Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for September, 2010

The Sands Hotel (Orange) From Silver Legacy

Previously I blogged about how Street Vibrations 2010 turned into Street Frustrations 2010 HERE.

Sure, there’s a whole bunch of stuff that can go wrong with any major event the size of Street Vibrations and after months and months of hard work the folks running this event know if they just pulled off another stunning performance or if it’s all over in minutes after it starts.  Unfortunately it was over before it started…

I wrote a letter to both Reno’s Mayor Bob Cashell and to Randy Burke of Road Shows Inc., who is the event producer.  I want to thank them both for a quick response and am sharing the information I received:

Reno Mayor – Bob Cashell via Marcia Morse

Mayor Cashell asked me to thank you for your comments and let you know it was not the City of Reno that changed the format for Street Vibrations.

It was the promoter, Randy Burke with Roadshows.  His contact information is: http://www.road-shows.com/contact.php . The City of Reno will be meeting with him soon to discuss this situation and get back to the regular format for next year.

We are sorry that this has happened to a wonderful event and promise to make next year a better year.

Marcia

Marcia Morse
Administrative Secretary to
Mayor Robert Cashell
P.O. Box 1900
Reno, NV  89505
775-334-2001
775-334-2097 Fax
morsem@reno.gov

Randy Burke – Road Shows Inc.

Thank you for your input about Street Vibrations Fall Rally 2010.

The City of Reno provided us with our downtown Reno layout in January 2010. After five revisions, we agreed to their plan. We had heard from our bikers that they wanted bikes, not vendors, on Virginia Street. We were wrong, shame on us.

We will meet with the mayor of Reno next week to discuss bringing vendors back Virginia Street for 2011.

Best Regards,

Randy Burke
Roadshows, Inc.
admin@roadshowsreno.com
775-329-7469

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog
Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Interbrands Ranking of the Best Global Brands

Brand impact.  That’s what H-D desires.

Trust and customer loyalty are the words that matter most in today’s economic market place.

Let’s recap the various statements made by CEO, Keith Wandell on the Harley-Davidson brand.  I found it interesting and thought you might too:

October 2009 — “As our announcement regarding Buell and MV Agusta indicates, we are moving with the speed and decisiveness required to bring our business strategy to life,” said Wandell.  “The fact is we must focus both our effort and our investment on the Harley-Davidson brand, as we believe this provides an optimal path to sustained, meaningful, long-term growth.”

January 2010 — “Focusing our investment behind the uniquely strong Harley-Davidson brand provides the most attractive path to sustained, long-term growth,” Wandell said. “We also expect to achieve substantial gains in the efficiency of our operations through continuous improvement.”

April 2010 — “Throughout the past 16 months we have taken a number of actions to address the immediate challenges and establish a bold, clear direction that will maximize our opportunities going forward,” said Wandell. “We have come a long way in a short amount of time, and I could not feel better about the progress we have made and where we are headed.”

July 2010 — “Despite the decline in second-quarter retail motorcycle sales, we believe interest in the Harley-Davidson brand remains strong among riders of all generations. In fact, Harley-Davidson is the U.S. market share leader of on-road motorcycles among young adults. We will continue to focus our resources on expanding the global reach of the brand and developing new products that will reach even more riders going forward,” Wandell said. “I would like to thank our employees for their continued hard work and support of our strategy.”

How’s all that brand focus working out Mr. Wandell?  Check it out.  According to Interbrands 11th annual ranking of the “Best Global Brands,” Harley-Davidson (#98) saw a decline of 24% in brand value!! For the first time ever, it nearly fell OFF the top 100 list of global brands.

Quick to provide an “interpretation” and point out their view of the pitfalls of Interbrands ranking system – Harley-Davidson spokesman Bob Klien stated“Given the financial focus of the Interbrand rankings, the results aren’t really all that surprising,” and then went on to say “It’s to be expected given the economy and the effect it’s had on the motorcycle industry and Harley-Davidson.”

Not that surprising.  Huh?  If it’s a financial focus let’s contrast the H-D brand with the auto industry which has had a difficult time in this economy too.  Mercedes Benz (#12) and BMW (#15) were able to sustain and build their value through innovative design and a focus on delivering premium value vehicles with luxury features. Award-winning products like the Q5 helped Audi (#63) lead industry growth this year with a 9% increase in its brand value.  Even the media’s preoccupation with the Toyota (#11) recall which caused the brand to lose -16% of its brand value was handled in a way that it out performed H-D!

