Lenovo is a multinational technology company that designs, develops and manufactures electronics ranging from smartphones, laptops and electronic storage servers. Being founded in a two bedroom guardhouse in Beijing ’84, It is now one of the world’s leading PC vendors and has a strong domain in smartphones as well
Proudly displayed on their Facebook page, Lenovo says:
“We power ideas that help shape the future. If you have a vision, we have the passion to bring it to life. For us, Innovation Never Stands Still.”
In the year 2016, they did just that. Lenovo decided to take on a campaign to help a young woman’s football team determined to break out of the stereotypes in their village in Hutup, Jharkhand. Towards the end of the campaign, that simple football team earned almost 5Mn views on Facebook with the help of Lenovo’s use of real time marketing.
About the Agency
Winner of 3 Creative ABBYs 2015, IAMAI Gold 2016, 3 Lighthouse Insights Digital Awards 2016 and DEF’s SM4E Awards 2016 for Special Recognition in Women’s Empowerment.
Experience Commerce is a digital marketing agency set up in Mumbai, India. The agency has a unique ‘wired’ approach to apply digital marketing practices for various brands. Using their proprietary ION(Intelligent Objects Network) technology, the agency connects dispersed based websites, mobile apps and things on the internet to harvest 1st party consumer data using their Deep Listening technology.
Lenovo’s Brand Image Problem
Lenovo has always been one of the go-to brands for electronics devices in India. However, what the brand always struggled with was the what the brand stood for at the end of the day. Most electronic brands at the time had a strong theme with a backing up campaign to support it. Lenovo’s brand belief titled ‘FailForward’ ie taking failures and obstacles as part of the journey, had no real backing.
To overcome this problem of brand image, Lenovo decided to tie up with YUWA:
A 501c3 California NGO whose mission was to promote a youth-driven approach to community advancement in rural India.
Based out of Jharkhand, YUWA focuses on empowering young tribal girls with football. Their prime area of concern being Hutup, a rural region in Jharkhand infamous for child trafficking and child marriage.
In 2016, The YUWA team was invited to partake in the Donosti Cup. The world’s largest youth soccer tournament. Lenovo saw this as a perfect opportunity to showcase one of its core brand belief to the world by backing these girls and simultaneously provide some clarity to consumers about what they stand for in their minds.
Lenovo’s Campaign Objectives
- Lenovo decided to create an online campaign that revolved around the team’s 2 week journey and achieve maximum online presence and engagement for it
- Through the engagement, Lenovo wanted to raise awareness about the YUWA girls cause, as well as invite people to sponsor building a school for these girls in their hometown
Lenovo decided that for being able to tie their brand title ‘Fail Forward’ to the campaign and get maximum engagement with consumers, real-time marketing via social media was the best path to take .
Real Time Marketing or Live Marketing
Real Time Marketing (RTM) is the process of marketing at the right place, to the right audience and most importantly RIGHT time ie Its publicized live that starts and stops when the campaign begins and ends respectively. Good RTM campaigns are mostly unscripted and involves active audience participation.
Lenovo’s Initial Execution Error
Lenovo decided to take a risk revolving the entire campaign on a story telling approach.However, in order to promote the “Live-ness” of the campaign, they had to ensure everything was unscripted to promote authenticity.
Lenovo initially decided to focus more on the background story of the girls, their plight and struggles initially. They expected the audience to be captivated with just the struggles of the YUWA girls and come running to them. Now from a goodwill standpoint it’s a good approach, however to increase online engagement and improve brand awareness it was not the right approach, as they expected the audience to be self motivated and come to them and not vice versa.
Remember never to assume or expect your audience to come running to your brand, no matter how heart warming or eye opening the creative might be. People like being spoonfed and sometimes you have to go a step out of your way to reel them in.
As a result the initial execution ended up with minimal audience interaction. Lenovo decided then that the best way to get maximum engagement was to make the audience experience and be a part of the football games along side with the YUWA girls.
New Creative Strategy
The creative challenge was to have the audience follow the girl’s journey while keeping the underlying brand title always visible while the entire campaign was live and unscripted.
#FailFoward worked perfectly for this. Lenovo focused on the message that whether the girls won or lost, they were still going ahead.
Ranbir Kapoor, Bollywood actor, co-owner of premier football club Mumbai FC and brand ambassador of Lenovo played a huge role in this. While the entire campaign was filmed, he played the role of a storyteller who followed the girls journey through their high’s and low’s with their matches.
Key marketing decisions taken
- Lenovo decided to break the entire journey into the form of episodes. Initially leaking a teaser of Ranbir Kapoor, to his fan clubs to pique interest and grab audience attention.
