Seeking to wend their way into the consciousness of urban customers who may not be looking for a car at all – or at least seeking an eco-friendly compliment to the one they have – General Motors is announcing a brace of new eBikes. Their names? Well, that’s up to you.
Before the program rolls out in 2019, the company is holding a crowdsourcing contest in which participants get the chance to submit ideas for what the brand will be named. The bikes are a result of GM’s flexible electrification technologies which enable the company to look beyond the traditional notion of transportation and give consumers freedom of movement in dense urban commuting environments.
Seeking to learn more, we spoke with Jennifer Cathcart, Marketing & Innovation Manager of Urban Mobility at GM. Based in Oshawa, she has experience working with companies like Schwinn and Trek, not to mention a background in cycling advocacy, so it’s safe to say there are more than a few avid enthusiasts working on the program.
“We have a great mix of GM people on the team, including engineers with electrification experience, award-winning designers, and individuals pulled from the bike industry,” explained Cathcart. “The naming contest is a way of providing a voice to potential customers who are passionate about community and urban commuting.”
The electric motor will be proprietary, designed and developed by General Motors. Look for the GM logo to appear on it in some form. From a marketing perspective, this will expose eBike owners to the GM brand, customers who may go on to buy an all-electric Bolt, for example. That strategy is not being communicated by the company but one can certainly argue its logic.
To help name the eBike brand, GM will award a tasty $10,000 to the entrant responsible for the winning title. Nine other participants submitting ideas deemed to be a runner-up will each receive $1,000. In addition to their nifty idea, contestants will need to write a 250-word rationale.
“We blended electrification engineering know-how, design talents, and automotive-grade testing with great minds from the bike industry to create our eBikes,” said Hannah Parish, director of Urban Mobility Solutions at GM and frequent speaker at events like the Connected Cyclist Conference in Europe. “Now we want to expand our thinking beyond the company walls and hear from people who like to move and have rad ideas.”
Offering advice to potential entrants, Cathcart said they’re looking for a name that is smart, bold, provocative, and easily understood by customers in countries ranging from Canada to Belgium. Other markets will include the Netherlands, Germany, the UK, and America.
Cathcart excitedly told us that judging will be carried out by a panel of senior GM marketers and people from Isobar, a brand-building company. Thanks to crowdsourcing rules, the contest is open to those of legal majority.
Distribution and pricing details are yet to be sorted out, however, it seems the goal is actual ownership of the eBikes, not a sharing scheme like the scooters in San Francisco. This is wise, given the challenges facing that industry. Outright ownership also sets a path for the customer to identify with the GM brand and, just maybe, become a longterm customer.
Interested? Be sure to hit up the contest website [www.eBikeBrandChallenge.com] and submit your entry. The contest runs from today through to November 26th at 10:00 am ET. Winners will be announced early next year.
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