What about other luxury brands?  Even with the economic downturn, luxury brands Cartier (#77), Armani (#95), Louis Vuitton (#16), Gucci (#44), Tiffany & Co (#76) and Hermes (#69) all saw the value of their brands increase in 2010 by continuing to invest in their heritage and legendary status. Outstanding customer service and a focus on unique in-store and online experiences allowed them to stay strong, even while consumers cut back spending.

Interbrand publishes the ranking of the top 100 brands based on a unique methodology analyzing the many ways a brand touches and benefits an organization, from attracting top talent to delivering on customer expectations. Three key aspects contribute to a brand’s value; the financial performance of the branded products or services, the role of brand in the purchase decision process and the strength of the brand to continue to secure earnings for the company.

The Harley-Davidson brand investment does not seem to be working.  Now what?

Photo courtesy of Interbrands.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

Read Full Post »

Street Vibrations 2010 - Thin crowds at the split event!

Formally known as Street Vibrations…

As thousands of motorcycles descended into Reno, NV for the annual Street Vibrations motorcycle rally they were met with what will be surely known as the motorcycle rally debacle of 2010!

Our posse arrived on Thursday (23rd) afternoon.  Checked in to the hotel and walked out on to the street to take in some of the action.

WAIT.  Where are the vendor booths?  Why are cars traveling on so many of the side streets?  Where is every one?  Why are people standing around doing NOTHING on Virginia Street?  We walked three blocks and someone remarked how we’ve yet to see any law enforcement patrols?  WTF?

Sparks Victorian Square - Thin crowds at the split event.

Street Vibrations is the fourth largest motorcycle rally in the country, but you wouldn’t have known that by observing the thin crowds on Virginia Street.  Crowds that mostly wandered around wondering what to do.  It turns out that the information released earlier about vendors being expanded into Sparks really meant — ALL of the vendors were moved to the Sparks Victorian Square this year.  Only the convention center contained vendor booths.  With the exception of a handful of food vendors and a couple official t-shirt booths ALL OTHERS where moved to Sparks.

On Friday we headed to Sparks to check out the vendor booths in Victorian Square.  The traffic control folks were sending everyone into a dead-end parking area.  There were 25-30 bikes at a time getting jammed up with little room to maneuver or turn around creating a blockage that overflowed onto the street.  Dumb.  We finally got parked and walked around.  The feel of the area was nice, clean and open, but the crowds were thin.  Sure you could drink, but are you going to when you’ve got to get back on the motorcycle and ride to your hotel?  Not likely.  Whose idea was it to promote drinking and driving?  Where were the shuttle buses?  Dumb.  And while it’s true they expanded a number of vendors, I don’t know about you… I didn’t go to a motorcycle event to look at scented candles!   The Simms, Kuryakyn, Performance Machines, Mustang Seats and Metzler booths were well attended, but most others were fairly spotty.

Street Vibrations 2010 Event Map -- Split event booths at Sparks/Reno

I met/talked with several vendors in both locations as well as some attendees to get their reactions.  NONE liked the set up.  Not one!  I ask casino employees/pit bosses and they all balked at the setup.  The local Reno H-D dealer attendance was much lower than previous years.  People had front row parking available in the dealer parking lot.  Unheard of in previous years.  H-D employees had NOTHING good to say about the new arrangement.

I received a mixed bag of finger pointing.  The first reason was about how the Reno Police were greedy in what they wanted to charge for crowd control.  The cost couldn’t be passed on to the vendors so, the events producer decided to move it to a lower cost area (i.e. Sparks).  Then we heard that the event had become too big.  We heard that the city council was trying to “Get Back The Streets”… meaning that the days of blocking off streets from residents and creating traffic jams for locals were over.  We also heard that there wasn’t enough parking for motorcycles and then I heard that it was the bikers fault because they wanted to park/drive on Virginia Street… blah, blah, blah.  It seemed like reason de jour.

I’m somewhat convinced it was about $$.  At the end of the day it always seems to be about $$.  Whether it’s law enforcement costs, city liability, promoter margins or [make your excuse here]… it typically comes down to someone not getting enough $$ or someone paying too much $$.

MEMO TO: Randy Burke (Events Producer (Road Shows)) and Bob Cashell (Reno Mayor) – WORK it out.  The split event sucks!  Street Vibrations started on the street and should stay on the street.  It’s just that simple.  Don’t correct this debacle and I predict a fast decline and the end of Street Vibrations.

If you attended and have an opinion (good or bad) then please send an email or contact Mr. Burke HERE or Mr. Cashell HERE and let them know what you thought of this years rally.

Photo’s taken at the event.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

Read Full Post »

As a society we tend to think that more is better. More megapixels must result in better photos. More square footage must mean a better apartment. More calories must mean a better meal. Often times–save the last–we are wrong.