- When a significant reach was hit, the first episode was released through Lenovo’s social channels and fan clubs. The release gained a massive amount of engagement as the audience connected well with the story. Since the girls were representing India and were coming from a simple lifestyle, an entire patriotic audience segment emerged holding the girls as the India’s unsung heroes.
- After the success of the first episode, Lenovo decided to focus on their objective of building a school for in the girls hometown. They launched a social UGC(User Generated Content) campaign called ‘Kick For A Brick’.
Every time a ball was kicked on social media, tagging the campaign, Lenovo responded by adding a brick to the YUWA girl’s school. This led to massive amount of UGC ranging coming from students, mothers ,kids and even support from educational institutions
- Once the girls landed in Spain, they were filmed during their practice sessions to capture their individuality, hopes and fears. This added to the entire unscripted nature of the campaign and helped the audience connect deeply with the girls before the matches.
- As the tournament began, No one knew the outcome of the matches, the suspense had been carefully placed in the audience’s hearts. However Lenovo stuck strong to their #FailForward campaign ie Win or Loose, the YUWA girls will always be winners in the hears of everyone and the audience picked up on it as well
- To boost the authenticity of the campaign all the matches were broadcasted live on Facebook and twitter using their live video features respectively. The matches were even shown to the YUWA girl’s friends and family back home at Hutup.
- The Series aptly titled ‘Girls With Goals’ had their own website which housed all the UGC as well used as an initiative to educate people on the girls journey with daily updates. One could also contribute to the building of the YUWA girls through the website.
- By breaking into an Episode based format, Lenovo could successfully retain their followers by remarketing with teasers and upcoming episodes.
- The UGC with Kick For A Brick, had gone viral as it was the least amount of effort required to help a cause. People felt encouraged to spread the campaign themselves as it just required them to kick a football to aid building an entire school.
- For the objective of gaining maximum online presence
Combining all the episodes, Including the live matches streamed on Facebook and the in between footage, 10,000+ shares were received with more than 5Mn views and 800 genuine comments. The Live games gained an average 6000+unique viewers with each match.
- For the objective of receiving donation to build the YUWA girls school
The fundraising campaigns raised around 1.68 lakhs in 10 days itself. Urging the audience to contribute themselves on the website or by simply kicking a ball. Lenovo could ensure a steady supply of funds during the campaign.
Learning’s – Real Time Marketing
While a brand can host a live event or campaign on their website using multiple CRM tools. However, live social media marketing has been gaining a lot of popularity due to the larger audience reach and engagement as compared to marketing on the brand’s website. The audience can connect better with the brand, if the brand markets live on commonly used social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter rather than the brand expecting the consumers to come to them. Even better, if they can connect their brand with a trending topic at the right moment .
- Increases Brand Awareness and reach in a very short time
- Improves Customer retention
- New consumers feel positive about the brand and promote it themselves through user generated content
RTM, Where can a brand go wrong?
While RTM is gaining lot of popularity, it is absolutely important to remember that this strategy can either boost your brand image or completely shatter it overnight if not handled properly. Below are few guidelines to remember while using this strategy.
- NEVER use RTM to exploit a tragic situation or natural disaster
People are not stupid and can easily see through to the real agenda. Which will result in massive hate posts and will ultimately lead to the brand having to issue public apologies or even worst case be shut down just because they decide to opt out from being humane and chose a self promotion route to drive in more sales.
Take LensKart, an online eyewear store for example
In 2015, Nepal was hit with earthquakes causing loss of lives and property. There were talks all over social media and the news on this daily. LensKart decided to drive a bulk sms sales campaign using the tragedy.
As expected there was a public uproar. The public saw LensKart taking advantage of a natural disaster that costed many lives, just to drive in sales. This resulted in an apology bulk sms going out shortly after saying
“We apologies for the accidental choice of words in our SMS. Our intention was not to hurt anyone’s feelings. We are extremely sorry for this error, LensKart Team.”
This was displayed on their social media pages and both the co-founders had to issue apology messages on social media.
- Respond to all feedback even the negative ones
During an RTM campaign, actively responding to feedback and confronting negative one’s with solutions, builds massive amount of trust with the brand in the eyes of the public
- Impulsive Behavior to be replaced with a Paced Out approach
The whole purpose of RTM is engaging the audience at the RIGHT moment and not EVERY moment.New trends and topics will always emerge while old ones fade away. Situations may also suddenly change while using a trending topic; it’s smarter to pick one that you can efficiently and safely utilize while focusing on the key takeaways from the topic. Takeaways that have developed a fixed view point in the public’s mind and are most likely not to change during the entire course of the trend’s lifecycle.
- Leverage all possible resources well to gain maximum traction
Influencer Marketing works extremely well with RTM campaigns, using celebrities or social influencers can help your campaign get the required traction and engagement as well.