A known name in consumer technology, Lenovo is making waves in India with its products. Originally from China, Lenovo started franchising in 2005 and has presence in 600 cities with 1200 franchise units. Ashok Nair, Director, Home and Small Business (HSB), Lenovo India spoke to us about his plans for Lenovo in India and word on franchising.
What inspired you to opt for the franchise route and why do you think it is apt for your brand?
From its inception, Lenovo has been a channel driven company. Its longstanding partnerships with the franchise community have been mutually beneficial and it has brought significant growth to the company’s business. Through its franchise ecosystem, Lenovo has been able to establish itself as a strong retail brand. It has also helped the company to launch new format of ‘Smart Connected Devices’ store and drive innovation in retail in the PC + era. Lenovo firmly believes that strengthening the franchise relationship will help tap into local tier I and III markets.
Tell us about the franchise opportunities offered by Lenovo.
As Lenovo is planning to expand the number of ‘Smart Connected Devices’ there are plenty of franchise opportunities that are available. Since most of the products are aimed at young digital millennials, young entrepreneurs who have experience in organised retail can become a part of the Lenovo Franchise. The franchisee should be able to run IT and PC+ operations at their end. Lenovo will invest in a store located in an area that is easily accessible.
How has Lenovo used social media platform to excel fast?
Lenovo has used social media platforms very innovatively to break clutter, with a strong focus on original content as well as co-creation of content with SM influencers. In fact Lenovo has been one of the first in the category to leverage platforms beyond Facebook, such as OutBrain and SnapChat, a trend for the others to follow. Lenovo undertook during the FIFA World Cup, when Football was the flavour of the season all over the world and most major brands were trying to drive conversations around Brazil. But Lenovo chose to tread a different path and instead gave fire power to YUWA. Brand Lenovo’s facebook and YouTube channels were the only destination where Indian football fans followed the girls’ performance in the USA cup, on and off the field. Lenovo gave the activity an ingenious spin by creating a series of 12 ‘webisodes’ to capture the team’s moments during the tour and amplify them on social media. The activity not only delivered a lift in brand salience, but also improved positioning on relevant brand attributes.
What kind of partners do you seek & what training you will offer them?
The company looks for franchisees who are committed to both the business and brand and have prior experience in the consumer electronics space. Lenovo follows a regular calendar and imparts training in sales, floor sales and soft skills to franchisees. A clear product cycle roadmap helps franchisees plan their inventory better. Hence, the company invests in professional training agencies to provide sustained training on a quarterly basis in order to train them to manage POS and POP materials more efficiently. Lenovo also has a dynamic tele-sales team to help address partner queries and provides robust support for selling material such as brochures, leaflets, etc.