Electric bikes haven’t always been the go-to for transportation, growing at a snail’s pace since they first hit the market around 2006. In the decade that followed, they managed to reach only about 1-2 percent of the bicycle market.
They’ve taken a long time to gain traction, but in the last 5 years, electric bicycles (E-bikes) have managed to take a significant part of the bicycle market share. Interestingly, this trend was originally driven by the silver generation. Now, E-bikes have become a fashionable, high quality and distinct asset of modern society.
So when Derek Scheinman approached us to brand his new E-bike business, we were happy to jump on board.
Branding for Early Adopters or Early Majority?
We followed the meticulous process that we undertake for every identity project, beginning with a ton of research on the landscape. Our research pointed to the fact that though the category is only a few years old, the case can be made that the lifecycle has moved beyond the “early adopters” stage and into the early majority section of the curve.
With this change in the lifecycle stage, our research and past experience told us that the “early adopter” messaging route of educating customers how your solution is new, better, and different from older technology would no longer carry (as much) traction.
Instead, the messaging of the brand would have to focus on building a preference for the as-yet-unnamed e-bikes over competitors’ products.
Archetypes and Personas – the foundation of a Brand Identity
Understanding the audience personas and developing a brand personality the audience could relate to is key to brand success. This step is not about appealing to everyone, but about understanding the audience, and crafting a brand personality that would attract the right customers.
We focused on four customers that our research pointed to as those who best described the audience for e-bikes.
- Charley Commuter, young and highly educated with an above-average income.
- Boomer Bill, older but fairly fit, who rides self-reliance, freedom and a little exercise.
- Hilltop Harry, the adventure sports enthusiast, who loves the thrill of the e-bike speed and acceleration.
- Maya Mom who wants to travel in the city with her young son without worrying about parking, or hills.
Based on our research of the customer personas, we narrowed the primary brand archetype down to The Explorer, with a secondary archetype of The Maverick with a little influence of The Hero Archetype added in for good measure.
Explorer brands are innovative and ambitious, promoting individuality, excitement, and a way to experience new things. The Maverick and Hero archetype influence the Explorer personality with their outspoken fearless ideas, and love for a challenge.
We positioned the e-bikes as an environmentally-friendly, modern mobility solution with the key messaging covering features including quality that lasts, long-range and multiple pedal-assist levels.
We helped the client craft the brand messaging from the ground up, blurring the line between the message and the product, with suggestions for safety and security innovations that fit in with the brand personality and messaging.
We advised mobile app-linked bike locking and monitoring through GPS with notifications and tracking if the bike is moved while locked.
Built-in safety features were also recommended including a round, cherry-red tail light with an automatic braking sensor that flashed brighter while decelerating or emergency braking.
Other important messaging included the industry-leading 3-year warranty and worry-free repairs, as well as a mobile repair van that we suggested be built into their service offering. The bikes would be delivered fully assembled with no shipping costs to the customer.
Brand Identity Design
What’s in a name?
We needed a strong, creative brand name to achieve separation from customers, while making an emotional connection and reinforcing the unique value proposition.
A strong brand name would be a story in itself, turning into a self-sustaining PR vehicle while giving us the opportunity to derive powerful marketing and advertising imagery from it.
Keeping the archetypes and customer personas in mind, we set out to pick a name, to pave a fresh way into the hearts and minds of customers. Exploring options drawing on mythology, animals, locations, and feelings we proposed six qualified names, with each one a great fit for the brand personality and offering.
The one that clicked was a not-so-obvious choice, looking at the brand archetype. The client preferred the name Cherry, associating service and safety, our unique value proposition, to be the ‘cherry on top’ of a great offering.
The connection with nature, the bold colors, and the fun, striking shape made it the perfect choice, as we discovered when we moved on to the logo design.
We designed three logos, each one with its merits, but one clearly stood out.
The E in the first logo is transformed into a stylized power button symbol to represent the e-bikes.
In the second design, we adapted the chainwheel and a lightning bolt to form the logo mark.
Deriving the logo mark from the typical depiction of cherries, crossing that with a bike, and adding the leaf to represent the eco-friendly alternative that Cherry provides, it all fell in place and fit perfectly with the brand personality and messaging.
Going through the process step-by-step, with appropriate checkpoints and decision-making at the right intervals allowed us to create an identity for Cherry E-bikes that stands out from their competitors, catches customer attention, and allows the intended brand archetypes to shine through.
For a free brand consultation, schedule a call with our expert today.
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