If you’ve ever attended the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally you likely noted the dizzying array of vendors, hucksters and hacks demonstrating the various trash-n-trinkets – more isn’t always better.  And what if less is not only MORE, but a competitive differentiator when it comes to rallies?  Thanks to Barry Schwartz we have a name for the phenomenon – the paradox of choice – a notion that posits that fewer choices make people’s buying process easier and they are happier with their buying decisions.

Street Vibrations in Reno is certainly no ‘big-box’ or mega outlet like Sturgis.  And it’s only half the chaos of Laughlin River Run.  That’s what I like about it!

I have the view that people connect with motorcycle craftsman i.e. “artists,” not executives.  We’re certainly not drawn to huckster hacks selling us on something we don’t need or want.  Artists speak their truth, from deep down inside.  They talk about their craft.  The philosophy and inspiration behind it.  Nothing is more powerful and you bond.  It’s as if your listening to a song and feeling what the artist is expressing.  And if the artist does this more than once, you become a fan.

Clearly I’m a Street Vibrations fan.  Largely because of the quality face-to-face time with the motorcycle craftsman – “artists” in the vendor booths.  True,  I’m also milking the last remnants of fall riding before the long cold and rainy winter sets in, but this motorcycle rally fulfills my entertainment, shopping, and information needs.  So, as motorcycles roar out of the Northwest in route to Reno… I’ll be one of them.  I’ve done this trip a number of times (blogged about in 2009 HERE; 2008 HERE; 2007 HERE) over the last 10 years.  It’s never boring and always a great experience.

Twenty-ten looks like we’ll be dancing between the rain drops for part of the ride as our posse helps bring the $$ to the local Nevada economy.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

Read Full Post »

Schuberth Helmets

With more than 70 years of experience, Schuberth GmbH has developed a wide range of superb products and is a trailblazer in head protection technology. I’ve previously posted about their laser scan process, price and number of carbon fiber layers the helmets contain HERE for Formula 1 racers.

Schuberth has just opened its North American headquarters and selected the “OC” – specifically, Aliso Viejo as opposed to the east coast because as we all know “Cali,” is the hub of the motorcycle industry, especially motorcycle media in Southern California.  In this down economy the company hired six full-time employees and more than 12 consultants. The consultants will be on the road to help business associates, and will mostly be located in Southern California too.

But, this is not today’s big news.  The big story today is John Mayer (music recording artist) deleted his Twitter account!  Mayer frequently used the social networking website to apologize for offensive statements he’s made and fight with Perez Hilton, among other things.  Mayer had more than 3.7 million followers, but don’t be depressed as going forward he plans to communicate even more with fans through his blog.  So, several celeb’s (Miley Cyrus, Ricky Gervais, Amanda Bynes, Demi Lovato, and LeAnn Rimes) have left Twitter? You must be kidding! Hello, Ripley’s? No, you cannot put me on hold. This is a worldwide exclusive. I’m sitting on a powder keg here.

Do we care?  I don’t, and promise not to revert to junior high school with gossip-girl digs, but that isn’t my point.  The point is that today we get our information from one another.  Our news is personalized.  We are experiencing a revolution.  Caused by the computer, aided by the Internet, old media monoliths are crumbling and seedlings are popping up all over.  The old guard is protesting, wannabes are struggling for a toehold in the decaying old game and newbies are reinventing the media business unchallenged and unknown.

The only way to be successful today is to create a phenomenal product that members of the public embrace and spread to their friends.  Hype a crappy product and you might get some old wave press, but you won’t make any money.

As a “newbie” to this old media monolith, I wanted to pass along that Schuberth’s helmet’s are innovative, modern and pumped full of high-technology.  I hope to try out the DOT version of the popular C3 (with integrated bluetooth Schuberth Rider Communication (SRC) System) which will be available in N.A. dealers any day now.

If anyone has experience with Schuberth helmets let me know what you liked or didn’t.

Photo courtesy of Schuberth blog.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

Read Full Post »

Father Arsenios at the Vatopaidi Monastery

I was reading an article by Michael Lewis’s on the Greek financial crisis which somehow seemed to be framed by a story involving monks?  I was only scanning the article because I just didn’t care that much.  But, I couldn’t figure out the angle, what exactly did the monks do?

Jumping back, I discovered it involved some land swap.  It seems that no one pays taxes in Greece unless they work for a corporation and the country’s economy is even worse than that of the U.S., but in searching for this so-called heinous monk behavior I came across this passage, wherein Father Arsenios points to a sign he had tacked up on one of his cabinets, and translates it from the Greek:

“THE SMART PERSON ACCEPTS. THE IDIOT INSISTS.”

