Monthly Archives: November 2008

vespa from oz

New Orleans alternative radio station WWOZ – one of my top five internet faves for the hippest in blues and jazz and the only consistent source for cajun, zydeco and swamp rock – is raffling off this icon of scooterdom, complete with autographs, to one lucky ticket buyer come May 9, 2009

Donated by The Transportation Revolution, New Orleans franchise dealer for Ducati, Triumph, Piaggio and Vespa, this kind of promotional tie-in is perfect for dealerships in need of a marketing shot in the arm. Go here to see how the station’s doing their part in making sure this Vespa is seen around town.

Signers (so far) include Terence Blanchard, Randy Newman, Irma Thomas, Marcia Ball and Dr. John, along with assorted Nevilles and a bevy of other notables.

save a spot for SPOT

I was four-fifths into Day One of the 2008 Cycle World Trek and headin’ for home when it dawned on me I might be – was – lost. Misplaced. Whatever. Cellphone, GPS, map and compass notwithstanding, I was having a little trouble with my bearings.

In the Sierras, lost is one thing. Lost and disabled is quite another. Just ask, well, just ask those guys they finally found a few years ago, freshly thawed after being frozen in a glacier for the last six decades. At least the bears didn’t eat ’em like Popsicle h’or douvres.

With a low fuel warning light on, the notion of sustaining a twisted ankle or worse nagged a little. EPRBs have long been a mainstay of sailors, but now comes a handy little device that’s affordable, dependable and with a variety of uses other than 911 come find me. SPOT.

SPOT might be just the gadget offroaders, solo tourers, or anyone who strays from civilization’s path long enough to escape traffic lights and homicidal drivers is looking for. Or should pack anyway.

This compact satellite messenger can transmit bread crumbs to your homies, summon the cavalry, check in with your honey or send a pick up location at ride’s end. And at just under $170, the device is very affordable, as are the service plan (required) options.

we want homer! now!

I’m sometimes asked, “What, exactly, is PR?” Much more than the latest product release, public relations at its core is called on to put a public face on corporate behavior.

The latest, and best, example to date of seat-of-the-pants we don’t need no stinkin’ pr came when The Not So Big Three ambled their way to DC for some help from the public.

Forget the ordinary workers and businesses across the country who were depending on them. Ford, GM and Chrysler ceos landed clueless, cozy and comfortable just in time to be ridiculed from the cheap seats for their chutzpah.

For comparison, imagine if the airline chief execs showed up begging for help in Bentleys and Rolls Royces. Jeez, a blind man on a galloping horse could’ve seen this coming.

But no, Detroit’s elite decided to ignore what we surely can imagine were impassioned pleas from corporate public relations folk begging them to brown bag it to Washington.

So what happened? No money, honey, and probably less than they would have gotten when they finally do get their paws in the public coffers.

Perception counts, in any industry.

what works might surprise you

Rising like a beacon in the night from a sea of mediocrity and sameness, Florida independent dealer St. Pete Powersports starts every day fresh by sticking to the basics. The basics of good housekeeping.

After one more disappointing trip to a local one-time Top 100 dealer I began to despair at ever walking into a showroom that was clean, well lit, organized and inviting. Then I wandered into General Manager Mike Siano’s pride and joy. Continue reading

fix it in photoshop?

As ESPN’s Lee Corso says, “Not so fast, my friends!” The Associated Press recently suspended its distribution of source material from the U.S. Army’s Public Information Office after receiving this clumsy alteration of Ann Dunwoody, the first female four-star general.

What’s the powersports connection? PR 101 teaches that above all never poison the well. Product enhancement is not only routine but expected, but if your goal is communicating actual events and one of the proofs is an authentic visual record, risking acceptance by changing content is a big no-no. Continue reading

it’s not politics – it’s marketing

This isn’t about politics. No. The just concluded election turned the corner on how America communicates and in the process opened the door to the new face of marketing that’s savvy, smart and hip.

Reporting in the October 13, 2008 edition of Powersports Business News, editor Neil Pascale singled out brand consultant Paul Leinberger’s comments from the Suzuki national dealer meeting in Las Vegas. Ready? “The most important thing you have at your dealership is your web site.” Continue reading