At Lenovo’s recent FY14 announcement, the company made a rather startling discovery: the world’s leading PC maker sold more smartphones than PCs in 2014. That may not have been the trigger behind the huge rebranding exercise unveiled at Lenovo Tech World, but it certainly came at just the right time.
In the week leading up to Lenovo Tech World, it had already become an open secret that Lenovo would unveil its new logo at the event. It also introduced a new motto: “Never Stand Still” replacing the previous “For Those Who Do”. Maybe it was due for a change; after all, the previous Lenovo logo had been in place since 2004.
It was perhaps also the perfect time to conduct the rebranding exercise, what with the start of the company’s new financial year starting this month. The effects of the exercise would then be easier to track.
But throughout the keynotes and interview sessions, there was the impression that this is a company that is itching to move forward with its fresh, young direction. Its marketing officers used words such as “fun”, “hip” and even “millennial” to describe the new logo. As a brand that’s associated with boring old PCs and ThinkPads, it’s as if someone injected a dose of adrenaline into Lenovo.
Not to mention that this event was also big enough of a deal for three of the tech world’s most important people, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich and Baidu Chairman and CEO Robin Li, to present keynote speeches.
In truth, this rebranding has long been overdue. The declining sales of PCs is obviously worrying for the world’s top PC maker, but with its visionary CEO, Yang Yuanqing, the company has already ensured its fortunes isn’t tied to PCs anymore. This was clearly reflected in its FY14 numbers: 64% of its revenue came from PC sales compared to 82% from the previous year; that number is set to dwindle further. That’s not all, either: Lenovo tied for third place in the top smartphone manufacturers in Q1 2015, as well as for tablets. Clearly, it’s doing something right.
The company also took the opportunity to reiterate that it is more than just a hardware or products company. With the introduction of its concept devices that range from a smartphone with a built-in laser projector to a smart running shoe for the IoT age, Lenovo is striving to demonstrate it is capable of pushing innovation just as any leading technology brand could.
As part of the rebranding, Lenovo is also taking steps to move away from its former self and engage in its fans in more ways. The first, of course, is in increased exposure into digital marketing. Engaging its fans via social media, creating digital-first campaigns that are “edgy, young and hip” would be the biggest change in mindset for Lenovo.
Next is naturally with its products. Its Vibe Shot smartphone is one such example, going for a bold design approach that combines the look and hardware of a digital camera and melding it into a slim smartphone. Then, there are the genuinely innovative approaches within the unglamourous enterprise products, such as the ThinkCentre workstations with modular hardware designs.
Even more interesting is the fact that the company is seriously looking into quarterly refreshes for some of its products. Lenovo is still researching the viability of this model on a market-by-market basis and understanding what it needs, but don’t be surprised if you see a refreshed Lenovo smartphone model every three months.
Besides that, Lenovo has also identified its weakness in the e-commerce sector. Hence, it is placing greater efforts into offering e-commerce solutions into more markets, particularly in Asia Pacific, where online shopping is booming in certain markets. With more companies offering the option of purchasing a product online, Lenovo realises that this is an opportunity that it cannot ignore. Depending on the market, Lenovo may provide its own e-commerce offering or partner up with an established e-tailer for certain products, such as what we saw with Lazada and the A7000.
So what does this all mean for consumers? In a nutshell, it’s simple: expect more from Lenovo from this point onwards. It has set hugely ambitious targets within each market (both geographically and with its product segments) and the people in charge are confident in achieving them, none more so than its long-serving CEO more affectionately known as YY:
— Lenovo (@Lenovo) May 28, 2015