Wednesday, March 23, 2016

How do we reach out and make a connection??

As a kid, and on into adulthood, I've always enjoyed a good story - whether it be by print (books & magazines), picture (photos & movies), or by voice (song & poems/plays). There are real people with very interesting stories - think Amelia Earhart or  Bessie Stringfield. Then you have the people that tell a good story that came from their imagination - think Stephen King or James Patterson. And what makes them such good stories - both fiction and non-fiction - is that when I read, see and hear these stories, a connection is made (for me at least).

I recently found a very interesting "storyteller" site called The Selvedge Yard, and one of their blogs: Harley-Davidson • American Iron, Ingenuity and Influence. Here's an example of some of the story telling I'm referring to:

My mind immediately races back to the early days and the numerous innovations H-D had on franchising and branding. The following success of their notorious and ballsy “Wrecking Crew” racing team (that risked life & limb for victory on hostile dirt tracks and battered, oil-soaked wooden board tracks with dubious, improvised safety gear) further cemented Harley as the one to follow.

In part two of that blog, the author asks:
One nagging question that I still have is – how is Harley-Davidson connecting with the new generation of riders out there? Have they stayed relevant as a brand, do they continue to innovate (don’t say V-Rod), and do they have the same hunger and tenacity that got them where they are, and what will the history books say about this chapter of Harley’s history? ....... I’d love to hear from the riders out there– speak up.
Of course I felt the need to comment but unfortunately this particular blog was posted in February 2012 and is now closed to any further comments. So this blog is in comment to that one.

Admittedly, the toughest job of any business is to keep a connection
with their customers. The entire marketing industry was invented just for this very purpose! And they go to great lengths to make and continue that connection. Progressive, Budweiser, Dollar Shave Club - to name just a few - have had a largely successful campaign.

Harley-Davidson has had it's share of marketing campaigns that help to make new connections and keep them. Certainly Harley has a storied past to tell, going back all the way to 1903. Just looking back at their advertising we get a sense of that connection. "Wing Away! Free as the Birds" describes a time where people didn't fly, but riding a Harley made them feel as if they were. "The Eagle Soars Alone" is talking about when Willie G. Davidson and a group of investors bought the company back from AMF. "Air is an Air Freshener" reminds us to get out of the cubicle/cage and enjoy all the open-ness that comes with motorcycling. And my own ad I made for Father's Day, "The Founding Father's of Harley-Davidson created a Legend ~ So Did Your Dad," connecting the fact that we are all legends in our own right.

And now, with Harley announcing their newest campaign, #LiveYourLegend Campaign reminds us there is no "Someday" on the calendar. Life is meant to be lived, so why not start now?? If you wait for "Someday" to come around, you just might find that your life has passed you by.

If we are going to tell good stories, then we have to get out and get living!! (Or get busy dying at Stephen King said in Shawshank Redemption.) And by getting out and living, we make new connections with it all.

So I say, in a round-about-way, that Harley hasn't lost their connection with the people at all. In fact, in my opinion, it's the people who have lost touch with everything else. We're all making noise, trying to make a connection, that we've forgotten how to make the actual connection.

Now is the time to jump on our Harley-Davidson Motorcycles and get re-connected with everything else. That's what Willie G. did shortly after the buy back: just got out and rode across the country. Riding and having fun.