BMX and Brand Building | Performance Racing Industry
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BMX and Brand Building
By Bob Haro on November 4, 2014

As a fellow entrepreneur and businessperson, I’ve spent most of my adult life building my own company and brand name. I learned early on the value of name recognition and what it meant to have a successful and marketable name to sell.

Beginning circa 1978, Haro Bikes, the company that grew out of my passion as a BMX rider and artist, blossomed over the years into one of the most successful brands in the BMX market. I learned very quickly that coming up with innovative BMX products was just the beginning. You had to create a strong brand name and image while backing it up with smart and consistent marketing coupled with the best riders in the sport, which helped to build my brand’s equity and value in the marketplace.

I share this story because Haro Bikes was my own personal case study on brand and image development. It taught me the importance of building a strong and marketable name and how this would help Haro Bikes to gain and win customers that purchased and believed in my products.

After the sale of Haro Bikes in 1993, I started Harodesign, a design and marketing agency that specialized in the action and power sports arenas. I took the real-life marketing lessons I’d learned over the years from my bike business and used them to help guide me in developing marketing ideas for my clients’ needs.

This real-world knowledge gave me the opportunity to work with many of the great brands in action and motor sports—brands like Penske, Laguna Seca Raceway, Daytona Speedway, Red Bull, Nike, Oakley and many more that came to trust Harodesign in building their brands.

Know Your Competition
The product or service you provide to your customers is the essence of your business, and through these innovative ideas your customers gain confidence in your brand name. With this earned confidence, your brand’s marketability increases—and with it, so should sales and your business’s value.

Whether you’re a small or large enterprise, how you position your brand in business should be addressed strategically. For example, examine the business landscape of your market, familiarize yourself with their pricing, know your competitors and how they position and market their products. Arming yourself with this information will help you to develop your strategy and enable you to make smarter marketing decisions. This information will also let you see your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, and how you should navigate and position your products or services in your campaign.

Cut the Clutter
In our busy, media-saturated world, we are constantly bombarded with advertising and marketing messages. Every time we look online, read a magazine, watch TV or check in on our social media, we are subject to hundreds of advertising messages daily. And because of this excess of information, consumers will sometimes tune out the noise, and your marketing efforts then fail to deliver their message.

Brands today need to cut through this information clutter to get noticed, and if you keep your visual message simple and direct—with your logo marks clean and legible—it will help you to cut through this media clutter.

Less is More
Too many times you’ll see advertising and sales literature that is overly wordy or visually cluttered. So much, in fact, that it is difficult to decipher what the actual message is, what the product does, or what the company is selling! I call this graphic pollution!

For myself, I subscribe to a “less is more” approach when developing marketing tools for my customers. I find that with a less cluttered approach, the message can breathe and work more effectively within a cluttered media space. It allows your marketing to hit harder and to be more direct, so that its message is not lost in a cloud of copy, complex graphics or competing advertisements.

Trackside has similar challenges. Now that you’re sponsoring that local or national hotshot to rock your logo on their driving suit and car’s quarter panel, you need to make sure it gets noticed. While it’s cool brand association with the driver, if you can’t read what the logo says or it gets lost in the clutter of all the other brands on their race suit, you might be wasting valuable marketing dollars.

Keep it Simple
When thinking of designing a logo for your business, keep it simple, clean and easy to read. Making it unique in order to differentiate your mark from the others is important, but always make sure it reads clearly. Make sure your design works on several different types of media and holds up well in various applications. It’s important to know how it works before you spend hard dollars to develop and trademark your logo.

When I developed my own logo, I looked for inspiration from global brands like Nike, Starbucks, Oakley and Apple—brands that I aspired for my brand to be like. I looked both within and outside the markets to give me new ideas and a fresh perspective to see what works in other unrelated industries.
Gathering these examples will provide ideas and give you a direction to build from for your new brand mark. Again, aim to keep your new trademark simple and hard-edged and not too trendy, as you’ll want the design to be timeless and not get dated.

These are just a few ideas I wanted to share, and hopefully you’ll find these helpful as you build and develop your brand image. It’s a process, for sure, but with time your brand’s equity will increase from your innovative ideas, hard work and smart marketing efforts.

All the best to you!

About the Author
Bob Haro's picture
Bob Haro is the owner & creative director of Harodesign, Inc. in California, a design and marketing agency. 760/753-9301 or inquiry@harodesign.com.
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