Sarah O’Grady at Lenovo on how they positioned their brand to engage in Pride Month

Sarah O'Grady is the Head of Worldwide Social Strategy at Lenovo.

Her team's job is to build a culturally relevant and vibrant brand, and bring that vibrancy to life in social. Sarah's role is to strategize content and storytelling opportunities that tell the Lenovo story in as different and engaging of a way as possible.

One of the biggest struggles Sarah and her team faces is that, “despite Lenovo's huge success and size globally in the PC and PC+ space, our brand awareness and affinity is low in comparison, which creates both a challenge and an opportunity.”

We made the case that it was important for our brand to make this a larger part of our overall brand story and culture.

Lenovo is a household name in many regions of the world — China and India, for example. But here in the U.S., consumers aren't as familiar with Lenovo's story — and Sarah's team's goal is to spread that narrative across those key markets in a relevant, timely way.

To help better tell that story, Sarah and her team saw an opportunity in an unlikely spot — their internal policies. Lenovo has been historically progressive on diversity and inclusion. “But until recently, we didn't go out of our way to publicize it on social channels because culturally — as a historically Chinese organization — it just wasn't done,” says Sarah. By no means were they secrets, but the policies were simply less consumer facing.

Last year, Sarah worked closely with Lenovo's Diversity and Inclusion Officer to highlight their progressive policies through social media during Pride Month.

“We wanted to make a public statement about something we believed in. The result was a very successful video piece on Pride and how we are ‘better together,'” said Sarah.

So how did she manage the process?

“I worked with key stakeholders in the company — including the Diversity and Inclusion Team, our Director of Global Public Relations, Communications, and our Director of Global Brand,” says Sarah. “We made the case that it was important for our brand to make this a larger part of our overall brand story and culture,” says Sarah.

Ultimately, it came down to the creative delivery of the messaging that sold it. “I worked with our agency to craft a very poignant — and as non-pandering as possible — piece of creative that would be our entrance into the conversation,” says Sarah. The piece was well received internally and helped ease people's concerns about backlash — especially within the context of the current political climate.

Sarah and her team have since produced a follow-up piece that has been equally well received.

Now she says they're thinking through the evolution of this story for Lenovo in social media.

Sarah's advice to other organizations about taking risks on social: “It's OK to fail… not every idea we have will propel us to brand fame, but doing things that sometimes make us uncomfortable is critical if you want to move the needle. So go fail, and fail well.”

Sarah has been a member of since 2015. Connect with her on LinkedIn here.