Q&A with Quinn O'Brien, VP Worldwide Brand, Lenovo

In a fast-changing world, growth means being ready and able to change directions at every turn. Are you rethinking structures and/or ways of working inside of your organization in order to grow in new directions?

To drive growth in this fast-changing world, we have organized our business around three clear waves. Our Wave 1 business is focused on maintaining leadership in the PC space. Our Wave 2 businesses are focused on turning our mobile and data center operations into growth engines. And our Wave 3 business is focused on connecting devices, infrastructure, and cloud computing to capture the opportunities brought about by new technologies. The Lenovo brand acts as a unifying platform across all three waves, binding them together and consistently showing our customers—from teenagers to Fortune 500 CEOs—how Lenovo is different and why we’re better.

In order to connect a constantly shifting world, we need to find new ways of creating empathy and engagement: How do you get inside the heads—and hearts—of your customers in order to keep pace and grow with them?

Our brand targets those people in the world who dare to be different. And whether we’re reaching them at work where they’re radically rethinking their approach to IT or at home where they’re looking for a new phone or PC, we want to celebrate the way they approach the world— by consistently demonstrating to the world that “different is better.” Our goal is to connect with our audience both rationally and emotionally. From a rational perspective, we do this by creating the most differentiated products and solutions on the market. And from an emotional perspective, we do this by showing our audience that we’re kindred spirits, inspired by an eternal search for things in life that inspire the different in all of us.

How are you leveraging emergent or disruptive technologies to strengthen and grow your brand?

Since Lenovo was founded more than 30 years ago, our success has been built on our consistent ability to deliver highly disruptive products and solutions across a range of categories, audiences, and markets. Today, we deliver this disruption in our core PC business through Yoga, Legion, and ThinkPad. We do this in mobile with our highly differentiated line of Motorola smartphones. And we do this in the data center with a world-class lineup of ThinkAgile and ThinkSystem solutions. Each of these products and solutions is designed to stand out from the competition, and serves as an innovative and disruptive proof point for the Lenovo brand, consistently showing the world why “Different is Better.”

How has your brand been central to navigating some of the biggest challenges that your organization has faced this year?

In the same way that we talk to our customers about daring to be different, we also encourage our employees to follow the same approach. Over the next 12 months, we will be ramping up our efforts to drive the “Different is Better” philosophy further into the day-to-day lives of all 60,000-plus Lenovo employees. This will not only help to unite the employee base under a common belief system, but will also continue to foster the challenger mentality that has made Lenovo successful over the past three decades.

What shifts within your region or sector are you anticipating, and how are you proactively preparing for these changes?

As a brand that has helped shape information technology, we realize we are now facing the start of the next revolution—one that will transform how we work and live in ways that, today, no one can imagine. This revolution is driven by three forces—big data, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence—and it will fundamentally change the meaning of IT from “information technology” to “intelligent transformation.”

We see the genesis of this intelligent transformation today. Smart assistants help you place orders online with a voice command. Driverless cars run on the same roads as traditional cars. Chatbots help troubleshoot customers’ problems. And virtual doctors diagnose basic symptoms. The list goes on and on.

Like every revolution before it, intelligent transformation will fundamentally change the nature of business and customer relationships. Understanding and preparing for this is mission critical to Lenovo’s success.