Getting Your Brand To Pass The BBQ Test

kettle barbecue grill on backyard

It doesn’t matter what industry you work in, we’ve all had the experience of being at a BBQ and having someone ask what we do. That question is obviously a little more fraught for brand custodians, like chief marketing officers.

Emma Mackenzie
Posted by Emma Mackenzie

If the response is a blank stare when dropping the brand name, clearly you’ve got some work to do.

“We have to pass the BBQ test,” said Nick Reynolds, Asia Pacific CMO for technology company Lenovo.

“Our job here in Australia is to pass that BBQ test around our products and the company. Our first job is to really lift that brand awareness and consideration.”

To promote its new Yoga tablet products, the brand is making a major push into the local consumer market. The tablet’s launch is part of a wider global campaign that features Hollywood actor and product engineer Ashton Kutcher.

While in Australia the brand has been focused on the commercial and B2B side of the market, the latest push aims to build awareness on the consumer side aided by partnering up with tech retail outlets JB Hifi and Harvey Norman.

“This launch was really not only the launch of the new Yoga products, it really was also the bigger launch of our consumer business in Australia and that’s why there was so much focus. We’re very eager to get into that part of the business in Australia,” said David Roman, global CMO of Lenovo.

In the competitive space technology brands play in, personality is also key.

Roman said: “As a consumer brand you really want to project an attitude into the market as much as anything and Lenovo has been so focused on the commercial side of the business that it tends to have much less of a personality in the marketplace. And so this launch gives us an opportunity to show our personality, our funk. Ashton was a great way to show that part of Lenovo as well.”

You couldn’t describe Lenovo’s ad featuring Kutcher milking a goat as being boring.

This ad was about getting attention, according to Roman. He said: “One of the things that we were looking at was getting some interest from people who were not really looking at a PC let along a convertible tablet.

And having a bit of fun.

“Technology has become one of those areas that people become very emotionally invested in their products and they like to have things they can talk about. On the marketing side we said, let’s do the same thing. Let’s have marketing that is interesting, that is fun but is also a bit polarising.”

One of the greatest challenges for Lenovo is standing out when the brand is up against the likes of Apple, Samsung and Toshiba. Having an innovative product helps which Lenovo believes it has. From a marketing standpoint, the focus is on what Roman calls technology ‘doers’.

“The advertising tagline for the past few years has been ‘for those who do’. We look at an audience, especially in the youth market who really want to use the products to do the things they value.

“In our communications we often focus on the things that people are doing with our technology than just the technology by itself.”

And Lenovo also has an eye on emerging tech such as wearables.

Roman said: “We’re very interested in the space. So far we’ve had limited announcement… but something will happen in the space, absolutely.”