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Posts Tagged ‘Unemployment’

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Start with the “charisma and swagger” of Charlie Sheen, add a little Lady Gaga recklessness, mix it all together with the sensibility of John Mayer, and you’re well on your way to a vibrant digital marketing campaign.

Or at least that’s what Harley-Davidson’s, CMO, Mark-Hans Richer seems to believe.

Taking a page from celebrities and musicians who blazed the path before them they’ve embarked on a crowd-sourcing recipe with Victors & Spoils, a Boulder-based crowd sourcing agency who intends to deliver successful digital marketing.  It would seem that every American company on the planet is amassing a rapidly growing list of crowd sourcing digital data to give marketers an even more precise method for targeting their ad messages to specific consumers.

I know, you hate social media.  More people despise Twitter than use it.  You thought Foursquare was a church.  You like Facebook, but you fear its Big Brother qualities.

Well, you probably don’t understand that Twitter is the number one news source for news happening right now.  But if you can’t wrap your head around that, maybe you should look into SproutSocial, which allows you to track your company in social media.  And if you don’t think social media is key to any company’s future, you’re on the road to extinction.

Mr. Richer totally gets it.  H-D has a multi-generational and multicultural customer strategy with a need to get potential customers more engaged in the brand.

You do that through social media.  But, part of the problem for the motor company is its audience knows too many people, who connect with each other online.  Once consumers start talking to each other not only do they spread the word about the so-called “motorcycle lifestyle,” but they also let each other know which products are good and which ones are bad.  Suddenly, the dealers can no longer jam any old product down the motorcycle riding public’s throat.  It’s bad enough when new products leak in advance and are dead on arrival due to bad word of mouth, but even those that make it to the release date intact are not guaranteed sales.  Because by the end of the week, the target audience knows whether the product is worth owning via references from friends.

It all comes down to who you know.

But, the reason I’m writing this is because of the job market.  Unemployment.  It’s steady at 10.5% here in Oregon.  About a point above the national average and has remained there most of the past year.  Just this past week the Oregonian reported another 300 layoffs by 3 different companies closing down operations.  And if that wasn’t enough did you happen to catch Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke last night on 60 Minutes?  He painted a grim picture.  Stating that the U.S. recovery is still not self-sustaining while defended his $600B bond purchase to help keep interest rates low.  Heady stuff.

Oregon and U.S. Unemployment - Dec 2010

I hate to frighten you, but all your partying and drunken pictures are going to work against you in the job market. Inebriation is not a criterion for employment, not even at Miller Brewing.  You see you’re building your resume every day online.  And whether you can get a job or not is based on this resume and who you know.  People always complain how they can’t get a job in this industry or that industry because they aren’t connected.  Hate to tell you, but it just got worse!  No one’s going to hire anyone without a history, who can’t be recommended by someone.  The days of placing a blind ad and taking on all comers is history.  That doesn’t even work on Craigslist, and have you seen the type of jobs on that site lately?

If you want to succeed in the future, you’ve got to know people.  Who can vouch for you.  Ever get called for a reference?  You never lie if you know the caller, it’s your reputation on the line.   And now that we’re all networked through social media, there’s always someone who knows you, who if they won’t say something negative, certainly won’t say something positive.

And you thought you were just playing online?  You see we all live in a social media world.  Scary huh?!  And as if to help prove my point the CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, was also interviewed and talked about changes coming in a redesign.  For example, instead of a single profile picture, people who visit your page will soon see a row of photos you’ve been recently tagged in.

It might be time to start making deposits in the persona-curating bank account…

Photo courtesy of Harley-Davidson, SocialSprouts and Google.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog
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It started as whispers, but lately we’ve heard more and more about the “R” word.

Recovery of the economy.

Economists are starting to down play the recession and clearly chatter from our D.C. representatives is all about a turning point as retail sales beat forecasts and for the first time in 10 years 160K jobs were created in the month of March.  However, the unemployment rate remains steady at 9.7% nationally and it really looks like the pace of growth won’t drive rapid improvement in the labor market.

