Instead of telling consumers that his motorcycles were innovative, well-built, powerful, fun to ride, and so on – as most motorcycles are, Schmidt said that he avoided those overused marketing and business labels when promoting his bikes. The above descriptions could describe any of his competition and he wasn’t going to go there with Harley Davidson. There had to be a solid reason why a motorcycle enthusiast would buy a $24,000 Harley Davidson when they could easily buy essentially the same bike made by Honda for $8,000?
Unlike most Honda motorcycle owners, however, Harley Davidson owners are passionate about their bikes – really passionate. How did they create this passion when just 20 years ago, the company nearly closed up shop? Schmidt allowed his customers to become human beings. Against all conventional wisdom, he transformed his customers into human beings who became disciples of the brand. How did this happen? He let them own their Harleys.
Well, they bought them, so they should own them, right? Yes, but he allowed his Harley disciples to build their own bikes, providing them with custom parts to individualize their rides so when they pulled up aside another Harley, each rider could compare – or simply show off in front of other motorists and pedestrians. The key ingredient in this recipe is: “me”.
Schmidt added that we all have a “look at me” complex and riding an eardrum shattering, custom chromed-out Harley Davidson is one of the ultimate ways of telling people to “look at me”. It’s unavoidable. As a result, these folks have true ownership in their bike and they are not shy about it. It’s theirs and only theirs, but they are more than happy to share what’s theirs so others will take notice of them – especially other riders. And that’s what passes on the word about Harley Davidson and creates this sought after discipleship. This discipleship is where their repeatable message occurs.
One proof-in-the-pudding note before proceeding: $24,000 Harley Davidsons outsell $8,000 Hondas 13 to 1.
So what does this message mean for your credit union?
Sure, you can boast about your tremendously low rates, excellent services, and cutting edge technology services. But nearly every other FI is saying the same thing – whether it’s true or not. Since these attributes are somewhat commonplace throughout the FI world, what’s unique about you? Here’s where you will find your repeatable message? What are you doing that will get your members talking about you?
Harley Davidson has its devote “motorhead” disciples. Apple has its loyal “think different” followers. And Las Vegas has its daring “What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas” audience – which ironically prompts the opposite action: people DO talk about what happened to them in Vegas. And it has obviously proven very effective for the city.
Each of those examples, and there are plenty more, represents a repeatable message that easily spreads via their disciples to create a buzz about the brand almost effortlessly. Harley riders, iPad users, and Las Vegas visitors talk relentlessly about their experiences – not how much it cost or how many features are offered or why they visited. They talk about the experience – and it’s repeated.
What experience does your credit union provide a member? Is it memorable? Is it repeatable? Will it spread?
What is your repeatable message that a member can spread to the masses?
How will a member truly take ownership of their credit union and spread the word? For example, do they really know what it means to be a member/owner? Is this important fact succinctly and effectively stressed in any marketing efforts?
As Schmidt stated in his presentation: “Don’t be the best-kept secret in town.” Provide a unique experience for your members that is shareable, repeatable, and viral. Give your members something that will fuel their passion and prompt them to become disciples and nurture that “look at me” complex that drives us all – that ultimately benefits you.
If you would like to discuss your repeatable message, let's connect today.