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MarketingProfs Case Study: Lenovo's Social-Media Marketing At Olympics

If you’re not already a subscriber to MarketingProfs, they’re offering a free trial. This week they added a marketing case study on Lenovo at the Olympics:

“CASE STUDY: Last month in Beijing, Lenovo leveraged its Olympic sponsorship to develop global brand awareness. Unique to its approach was its use of new media, which fortified its traditional marketing and created a new level of athlete and fan interaction.”

Here’s more on the Facebook app that was part of the sponsorship.

Lenovo's Olympics App for Facebook Beating Goals

According to Lenovo VP David Churbuck, the Olympics app for Facebook is exceeding expectations:

“Well, we’re just a month into the program and I can attest that it is working as planned. Big credit due to our partners at Intel -– Megan McDonagh and David Meffe really pushed the program and helped us figure out how to design and pay for it. Intel CMO (and fellow sculler) Sean Maloney’s drive to transform PC marketing through innovative digital tactics is transforming PC marketing and the promotional plan for the Lenovo Olympic Blogger program has benefited from Intel’s insights. I won’t divulge numbers, but we’re more than 50% of the way to our target and the Games haven’t even started yet.”

Lenovo Finds Social-Network Marketing Sweet Spot

AdWeek profiles several brands that are using Facebook as a platform to amplify more traditional sponsorships, including Lenovo’s work in Facebook to extend and reinforce its official sponsorship of the Summer Olympics.

“Lenovo has created 100 athletes’ blogs in an attempt to align itself with some less mainstream sports, such as field hockey and modern pentathlon. It gave the athletes laptops and video cameras to chronicle their preparation for the games.

“‘We wanted to do something that shows our tech prowess, not something that uses the Web as billboard,’ said David Churbuck, vp of global Web marketing at Lenovo….

“The blogging program is complemented with a Facebook effort that lets users virtually identify themselves with their country’s teams. Federated Media and Citizen Sports created country applications users can add to their profiles. So far, more than 100,000 have been downloaded….”

At one extreme, brands are building Facebook apps about themselves and their products, which deliver deep and relevant customer engagement — but the number of customers engaged might have only 4 digits or fewer. At the other extreme, brands are spraying banners across social networks to reach millions of consumers, though impact — let alone engagement — is suspect. In the middle is a sweet spot: Marketers collaborating with leading apps providers (in this case, Citizen Sports) to bring their brands to customers already engaged in a relevant conversations. Lenovo’s off to a nice start, with 100,000 customers so far primed to enjoy the Olympics through a Lenovo-powered feed in Facebook.

Lenovo’s Medal Race in Facebook

“[The] intangibles [such as positive buzz] were the lure of the Lenovo athlete-blogging program, said Churbuck.

“‘The old model of blunt impressions, the billboard model, is not going to do it for me,’ he said. ‘I’m far more interested in how many comments we drove, the traffic to athletes’ blogs, downloads of the applications. Those are more tangible expressions of engagement with the brand than clicks.’”

It’s worth pointing out that Churbuck isn’t easily swayed by the latest fad in online marketing, either. Back in March, he blogged about a panel of social-media marketing folks, including my boss and FM’s founder, John Battelle. Here’s what he had to say just four months ago:

“Battelle recounted a Dell campaign run in Facebook — seemed semi-interesting, but not earth shattering. Bell called out the move from 101 SMM to 201 and AP level discourse on the finer points. Indeed, moderator Polly LaBarre basically told the crowd of mostly clients that if they haven’t gotten the ‘transparent, authentic, marketing-is-a-conversation memo’ then they were essentially under a rock. Bell is working with me on a very cool Olympic play I’ll disclose next week. I don’t feel compelled to rush into Facebook anytime soon, and as for Federated — we shall see.”

(Congrats to Mike Kerns and his crew at Citizen Sports; the Lenovo team at Ogilvy and Neo; Megan McDonagh and the Intel Inside folks; James Gross, Jason Ratner, Pete Spande and their team here at FM for building a concept compelling enough to win over Mr. Churbuck.)

Lenovo's Olympics App for Facebook, Hi5

Lenovo Olympics App

Lenovo has launched an app in Facebook and Hi5 that allows Olympics fans to root for their teams and follow their favorite athletes through blog posts from Beijing. In the words of my colleague James Gross:

“What an awesome way to showcase that advertising can equal media and all participants can benefit. Lenovo, led by David Churbuck, was visionary to create a strategy with Olympic Athletes and online platforms for long term attention share around the Olympic Games. From aggregating Olympic bloggers, to the application that Citizen Sports built for social networks like Facebook and Hi5, to communication platforms like Twitter. Lenovo has recognized that they can differentiate themselves through allowing people to use their brand to create and distribute media.”

Here’s Pete Spande’s write up.

Lenovo's Churbuck: Banner Ads Improve Search Performance

From David Churbuck’s blog. Churbuck is VP Global Web Marketing for Lenovo.

“Ugh. Can you tell I don’t like banners?

“Okay, but my mind changed last summer when Milner came out of a metrics review with the weird correlation that when we ran banner ads our search campaigns performed better and when we didn’t run banners our search yields declined. Hmm. Then our agency told us the same thing — run banners with search and both get an uplift. Okay. Lesson learned — reserve some component of every campaign to run in parallel with search. Not exactly rocket science, nor cause to proclaim the renaissance of display ads. But …

“Search is pretty saturated. Get into a bid war over a non-brand term like ‘digital camera’ and the cost per click gets ugly fast. It’s also dangerous to get into a ‘search death spiral’ where you see search outperform other tactics so you starve them and allocate more to search but meanwhile that elusive thing called ‘Awareness’ declines and the pipeline dries up.”