The COVID-19 pandemic changed our relationship to work – both how we work and where we work. And while many people look forward to a post-pandemic world where things “return to normal,” the flexibility of working remotely some or all of the time experienced – and enjoyed – by workers has, in fact, become the “new normal,” especially for the Gen Z and Millennial populations. In fact, according to the annual Axios Harris 100 poll, 84% of Millennials and 66% of Gen Z want a remote work option.
However, while technology enables remote and hybrid work, these generations were not associating the positive aspects of this work transformation with Lenovo and how the brand’s technology allows remote and hybrid work opportunities to flourish.
Lenovo sought to change this narrative by engaging these audiences with a compelling idea that would highlight its essential role in this workplace transformation and introduce these audiences to its products. Our challenge was to highlight Lenovo’s role as a technology and hybrid work facilitator in the work-from-anywhere movement, as well as help it connect the generations of young people who are leading the shift in societal work culture.
Reflecting our research, Lenovo's “Smarter Technology for All” vision, and the genuine needs of the permanent residents of Robinson Crusoe Island, our strategy was to invite people from around the world whose passion, skills and personal circumstances would make them a perfect fit for this initiative. There they would work using Lenovo technology to create a permanent legacy for themselves and the brand by contributing to the lives of the island’s 900 residents and the preservation of the fragile environmental ecosystem they call home, which surpasses the Galapagos in species richness.
With the mayor and IC on board, we identified which skills volunteers would need to make the campaign come alive and conducted a global search for uniquely skilled global volunteers to work their day jobs remotely while supporting the community and environment during down time. We launched the campaign across organic, paid and earned media, attracting 4,500+ applicants, with 16 volunteers from nine countries chosen to be a part of this life- and island-changing experience. Participants included marine biologists, sustainability analysts, teachers, photographers and digital influencers – all possessing the critical skillsets and platforms needed to make Robinson Crusoe a sustainable and connected part of the Juan Fernández Islands archipelago and the world beyond.
Every aspect of basing a campaign on a tiny dot of an island thousands of miles away from the U.S. and hundreds of miles from the nearest shoreline created challenges that required Zeno Group to rethink everything it knew. The physical core of WFH would be a cutting-edge technology hub built by Lenovo in only four weeks to house its latest PCs, tablets, VR headsets, e-learning software and an AI server. The challenge? Getting it all to RCI. With weather delays, health restrictions and only one runway available, we strategized long-distance with local and Chilean partners to arrange multiple eco-friendly charter flights – as well as ensured that once there, the equipment would function at its best by collaborating with Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite system to make the island’s internet connection 200 times faster.
With two Zeno staffers on the island coordinating myriad activities with our teams back home, we brought the project to the world by building and maintaining the WFH website to provide live updates on the volunteer experiences and technology integration; working with photographers and videographers to create compelling you-are-there content showcasing how people really can work from anywhere and look after the planet, all through the power of technology; executing paid social campaigns; crafting all press material; handling complex travel logistics for volunteers; and acting as go-to’s for them, among many other critical activities necessary to make this highly complex, technology-driven campaign work. We also partnered with actress and activist Sophia Bush and created original content that she shared across her social media platforms to further shine a light on sustainable travel and the future of remote work.
Community outcomes: Residents now have equitable access to internet, representing 10 years of technological progress in one month. To date, 30% of the island’s entire population has used the technology hub, which has made an even greater impact than anticipated and opened up new career possibilities along with positive trade, tourism and IT learning opportunities for the community.
Communications outcomes: Lenovo reached its reputational goals, increasing its thought leadership article count by an average of 76% YoY and SOV by 11.5% YoY, all exceeding its +10% goal; garnering 3.6B total impressions with 2,000+ pieces of earned coverage globally, 295.8M paid media impressions and 13.3M video views, with CPM, CPVV and CPC all above 30% of their KPIs, 4,500 applications for only 16 volunteer spots, 30k+ visits to the website and 5.26M Group Nine content impressions and 1.24M video views, exceeding all benchmarks.
Conservation outcomes: Lenovo's A.I. server enabled IC field staff to detect invasive species more efficiently; a process to analyze hundreds of thousands of images from camera traps that previously took months now takes a couple of hours. The 1,000 hours of volunteer expertise advanced the community's vision of a sustainable future, resulting in initiatives intended to increase the resilience of local food supplies and improve plastics and waste management. Finally, IC was invited to present the project to the UN’s World Ocean Summit in 2023 as a blueprint for good that can be replicated across other endangered archipelagos.
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