Lenovo marketing push aims to build brand in US

PURCHASE, NY: A little less than a year after acquiring IBM's PC business, Chinese technology company Lenovo Group is finally starting to build its brand in the US.

PURCHASE, NY: A little less than a year after acquiring IBM's PC business, Chinese technology company Lenovo Group is finally starting to build its brand in the US.

Well-known in Asia, but largely an unknown entity in the Western world, Lenovo was thrust into the US tech market with its acquisition of IBM's PC business, including its ThinkPad laptops, in spring 2005. Since then, the company has kept its head down focusing on customers.

Now Lenovo is shifting its focus to brand building in the US, leveraging a new marketing campaign that includes advertising, and a partnership with American Airlines that will upgrade all the technology in its Admirals Clubs with Lenovo products. The company also had a heavy presence at the Winter Olympics.

The marketing push will position Lenovo as an innovator at a time when many companies have turned PCs into commodities.

"Where other companies just assemble products from industry standards, we want to be seen for meaningful innovation," said Craig Merrigan, VP of marketing strategy and design.

The company plans to unveil a new series of desktop and laptop PCs for small businesses, according to CNET News. The launch will mark the first Lenovo-branded products inside the US.

PR is playing a key role in helping customers see that innovation, noted Merrigan, who credited PR with helping the acquisition go smoothly. And he said the company continues to take advantage of the media's "willing ear." Lenovo's acquisition of IBM's PC division has generated ongoing media interest in Lenovo's story, interest that would have been very difficult to generate had the company tried to establish a US presence on its own, admitted Merrigan. Last year, Lenovo selected Text 100 as its global lead PR agency.

"We have a business story and an entrepreneurial story to tell, and the media is very willing to listen to that story," said Merrigan. "So we're leveraging PR at every turn, whether it's when we come out with new ThinkPads or our presence at the Olympics."

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