Branding is essentially a marketing term used to categorize you and convey a specific message. It’s NOT who you are. It’s the perception of who you are and like beauty, it’s in the eyes of the beholder. As a child, my dad told me Del Monte meant “kill the farmer.” Obviously he was feeling squeezed by a giant food producer and that has stuck with me to this day.
It’s the tangible way you reflect personal philosophies and personalities. It reflects your values, perspectives and interests. Not only do you run impressions of people and things through your own filter and assign them a brand, you also label yourself based on those that have been assigned to you. You immediately form opinions of the motorcycle – and its rider – based on whether it’s a BMW, Yamaha, Honda, Harley-Davidson or Ducati.
Just like preconceived notions can lead you to misjudge the appropriateness of a motorcycle, so too can you misjudge others. These elements on which a motorcycle brand is created, can become judgment traps.
Avoid basing branding strategies for yourself and judgment of others on these elements.
7 Branding Strategies to Avoid
Size. While there is a correlation between engine displacement (cc’s) and power output, it’s not a given. Likewise, you can’t determine a person’s capabilities or personalities by their physical size and shape.
Color/Stature. You joke about whether a black bike is faster/nimbler/prettier/more powerful than a blue bike. In reality, color makes no difference. Just like age, skin or hair color make no difference to who you are as beings. Differences in seat height, center of gravity and suspension can make an 800 pound cruiser easier to handle at slow speeds than a 500 pound dual sport bike. Individuals vary too. Don’t form an opinion based on first impression without knowing all the facts. You’ll likely be wrong.
Functionality, features. There are all kinds of options to purchase over and above the standard bike but unless they enhance safety, that they’re available doesn’t mean you need them. Likewise, you often make your lives overly complex, just because advertising has convinced you you need something.
Accessories. There are lots of gizmos and gadgets you accumulate and granted, they can add convenience, but they don’t speak to the capabilities of the machine. Similarly, choices you make can camouflage your brand.
Heritage. Even a new motorcycle has a legacy, depending on experiences with others in its brand. The family, culture and society into which I arrived on this earth were instrumental in shaping the thoughts, attitudes and beliefs that guided my early behavior. Traditions, role models, religion, fairy tales and myths all passed down from one generation to the next, set the expectations based on cultural norms,
Stock issue. This is what your bike is – or who you are – before people start working on you. The setting you’re born into initially establishes your brand but as you become more self-aware and evolve, you come to realize that often, the branding that’s been thrust upon you by others is not who you are. Like the ugly duckling, you sense you don’t fit and at some point strike out to find the tribe where you do belong.
Reviews, opinions of others. People base motorcycle purchases on journalists reviews and experiences of others. It’s really good to do your research, but in the end, it’s important to realize that the opinions of others percolate through their filters, their thoughts and beliefs.
Your brand is one of your most valuable assets and you control it. It’s something you create to express who you are, not something you are pigeonholed into because of an arbitrary label. Likewise, avoid using these classifications to form opinions of others.
photo credit: doubleyou_em via photopin cc