Arun Sudhaman 22 Jul 2018 // 7:51PM GMT
BEIJING — Lenovo is reviewing PR agency support in three key Asian markets — China, India and Singapore — as the Chinese tech giant attempts to revive its reputation amid a change in marketing leadership.
The company previously worked with global AOR Text100 in India and Singapore — but parted ways with the agency last year when it awarded North American product and corporate duties to Zeno.
In China, meanwhile, Lenovo counts a longstanding relationship with BlueFocus, which will retain product PR duties. The new search sees Lenovo seek a global agency with strong China capabilities to provide corporate reputation, thought leadership, and crisis management.
Zeno, which does not have operations in China, is not involved in this review. The Zeno assignment also involved a global HQ element; however, Lenovo has opted to look outside the relationship while seeking new agency support in Asia-Pacific and, indeed, across the 160 countries that form its global footprint.
WE Communications, for example, has been brought onboard to handle regional Asia-Pacific duties, along with the local Hong Kong mandate. The reviews for China, India and Singapore — meanwhile — are all separate processes.
Referring specifically to the China review, Lenovo chief communications officer Torod Neptune told the Holmes Report via email: “As a global company in a fast-paced industry we conduct ongoing evaluations of our key agency partners to ensure they align with our needs for having access to best-in-breed creative and integrated communications partners.
"As part of this practice, we are currently reviewing our needs in China to ensure we can drive the Lenovo corporate reputation and a dynamic thought leadership program that reinforces our ‘One Lenovo’ brand story and global positioning. The current plan is for this brief to sit outside the current agency partners we have in China who continue to support us across our product work and for select campaigns."
The reviews come after Lenovo named company veteran Gina Qiao as global CMO earlier this year, stepping into a role vacated by the retirement of David Roman. There have also been changes to Lenovo’s Asia-Pacific marketing team, with Bhaskar Choudhuri promoted to regional CMO. He succeeded Nick Reynolds, who has been named global head of marketing for digital, web & social media.
Lenovo has seen its core PC business suffer from a shrinking market, while its smartphone unit struggles against tough competition. The company was removed from the Hang Seng Index last month and also faced a public backlash when it emerged it had voted for 5G standards led by US firm Qualcomm, rather than an available alternative from Chinese player Huawei.