MIC is taking steps to not only bring in and excite new riders, but also to bring awareness about motorcyclists to non-riders.
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A strategy playbook, a new online portal for new riders, and a new director of ridership position highlighted an afternoon presentation to hundreds of guests at this year’s Motorcycle Industry Council Communications Symposium.
“More Riders, Riding More – The Ridership Session” outlined these action plans for the developing industry-wide initiative, presented by MIC staff and strategic consulting company Centauric at the Nov. 21 symposium in Long Beach, Calif., which saw a record number of attendees. The Ridership Session was free and open to anyone in the industry, and was live-streamed as well.
Video of “The Ridership Session” can be viewed at mic.org/ridership.
Helping non-riders gain an awareness of motorcycling and consider riding is at the heart of the new strategy playbook, a free, shared roadmap that the MIC will make available to the whole industry. A beta version was available for the audience to see on their mobile devices. Months of research revealed that almost all potential motorcyclists – from any background, age, gender, or race – if spoken to with specifically themed messages, can be well on their way to identifying with the riding experience. The playbook will help companies assess their messaging and identify what needs to change to help accelerate an interest in riding among new audiences.
“If we can align our messages – and I’m speaking to everyone in this room and across our industry – if we can align our messages to what these people want and need to hear, and we can create experiences that address the barriers they’ve identified, we will succeed in creating a new, modern era of riders and riding,” said Larry Little, MIC vice president and the staff project lead on the ridership initiative. He reiterated that while the MIC is making the initial investment in a long-term industry program, it will be incumbent on all of the industry working together, with the newly developed knowledge, to create new riders.
To help get future motorcyclists past the barriers to riding, the MIC is building a primary online portal where potential riders can learn more about riding, training, equipment, gear, rider groups, and all things motorcycling. This gateway to the riding experience will be branded and designed so that information is easy to access, with tools to help people navigate their path.
“Of course, this is attractive to a generation used to having information at their fingertips,” said MIC President and CEO Erik Pritchard. “Here’s the bottom line: If we want more people to ride more, we must remove barriers, make it as easy as possible for them and connect motorcycle riding with positive emotions. This portal to motorcycling is the first, essential step for our collective efforts to succeed.”
To oversee these efforts, the MIC will hire a director of ridership, a new position at the association. The ridership initiative will be the director’s sole, full-time job, and will be supported by other MIC staff.
Pritchard added that, going forward, the entire industry must be expansive and speak to a broader, more diverse population who would choose to ride if provided the right opportunity and connection to the experience. The industry must also be consumer-centric, paying attention to what potential riders feel, think, want, and need, and making sure the experience, message, or product is designed to match their perspectives.
He said the industry must be comprehensive and must connect with potential riders on an emotional and rational level, instead of focusing on technical specs. We must be responsible, Pritchard said, and promote safe riding, and we need to be collaborative, with everyone’s actions supporting the strategy playbook as well as their individual company’s success.
Tina Beranbaum, Centauric behavioral scientist, stressed that this is a big, collaborative effort. She said there is an as-yet untapped audience of people we might not have thought of as potential riders, and we must be working together as an industry to capture their interest. “The potential is much bigger than you might have imagined.”
The Motorcycle Industry Council exists to preserve, protect, and promote motorcycling through government relations, communications, and media relations, statistics and research, aftermarket programs, development of data communications standards, and activities surrounding technical and regulatory issues. As a not-for-profit national industry association, the MIC seeks to support motorcyclists by representing manufacturers, distributors, dealers, and retailers of motorcycles, scooters, ATVs, ROVs, motorcycle/ATV/ROV parts, accessories and related goods and services, and members of allied trades such as insurance, finance and investment companies, media companies, and consultants.
The MIC is headquartered in Irvine, Calif., with a government relations office in metropolitan Washington, D.C. First called the MIC in 1970, the organization has been in operation since 1914. Visit the MIC at mic.org.