Ideas Now

Electrifying a Legacy Brand for a New Generation

Posted by Chris DuPree
July 2, 2014 at 11:15 AM

Envision attracting new consumers while staying true to your roots
When you hear Harley-Davidson, you think bikes, boots, black leather and badass attitude. But what happens when you add the word ‘electric’ to that list? It’s certainly not the first thing that comes to mind, but that’s just fine with Harley Davidson. Always pushing forward with an independent spirit, Harley aims to change the conversation with their electric bike prototype, Project LiveWire.

It’s a bold new product from a company known for its powerful, customizable machines. It’s also a bold move to gain the attention of a new segment of riders who would love to have some eco with attitude.


Inspire a new way to for consumers to see and experience your legacy brand
In a world where electric vehicles have been characterized as less than ideal when it comes to power, Harley has an uphill battle to fight to maintain its identity as a builder of powerful bikes.

So to see if Project LiveWire is ready for the road, Harley is hitting the road. They are doing a 30-city tour around the U.S. and will go international in 2015, to get real feedback from real riders, whether they are Harley diehards or curious newcomers who want to see how this old-school brand is innovating for the future.

And though this electric bike is just a test, it gives motorcycle fans a breath of fresh air from a brand that’s built up quite a legacy since it began back in 1903. This new concept will most certainly usher in a new generation of rider, one who gets all the innovation wrapped up in a sleek, black Harley.

But it also might give some of the more traditional HOG (Harley Owners Group) members a reason to pause and think about their beloved brand and where it’s headed in the future. Do they see this as a departure, or just another reason to be proud that they align with the rebellious, “I don’t care, I’ll do it anyway” spirit that’s at the heart of Harley-Davidson?

Ignite brand loyalty from a new generation of riders
Rising fuel prices. Stricter emissions standards. Being first to market with a “true” electric motorcycle. There are plenty of reasons why Harley-Davidson produced Project LiveWire. On top of the reasons listed above, this bike gives them the inroads to a new generation of riders who live every day with the latest and greatest in power and innovative technology (don’t we see that more and more, in everything from cars to smartphones to computers and even thermostats?).

And with this product evolution, Harley-Davidson proves old dogs have plenty of new tricks to appeal to millennials and beyond.

With more manufacturers producing hybrid and electric vehicles, Harley puts their trailblazing spirit into setting the standard for a product market that has yet to hit.

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Topics: Brand building, Branding and Identity, Brand Extensions

What we can learn from Casey Kasem’s “voice”

Posted by Craig Mewbourne
June 27, 2014 at 2:59 PM
Envision the landscape of radio broadcast circa 1970.

Radio stations were splintering rapidly into genre-specific formats, and “broadcasting” was inevitably becoming “niche-casting.”

Enter the American Top 40 program, co-founded by Casey Kasem. As we reflected last week on the passing of Kasem, there were many stories of how he created a vehicle to expose so many people to music they would have never known existed.
A pioneer of the countdown format, Kasem defined a formula for diverse programming that would become “must-listen” radio, no matter which station format audiences preferred.

Inspire the country to drop what it’s doing and listen.

That was the mission of American Top 40, and it succeeded for several reasons, not the least of which was Kasem’s unique and recognizable voice. But it was, in reality, the “voice” of the show that made it so appealing. The countdown format wasn’t new, but by providing regular narratives, trivia, dedications and teasers, Kasey and company developed a distinct character to a program that was, essentially, a prescribed list.

Though some critics wrote off the “voice” of the program as cheesy, there is no doubt that the characteristic sentimentality of the content drew in listeners and solidified the show’s brand.

Ignite your brand by finding its “voice.”

Kasem’s voice was special because it was distinct, with a husky quality he referred to as ”garbage.” If he had sounded like any other radio announcer, it’s doubtful he would have become the legendary icon associated with radio success.

In the same way, your brand “voice” should be distinctive. It should reveal, on a closer look, a pattern that gives your audience expected touchstones, and consistent earmarks that no other brand could claim.

By identifying content parameters, American Top 40 and Kasem established a rhythm that lifted the format into every household. Brands that wish for the same success should take note of that reliability.

