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May 2007



thats really cool to see the theory really applied. i hope it pays off. i remember reading in 22 immutable laws the suggestion for burger king to differentiate from mcdonalds by a campaign focusing on something like "grow up to the taste of blahblahwhatever." BK ignored the advice, but Hardee's in st louis ran ads doing exactly that, and suddenly their revenues started going up like 10% per year. my marketing professor even mentioned how impressed he was with the ads in class when they started running. one was just classic. they had 3 pregnant women chowing down on thickburgers. the line was "enjoy it, cause for the next 12 years you're gonna be eating at mcdonalds."


Laura has seen the Asian Disease in action ("Cheaper, Quicker, Better) and understands the cure: Focused marketing (that builds world-class brands).

My work with Asian startups tells me the infants understand, it is the adults who are just beginning to painfully learn (e.g. Read the WSJ's editorial of May 30, 2007, "Yes Logo").

Keep pouring it on, Laura, you'll help fuel the right fire!

NW Guy


You have great timing, and obviously amazing pull with your clients. I wander by occasionally and today saw your post; clicking on another site I saw the response - http://crunchgear.com/2007/05/31/lenovos-latest-laptops-promise-battery-life-to-the-extremesorta-kinda/#more-7730

We'll have to see how it plays out. Given your dislike for the feature rich/focus shy iPhone; do you have any insights into what you told Lenovo in regards to portability beyond a laptop?


But will customers accept the Lenovo brand regardless of its country of origin (COO)?Taiwanese firms are stuggling with their own-brand, forward-integration efforts -- with many failing (e.g. BenQ). I don't know about you, but when I shop for high-involvement products, I want to know where the brand comes from. And I also want to know how Lenovo will stack up post sale. Non-Chinese firms should just take Lenovo's aspirations as a cue to ratchet up their own efforts.


Though I think you make some great points about Lenovo, I respectfully disagree with some of your thoughts on Thinkpad.

The ThinkPad brand in my eyes (though I am biased since I started out in IT) already stands for something. Thinkpads are well-built, strong corporate laptops that won't win awards on looks but that will stand being lugged around from home to work to clients and back on a daily basis. They're not quite unbreakable, they're not pretty, they're certainly not cheap - but they get the job done. They're the 'Company machine', for lack of a catchier concept.

I think that the 'all day charge' concept is not incompatible with this existing image, but I don't see it as the USP that would make the great difference for the Thinkpad user. All the people I know with a Thinkpad put it in a docking station at work, some of them even have a docking station at home - making batterylife moot when not seeing clients.

As such I'd think that the one day charge concept could be better put to use under a new line extension, focusing on that strength, without the Thinkpad image clinging to it.

yasser brohi

Fantastic post as usual.
I think they could even turn it up a notch from there. The name 'ThinkPad' also implies 'intelligent'. For transparent differentiation under the same slogan, value can be built in by better, intelligent design.
Illuminated keys, power adjustment based on processor 'sensing', biometric scanning as a standard, a wi-fi/bluetooth sensor which automatically senses all communication enabled vessels in a 'personal area network'. Additionally, the notebooks need to be visually discernable in a crowd which comprises of rectangular, black laptops.

China needs to change the 'cheap' association. Efficient is an easily attainable position. Intelligent isn't too far fetched either.

greg gillispie

Laura: Great ideas. Now, do you have an all-day-long battery I could put in my Dell???

Neil Bull (Australia)

Outstanding thoughts as usual!!

Re slogan... could you drop the word "notebook" as it is the same word as "Thinkpad"? Maybe Thinkpad: All-day freedom;
or something similar?

Charlie Sipe

Thinkpad is a much better name, especially for a notebook. On the other hand, Dell and HP have terrible names and they are the leaders.


I have to say I always love your insight and would hire you in a heartbeat.

Morriss Partee

Hi Laura! Great thoughts! I just wanted to say that to me, BMW means "performance driving", not just driving, which is what all automobiles do.

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