And speaking of job growth, Harley-Davidson has taken some of the oxygen out any recovery in Milwaukee.  According to the Biz Journal the motor company filed a mass layoff notice this week with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development informing the agency that it was undergoing a permanent reduction in force and will lay off 94 employees at its distribution center in Franklin beginning June 7.  Unemployment remains steady at 8.7% in Wisconsin.  This news was not unexpected as the motor company announced more than a year ago that it was closing the distribution center as part of a major reduction in operations, with a third-party company picking up parts, accessories and general merchandise distribution.

Clearly the labor market distress remains high and I’m not making light of hard working folks difficulties.   But, if it’s any consolation – plus the fact that this week Tiger returned to the Masters, launched a new 3D PGA Online Game and Nike’s greedy geniu$ made us feel CREEPY for the multimillionaire after rolling out a new ad featuring his dead father’s voice – Wisconsin is ranked among the top states for its ratio of golfers to courses and during this most distressful time, might I suggest a round of golf to reduce stress?  Better yet, maybe you could snag a 4-some in the middle of the day with Mr. Keith Wandell (H-D CEO) who according to a number of press reports is an avid golfer and discuss etiquette or share tips!

Photo courtesy of GoGo Caddy and H-D.


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cnbcWe don’t need a psychotherapist to confirm what we feel in our gut each morning — it’s unsettling at minimum to outright rage and then add the ‘Bernie’ and AIG hysteria to the mix.

Market volatility, economic instability, double digit unemployment, bailout-i-tis, along with purchasing paralysis — it’s no wonder people are staying home under the covers — if they haven’t lost their home!

In talking with folks who have not yet received a pink slip even they feel trapped in companies where their sort of grateful to still be working, but insecure because no employer is making any type of guarantee about jobs longer than two-weeks. 

But, all of this doesn’t mean we have to slog through the rest of the year in an emotional cellar dweller funk. It’s not easy, but it is possible for motorcyclists to stay up in a beat down economy.  And with minimal $$.

Here are some thoughts on how to minimize the funk:

  1. Return to your motorcycle riding roots — remember why you first got into motorcycle riding? Bring back some of that enthusiasm — maybe even master a new riding skill — do something you’ve never done just for the sheer challenge of it. Commit to finding 10 Best Rides in your local area: 10 best waterfall rides (hint: Multnomah Falls, Bridal Veil Falls); 10 best scenic landscape rides; 10 best coffee shop rides, etc. you get the idea.
  2. Get the most from motorcycle social networking — build and extend your network of motorcycle friends and colleagues. Take full advantage of blogs, social networking opportunities via BB, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and other online communities. Consider using your motorcycle skills to connect with the world: start a blog, build a Web site, create and post an original video on YouTube of your “10 best”, or share your legislative viewpoints or showcase new riding techniques. Write reviews for Shelfari or Amazon.com — reviews of motorcycle-specific books. Hell, learn and do all of them!
  3. Get out into the motorcycle real world — if you live near a college, check out its motorcycle technology centers. Personnel in these education-technology-transfer centers excel at helping people learn — how to repair/remove a motorcycle engine is a skill that many of us could use.
  4. Improve your motorcycle soft skills — head down to the local H-D dealer to “spar” with sales and work on your negotiation and relationship-building talents — the so-called soft skills — raise your sense of self-worth by working down the prices of motorcycle upgrades and parts. Ask the question, “Is that the very best price you can offer?” Not only will the practice help you payless for upgrades today it will keep you sharp mentally and position yourself for when the economic upturn occurs because consumer prices are increasing.

Sure this is a ride in the wind and ‘feel good’ type post, but aren’t you tired of reading about some reality TV star’s secret marriage to Elvis?!

Photo courtesy Flickr.

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