We’ll miss Casey Kasem dearly, both for his voice, and the “voice” he helped to create. Continue Reading

Topics: Brand building, Branding and Identity, Brand Influencer

Bud Light: Don’t Always Jump On the Brandwagon

Posted by Abi Grise
June 10, 2014 at 1:53 PM

Envision staying true to your brand in the face of trends.

We all have one: a friend who has transformed into a mustached, cardiganed, suspender-wearing hipster who only orders craft beer. Not just any craft beer, but one made by monks in a country you’ve never heard of, infused with something like kale or spearmint.

But you still order Bud Light. It’s not complicated. It’s a knee-jerk reaction to order. If you had one remaining brain cell and it wanted a beer, it would undoubtedly shrug and say, “Bud Light, I guess.”

To combat the rising influx of craft-craving hipsters, Bud Light had a choice: fall into a trend-chasing trap and attempt a craft beer no hipster would even ironically order, or remind the general population that when you simply want a beer—when you close your eyes and imagine a beer—you think of Bud Light.

Bud Light kicked off the “the beer for whatever happens” campaign during the SuperBowl (Beer-Marketing Christmas). The premise of this campaign is similar to "The Hangover;" Sometimes, when you drink alcohol, things get crazy. You don’t need craft beer for that.

But that was just the beginning. The campaign exploded when Bud Light decided to

Inspire consumers through an immersive brand environment.

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Topics: Inspiration, Non-traditional marketing, Advertising, Branding and Identity

Make It Your Own: Putting the Customer in the Driver’s Seat

Posted by Chris DuPree
June 2, 2014 at 9:30 AM

Envision mobilizing customers to innovate your products

Customization. When it comes to food, we’ve been doing it for years. “What do you want on that?” “How would you like it cooked?” In other verticals, this idea is picking up steam as retailers aim to be more relevant, relatable and empowering. They want their customers to – as Burger King so famously put it – have it their way.

Last week, Japanese clothing company Uniqlo recently brought a customization experience to their customers via a smartphone app that allows them to create, order and share T-shirt designs. With this new app, Uniqlo has established a new way for customers to order a product that they can design themselves. It’s custom clothing for the masses that Uniqlo could expand to hats, pants, polo shirts, tops, dresses and more. The possibilities are only limited by Uniqlo’s scalability in its production and distribution channels.

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Topics: Current trends, Inspiration, Personalization, Customization

Creating Space: When Brands Explore Their Category and Dream Big

Posted by Katie Cantu
May 28, 2014 at 11:08 AM

Envision product momentum with longevity

Space advertising: The final frontier. These are the voyages of Pocari Sweat and its two-year mission to boldly go where no product has gone before.

But seriously—Japanese beverage company Otsuka is taking their sports drink Pocari Sweat to new heights. In October 2015, Pocari Sweat will launch their powdered sports drink to the moon in a titanium capsule designed to mirror their aluminum can. The brand is hopeful that one day the product will be mixed with lunar water that has yet to be discovered.

While they may not be the first brand with astronautic ambition (think Red Bull or Virgin Galactic), Pocari is mastering the momentum game. The 2015 mission is already generating global buzz and introducing consumers to the underdog brand. If Pocari’s strategic stars align, they’ll be able to leverage the suspense throughout the next 17 months and develop a product campaign with exceptional stamina.

Inspire hope in consumers through an aspirational brand journey

Don’t think Pocari is stopping at celestial product placement. In addition to the powdered beverage, the titanium capsule will transport engraved plates with dreams and ideas submitted by people from all over the world.

Instead of simply telling consumers about the mission, the brand is inviting them along for the ride and distributing “dream keys” to participants. Pocari’s audience engagement helps position them as an ambitious brand that champions aspirational experiences.

Ignite brand awareness by creating white space

But what if being aspirational isn’t enough? Leaders like Gatorade and Powerade have spent years crafting their electrolyte-infused messages to aspiring athletes. So Pocari decided to pivot the conversation and create new brand space… and explore it.

The sports drink category landscape was anything but lunar, until now. By venturing into new brand territory, Pocari was able to re-evaluate their demographic and conjure the hopeful astronaut within us all. The unique approach allows them to generate brand awareness and drive product demand with a leg up on the sport-centric competition.

Pocari Sweat is building hope and scientific innovation on the fundamental category truth of aspiration. That alone is pretty stellar. Continue Reading

Topics: Brand building, Inspiration, Non-traditional marketing, Branding and Identity