Erasing the Line Between Content Creation and Engagement

By Maureen Ahmad, ‎Director of Brand Strategy and Content, Lenovo

9/19/16

When does audience engagement begin? Hint: it should be well before the content goes live. With crowdsourcing and co-creation, audience engagement begins before the content is even a reality—this new approach to marketing gives fans and consumers the opportunity to work alongside a brand to actually create content, rather than simply exposing them to the finished product. By assuming an active role in content creation, fans create a personal connection to the brand.

Why Lenovo Flipped the Switch to Crowdsourcing

When fans assume an active role in shaping a brand they care about, their investment in the brand grows. We found this leads to them not only becoming customers, but also invested brand influencers who give marketers fresh new ideas that resonate well with Lenovo’s audience. Crowdsourcing and co-creation work particularly well with the younger generation – fans who want to engage in a dialogue, contribute their ideas and have their voices heard.

Any project brief on a crowdsource platform like Tongal can get hundreds of responses, and in order to respond participants need to learn about a brand and product. Through this, they meet the brand in a rich and personal way before marketers even release the first piece of content.

Take a Relationship-First Approach to Influencers

This past year I worked with Ivan, a young YouTuber popular in Russia. Ivan’s excitement about the content he created for Lenovo permeated the entire experience. Not only is his video an excellent piece of content, but his enthusiasm throughout the process made the campaign a success. He engaged his fans with calls to action, and they responded in record numbers, helping boost traffic to the campaign site by 9%.

Ivan’s partnership with Lenovo demonstrates why brands work with influencers. Brands value the close, authentic relationships these influencers have with their followers, and the influencer’s whole creative process becomes an opportunity to generate interest in and spark conversation about the project.

A Bonus: Creating Content Transforms into Experiential Marketing

Something magical happens when creating content becomes the experiential marketing process itself. Fans engaging with the brand provide new insights and perspectives, challenging traditional marketers to see their products and messaging a different way. My team at Lenovo finds that when the process is successful, the new ideas and talent can inspire meaningful change in how a brand goes to market.

At Lenovo, we have a saying that is applicable across all facets of our business, but particularly resonates with our approach to brand and marketing—“I am Lenovo”. This mantra reflects what our brand has become; we are all Lenovo because our fans have helped create us. Sharing the marketing process gives us another way to involve fans and consumers in our brand, beyond the products that we make—this meaningful and genuine involvement allows people to bring their unique points of view to what we say in the market and how we say it.

Maureen Ahmad ‎Director of Brand Strategy and Content, Lenovo—@maureenahmad