He found the sign on one of his business trips to the Ministry of Tourism.

“This is the secret of success for anywhere in the world, not just the monastery,’ he says, and then goes on to describe pretty much word for word the first rule of improvisational comedy, or for that matter any successful collaborative enterprise. Take whatever is thrown at you and build upon it. ‘Yes…and’ rather than ‘No…but.’ ‘The idiot is bound by his pride,’ he says. ‘It always has to be his way. This is also true of the person who is deceptive or doing things wrong: he always tries to justify himself. A person who is bright in regard to his spiritual life is humble. He accepts what others tell him – criticism, ideas – and he works with them.'”

Eureka!  That’s it! This explains the behavior of workers in USW Local 2-209, USW Local 460, and IAM Lodge 78 who yesterday approved the new Harley-Davidson labor agreement.  Previously, Harley-Davidson management has said that approval of the new agreement would be required for the company to keep jobs in the state and the board confirmed it will keep WI, plants open.

Rather than distance themselves the union and workers leaned in.  Now harmony has ensued and everybody can move forward.  Congrats!

UPDATE: September 14, 2010 (1:15pm PST) — H-D posted a press release HERE on the ratification details of the new 7-year labor agreement.  The company expects to have 325 fewer unionized employees in Milwaukee and the new contract will generate about $50M in annual operating savings in 2013.

Photo courtesy of Father Arsenios and Jonas Fredwall Karlsson.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

Read Full Post »

The Myth of Fair Value - William Poundstone

It was rather fitting that last week Harley-Davidson workers in Milwaukee got their first look at a proposed labor agreement that would take effect in 2012 at about the same time as President Obama spent Labor Day at Laborfest where he announced a $50 BILLION jobs plan centered around transportation infrastructure including the rehab of 150K miles of road.

Well, I’ve traveled Milwaukee roads (and lived to blog about it!) and I can say they need rehab!  No argument there.  Bring on the new asphalt.

Speaking of jobs, Wisconsin has lost 35,000 manufacturing jobs since Obama took office in January 2009.  A total of 182,000 manufacturing jobs since 2000.  In July 2010 the unemployment rate was 7.8% a couple of points below the national average.  A good job that pays a good wage with health care and provides for a secure retirement even if you’re not rich might sound like simple ideas, but American workers are in dire straits.  There are job cuts and plant closings facing down families and the job cause is more urgent than ever.

This fact has not escaped Harley-Davidson executive management as workers in USW Local 2-209, USW Local 460 and IAM Lodge 78 will vote on a new labor contract Monday, September 13th which would preserve about 1,300 jobs in Milwaukee (PTO) and Tomahawk.  You can read the full 65-page text of the agreement on the Cyril Huze blog HERE.

The key highlights are they plan to institute a 7-year pay freeze, implement salary cuts, create a two-tiered work force, cut a couple hundred positions and use seasonal workers (who would make about half what current full-time employees earn).  According to the Kansas City Journal tier-1 employees would be paid between $30.50 and $34.38 an hour during the first year of the agreement, depending on job classification and tier-2 would earn between $21.96 and $29.87 an hour.  Pretty dam good pay if you’re unemployed!

And now just days before the vote Harley-Davidson CEO, Keith Wandell sent a letter to employees “highlighting his concerns” or what some might call spinning “why you should earn less.”  The letter was made available to JS Online by an employee.  You can read the full text of the letter HERE.  The key highlights are:

  1. An ultimatum — that if the contract is rejected the board will act the following day to authorize the process to relocate the production operations
  2. H-D is restructuring the design process to reduce development time and place a greater focus on “WOW”
  3. H-D is reducing the size of the dealer network
  4. H-D is challenging their suppliers like never before
  5. H-D is aligning all manufacturing operations under a common “production operating system”
  6. H-D is doing everything with fewer people (including salaried h/c) to run leaner at today’s lower volume

There is a Wisconsin metaphor: “You only worry as far as you can milk it.”  The recession favors management as an excuse to slash costs and puts more pressure on workers to agree to the demands.  In addition, the motor companies go-forward business strategy and restructuring is getting some traction.  So, it looks like labor concessions are an insurance policy for the future.

UPDATE: September 14, 2010 — H-D posted a press release HERE on the ratification details of the new 7-year labor agreement.  The company expects to have 325 fewer unionized employees in Milwaukee and the new contract will generate about $50M in annual operating savings in 2013.

Photo courtesy of William Poundstone

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: