Lenovo is on a journey to becoming known as a global powerhouse in full circle IT solutions. From their beginnings as a hardware business, best known for their ThinkPad brand of business laptops, some customers and entire markets are unaware of the transformation the business has undergone in recent years.

In particular, Lenovo’s data centre offering has lagged behind in market penetration, being shaded by their largest competitors in many markets. In fact, with Lenovo’s acquisition of IBM’s server division in 2016, they became the third largest server provider in the world.

When the APJ marketing team needed support with a digital campaign to raise awareness in Japan – a heavily competitor dominated market – they came to The Walk to make an impact.

The challenge

The Japan market is one where Lenovo’s data centre group’s brand awareness was very low when compared to markets like the US, Europe and South East Asia. In a risk-averse and relatively conservative culture, change is tough to instigate.

Becoming more visible in this market, and building trust in the brand was the challenge Lenovo presented to The Walk. We had a relatively short time in market, and an important hard deadline – an independent brand study being conducted in the region which would deliver a figure on brand awareness for the region.

With only digital channels on the table, getting the message across to the right people and delivering multiple impressions was critical to building the required visibility of the brand, and understanding of the message. Lenovo is more than just ThinkPads, it’s the IT solutions provider behind some of the world’s most innovative technologies and data-driven projects that are solving some of humanity’s biggest challenges.

Drive brand awareness

Improve ROI

Outperform benchmarks

The journey

Lenovo’s global campaign focused on “The Data Centered”, the people and organisations who are using technology to make a difference – solving humanity’s greatest challenges. It was important that, while we also highlighted some global achievements, we put forward some local Japanese case studies and success stories.

Our creative strategy leveraged the global Data Centered campaign, which we customised for the Japanese market. We also developed new creative for local stories such as Osaka university, where Lenovo has built a big-data and high-performance infrastructure that’s accelerating the next wave of nuclear physics research.

The combination of the global and local stories delivered the impact of the global successes, plus the relatability of the local success, making it clear that Lenovo could not only deliver the best infrastructure in the world, but that it was possible in this market.

Set eyeballs to maximum

With awareness the primary focus, media saturation was required. We were responsible for researching the digital media landscape, understanding its best performing properties, ascertaining audience interests, and then recommending a media strategy and budget split for each channel in an integrated, omnichannel digital marketing campaign.

In Japan, traditional western media does not dominate. While Google HTML5 display, search and YouTube featured, Yahoo has a strong audience for search and display. Because our focus was on the tech and business sectors, TechTarget and ZDNet were added to the mix for display and content syndication respectively. Finally, Nikkei, a local media business and dominant power in the tech and business world was added to ensure we had complete coverage of the main digital channels.

Stories that change minds

Case studies provide excellent proof of results, perfect for winning the confidence of new customers. Lenovo’s recent successful virtual desktop infrastructure roll out for Japanese-based global powerhouse, Toyota was a great place to start. This was expanded with Barcelona’s smart city story and Osaka University.

These stories showed clearly how Lenovo has supported large projects with innovative and complete IT solutions. The capabilities highlighted included cloud computing, edge computing, analytics, and AI.

Ads in a variety of formats and sizes were deployed across multiple digital channels including Google search and display, YouTube, Yahoo search and display, Nikkei XTECH, TechTarget, and ZDNet. Assets were produced as static image ads, Gif ads, HTML5 display ads, Video ads, as well as a content syndication article. The highest performing format for each channel was prioritised.

  • Barcelona

  • Osaka

  • Toyota

With the campaigns in market, we vigilantly observed performance to optimise results in each channel. We firmly believe digital marketing should never be performed as a ‘set and forget’ model. By paying attention, comparing, observing, and testing  we ascertain the best performing channels and creative so we can prioritise budgets for the most successful combinations.

The results

Our detailed response and consistent attention gave us clear insights about the market. Together with our deep understanding of Lenovo’s storytelling and subsequent production of rich media creative, we successfully increased awareness and drove traffic tech and business-focused audiences.

Our collaborative approach, working not just with the Lenovo team in Japan and APJ marketing, but also with their incoming global media agency, set us apart as a partner able to focus on the client’s success more than our own.

A highly detailed campaign report was created, unpicking everything from targeting parameters to data and insights, meaning that the value of our work will last long after the campaign completion.

Let’s put it in numbers

The campaigns achieved 30% more impressions and 33% more engagement than projected – a great result for awareness.

When the results of the brand awareness study came in, it showed we delivered on the key KPI for brand awareness uplift in the region, taking awareness of the Lenovo brand to an all-time high.

Feedback from our senior marketing contact in APJ was this:

We offer a BIG thanks to The Walk in driving that goal for us. The digital campaign played an important role in this outcome. We’ve also seen super growth in other markets. Historically, it’s an all-time high level of brand awareness in Japan. Thank you for your contribution; we’d love to work with you guys again.

We love an ROI challenge

The Japan Data-Centred campaign was an exciting challenge. Our passion for solving business problems meant that we relished the opportunity to prove ourselves in an ambitious campaign that made a real impact for the brand.

At The Walk we combine strategic nous and creative talent so our clients get double ROI – a Return on Investment, and a Return on Imagination. Take The Walk’s ROI challenge. Give us an opportunity to show you how we’re able to take complex information and complex environments and develop successful campaigns that drive business growth no matter where you’re located around the world.

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