I’m not sure who coined that phrase, but for some reason I’m reminded of Harley-Davidson and the debut of their 2011 models.
I can neither confirm or deny that I’ve been busy testing a sample of the 2011 H-D motorcycles. I cannot confirm or deny that I’ve signed a NDA/embargo agreement to not disclose, either in print or talk about what the good folks at Harley-Davidson have been up to until July 27, 2010 – the date that the company will roll out some new thunder.
The plant is filled with journeymen, skilled at their jobs, but the motorcycle models are not famous. Because to be famous you’ve got to make jaws drop, people have to forego crucial financial activities in order to invest in H-D motorcycle ownership, people have to want to tell others about your brand. In order to succeed you’ve got to innovate. It requires perspiration and it demands inspiration. I’m talking about innovating in such a way that a large percentage of the motorcycle riding public cares.
We’re in a era of marketing. Because it’s so easy. Go online and tell your story. Start a Facebook page, upload some stop-action videos and evangelize to the ADHD 20-somthings. Tweet about anything and everything. But, isn’t it interesting that as more motorcycle manufactures go online trying to sell, fewer motorcycles are moving…both sales-wise and emotionally. The key isn’t about putting a motorcycle in front of people. It’s about creating something so good that it builds its own audience. It’s an incredible challenge. To employ a classic art form, include pop references, but come up with something new. So new that the new thing excites us, that not only makes our blood boil, but makes us want to tell everyone. So good it gets inside your psyche and affects you…not like the lasting power of a popsicle.
For so long the basic tools have been ignored and Harley-Davidson has taken the easy way out. It’s been about marketing an image or brand over product innovation and their spot in the firmament is at risk. They’ve always been good about building relationships, but too much of the H-D model line-up can be denied. You can play that “tune” for a friend and they just ignored it.
The 2011 models need to tap us on the shoulder lightly and then wrap itself around our heart. In other words, be so good we can’t ignore you…
Photo courtesy of Deviantart.com