Sunday, 12 April 2009

Motorbike brand experiences at the dealer need to be fixed

I was surprised to read at of research by J D Power that revealed that 51% of new motorcycle buyers cite dealer-related issues as a reason for rejecting a motorcycle brand; and that one of the primary dealer-related issues for rejecting a brand is the inability to test ride a bike. 

As with all categories, to win over the long term motorbike brands must deliver good brand experiences ( to the consumer) at all stages of the Path to Advocacy. 

I am not into motorbikes and have never tried to buy one, but cannot imagine why anyone would buy without being able to try it out first. 

What is relatively unique about the motorbike category is that the brand experience delivered at the usage stage is far richer compared to the usage stage with most others categories. [Usage is when the consumer uses the brand; not just when they unpack and use it for the first time (second ‘moment of truth’), but every time it is used.] 

Think about it.

The majority of brand categories are low interest products that are used day to day (eg FMCG, Household Appliances, etc)

Some brand categories can be fairly desirable but after the first usage they become everyday (eg Electricals, Fashion, etc)

A few brand categories are special/useful/fun, but the excitement of using them generally doesn’t last too long (think iPod)

The motorbike category is different. Motorbike ownership and usage is all about the thrill of riding...the open road...the power...the speed...the noise...the smell...and in some cases the bond with fellow riders.

I don’t think any other category offers a sustainable usage brand experience to match it (except maybe performance cars).

However, motorbike brands can’t rely on the user experience alone. They should also be ensuring that dealers deliver great brand experiences to the consumer during the process of trying to select a motorbike and then find ways to delight them once they buy. 

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