’Brien, vice president, worldwide brand.
“Product brand has always been at the heart of what people care about here,” O’Brien said. “The new push that we’re doing is around the company brand.”
That’s not easy because Lenovo competes in arenas with established company brands—Samsung and Apple in smartphones, and Dell and IBM in servers, for example. “Making Lenovo meaningful across our full range of products and full range of customers is really challenging. That’s where I spend all my time,” O’Brien said.
Because Lenovo has so many different kinds of customers, from teenagers with smartphones to IT professionals, the company looked internally to find a unifying principle. “When we looked at our best products, they were all very different from anything else out there,” O’Brien said.
That led to a principle, “different is better,” which informs the master brand effort. To achieve consistency across so many countries, the effort focuses on “a tone, an attitude, a personality,” O’Brien said. And that lets the result in each location reflect the local needs and culture—“expressed in ways you never thought would happen.”
Highlights from this week’s Marketing Superstars podcast include:
- Creating a product brand from scratch vs. leveraging an existing brand (4:57)
- Building a master brand that matches the quality of multiple product brands (6:15)
- How a company with a suite of product brands decides it needs to work on the overall company brand (9:16)
- The differences and similarities between consumer and B2B space when it comes to emotion in marketing (10:40)
- How to leverage the soul of the company to create a single brand image (14:42)
- Achieving brand consistency through personality rather than just looks (19:35)