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Archive for September 16th, 2008

Harley YouTube Channel

Harley YouTube Channel

If you’ve been out of the country this month without any internet access you missed that Harley-Davidson has joined the Web 2.0 movement and is executing on a so-called social media strategy. By social media I’m lumping together blogs, RSS, social networking (Facebook), video (YouTube) and bookmarking.  All of this presents the marketer on Juneau Ave with a rich set of new tools to help generate new business.  And new business is what it’s all about as the company could post a sales decline percentage for July and August in the “mid-teens,” which would follow an 8.7 percent drop in the second quarter.

Harley-Davidson “virally” launched a Facebook page earlier in the month and the official channel on YouTube was launched today.  It’s loaded with content straight out of the motor company. All of this is part of an effort to satisfy the most passionate motorcycle enthusiast.  You see, consumers are no longer sitting around for commercials; they are looking for new experiences. Whether it’s the bad-boy-aura of the riding experience, or the 105th event and ride home blogs, or the active participation in the BB communities, Harley has recognized the need to follow these consumer trends. They’ve looked at the dynamics of their relationships with customers and the nature of their interaction and have concluded that they need to move with the shifting customer base and changing market conditions.

Harley Facebook Page

Harley Facebook Page

Harley’s new social media and branding is nothing but the continuation of selling a lifestyle, a personality and it is also about appealing to emotions of customers. Increasingly, it has become more and more about creating an experience around the product than the product itself!

I’m of the viewpoint that the current social media directions won’t achieve the results they hope for on the sales front.  You can’t approach new media with old thinking. Taking full advantage of social media requires understanding and adopting a specific social media strategy.  Instead they have implemented a “me-to” approach.  Meaning they have followed the others in corporate America and will tie a range of old-school services from their CRM tools and do database development and case management in order to get the database analysis to the telemarketing team.  I just don’t see how all of the new media will connect back to the dealer network to help drive sales.

But, if that’s the way Harley views social media, a set of tools to perform a set of incremental tactics to reach the set of objectives they have always tried to reach with their marketing campaigns, then not only are they really missing the opportunity, they will probably find themselves wondering what all this Web 2.0 fuss was about.

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Pee Jug

Pee Jug

Motorcyclist have to be on the look-out for all types of road hazards and debris, but here in the Northwest the job has become more difficult.

It seems we have an epidemic.  An epidemic of urine-filled plastic bottles littering the sides of the road.  Yes, folks we now have jugs of pee being found in alarming numbers.  Most notable is a short section of Interstate 84 in eastern Oregon.  Some days the Oregon DOT litter crew reported finding more than 100 plastic bottles.  This brings a new meaning to the word “Trucker Bombs”, huh?!

The containers are found on the eastbound side specifically in a three mile stretch called ‘Three Mile Hill’ between milepost 356 and 359. So, visit Hells Canyon and risk hitting a pee jug…now that’s a tourist slogan!  The Oregon press tried to put its best spin on the issue and reported the area is prone to this problem because of the economy and it’s believed that commercial trucks are driving at a slow speed and drivers can urinate into bottles and toss them out the window.  This way truckers can save time bypassing rest stops, minimizing fuel stops or bathroom breaks.  Yeah, that sounds better…NOT!

OSP Urine Bottles

OSP Urine Bottles

As you might imagine the truck drivers industry doesn’t officially support any pee jug shortcuts, but are quick to point out that “IF” truckers did use such plastic bottles it would only be because of ridiculous work schedules, the high cost of diesel fuel and parking limitations for big rigs.  The accusation that truckers pee whenever or wherever has the truck industry reeling.   They feel they’ve been unfairly stained with innuendos.

It’s not a unique problem in Oregon, but rampant across the Northwest.  Utah DOT reports their maintenance crews pick up approx 20,000 urine bottles a year.  Washington state launched an aggressive public awareness campaign to combat the proliferation of jugs of pee on their highways and California was quick to point out that all the fast food restaurants in the state helps prevent the issue, but later issued an advisory for Caltrans workers on how to properly dispose of potential exploding pee jugs…

The Northwest Harley blog condemns the practice of peeing in a bottle and tossing it on the highway only to be dodged or hit by a motorcyclist.  You animals!

Note: the well intentioned pee jug photo is not to be used as a “how-to” guide for any copycat…

Container photo courtesy of Oregon State Police.

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1939 National Safety Ad

1939 National Safety Ad

If you type Harley-Davidson motorcycle accidents into Google you’ll get about 180,000 hits.  Thousands of the hits are motorcycle accident lawyers “hawking services”, attorney blogs evangelizing the merits of taking irresponsible drivers to court or injury sites masquerading as “free advice” backed by an attorney who wants another client for that once-in-a-lifetime “lottery” product liability case.  Gives the legal industry a bad rap.

No one wants accidents to happen and my sincere condolences to the family and friends in all these accidents.  I use the word accident loosely because too often there is nothing the motorcyclist does or did incorrectly to contribute to the incident.  Here is the latest report from around the area:

  1. 09/15/08 – Motorcycle vs. Vehicle Injury In Clark County
  2. 09-05-08 – Fatal Motorcycle Crash on I-5
  3. 09/02/08 – Motorcycle Crash 500 block of N. 8th Street in Lakeside, Coos County.
  4. 08/01/08 – Motorcycle Operator Dies from Injuries Sustained in 7/29/08 Crash near Canby
  5. 07/29/08 – Critical Injury Motorcycle Crash – Highway 99W south of Canby
  6. 07/20/08 – Fatal Traffic Crash – Highway 11 at Athena Junction
  7. 07/12/08 – Fatal Traffic Crash – Highway 730 near Boardman
  8. 07/02/08 – Serious Injury Motorcycle Crash – Highway 20W near Santiam Pass Summit

I’ve previously blogged on Oregon accidents HERE (April-June), reported on Senior Drivers HERE and reported on alcohol related motorcycle accidents HERE.

I personally reject and am against government intrusion on a regular basis, but I would support the idea of mandatory first time endorsement training like taking the Team Oregon safety course.

Ride smart and sober!

Poster art work photo taken at and courtesy of HD Museum.

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