It seems that if you’re doing any kind of business these days (or just bullshooting with your pals), you already know about the phenomenon of social media. Everyone has to have a Facebook page, a Twitter account and a Tumblr page. Motorcycles have a built in appeal, but they don’t sell themselves in a marketplace packed with old-line competitors like Yamaha, Suzuki, KTM and Honda.
So how did Kawasaki, a little fish in the shark tank of motorcycle builders, carve out a respectable niche among those titans of industry?
Back in 1960, Kawasaki signed an agreement to take over Meguro motorcycles, at the time a major player in the burgeoning Japanese motorcycle manufacturing business. Meguro was one of the only Japanese companies making a 500cc motorcycle at that point, and in England and the UK, Meguro’s 500 (a direct knockoff of the BSA A7) was universally hammered for being a cheap copy of that classic British machine. It was, in fact, not a bad motorcycle and it was the genesis of the Kawasaki brand. A year later, Kawasaki had produced its first motorcycle, the B8 125cc two-stroke, and in the following year, the company rolled out a series of the two-stroke models ranging from 50-250cc. It was the 250cc disc-valve ‘Samurai’ model that first caught the eye of US buyers, and by 1966, Kawasaki had developed the 650W1 which took its inspiration from the much-loved BSA A10.
Building solid bikes made Kawasaki a player, they stay in the game with savvy social media skills…
So much for the history, but how did Kawasaki manage to remain competitive against larger rivals in the motorcycle game. The KZ 900 superbike kept them on the map, but according to one theory, though I’m more inclined to think it’s simply because they managed to build a better mousetrap, they did it with their social media prowess.
In this episode of Behind the Brand, Kawasaki’s chief marketing stud, Chris Brull, gives you some insight on how Kawasaki take on the challenge of getting the word out to customers.
According to Brull, his team uses social media to monitor their brand, the industry in general and to take the pulse of digital media and how it affects the business world overall.
Brull says Kawasaki uses social media to revitalize traditional marketing techniques like in-person product demos and they use mobile technology to be accessible to customers twenty-four-seven.