Chris Matthews of Specialized Bicycles is schooling us all on Brand Awesomeness. It’s now defined term. Chris has way firmer thighs than you. Awesomeness doesn’t matter if you are the biggest gorilla in your industry you can still be awesome. As it happens, Specialized is huge their particular segment with approx $400-$500M revenues, 1500 dealers in USA, 200 in Canada and 40+ countries around the world yet still maintain a passionate customer base.
Brand Awesomeness: All that matters is doing stuff that makes sense to your customers.
What makes a ton of sense for specialized customers is the Specialized Riders Club an awesomely feature-rich community site for cyclists. You can create a profile, you can create a profile for each of your bikes in super-geek detail, you can find rides and riders in yours or any zip code. You can keep journals post ride stories and photos and gossip with community members about gear and rides and whatever it is cycle freaks talk about.
They were expecting hardcore rides to like it the best. Unexpectedly It made the biggest difference for new riders to help them find rides and how to get involved in the community.
People won’t tell you outright that you should build a brand community. But as a tipoff, you might think of this as a big red flag that your customers are ready for a brand-centric community:
“Does Specialized have an authorized tattoo? I am considering having the logo “S” tattooed on the lower part of my right calf. Do I need some kind of copyright authorization?” (they sent him the .eps file)
It did take longer than expected before membership accelerated. It was the second version with more features to let the community members talk to each other that seemed to do the trick. And time for users to learn what they were always missing.
Chris’ presentation rocked the show tonight. I hope he might post the slides and speaker notes to his site.
Thank you Eli and volunteers for bringing together another CaseCamp. Always a highlight of the camp circuit. Get your flickr fix here. I’ll update these posts with photos soon as I get the chance.