Head out to your garage, be very quiet and listen carefully. Is your motorcycle making any promises? If you bought a Honda or a Harley, or any other brand, I bet you had some expectation of what you were getting based on the name, or if you didn’t this time, perhaps there was a time in the past when you did. The company name, the brand, told a story about what the company was supposed to be, at least that is what the marketing department wants it to do, so the question becomes, did the bike make or break that promise?
Seth Godin, who writes a lot about such things, defines brand as “a promise made over time.” When you think about it that way, you quickly realize some companies have no idea, or simply forgot, any promises were ever made while others take it very seriously. That promise is why old names are resurrected, the new owners either want to benefit from promises made in the past, deliver on them today, or ideally, both.
New motorcycle companies just starting out should think very carefully about what promise they intend to make, since no time has passed to make it clear, they have to tell prospective customers who they intend to be and then make sure they fulfill that promise. Established motorcycle companies need to think about it, too, their intention may be one thing while the bikes delivered have shown they promise something else, entirely. Is it a promise of cutting edge engineering, reliability, power, performance, economy, tradition, great design, a combination of the above or something else altogether?
I began thinking about this because of an interesting post I read this morning, and a few comments there have some other ways of defining brand:
” … they are what is said about you when you are not in the room.”
“Replace the word “brand” with “reputation”, and you have a much clearer picture”
“Your brand is not what you say it is. Your brand is what your customer says it is.”
It’s something to think about. What does your Honda or Harley, Suzuki or Triumph promise to deliver? What do any of the many brands out there want you to believe? Do they keep their promises? Forget what the company thinks, what do you think the various motorcycle brands promise you?