PowerSports Business

Powersports Business - May 25, 2015

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6 • May 25, 2015 • Powersports Business NEWS www.PowersportsBusiness.com to touch everybody." He added, "I just like to treat people how I want to be treated." BRANDING AT KÜRYAKYN When reflecting on his first 16 months at Küryakyn, Mohr said, "A lot of changes, I think, sums it up. I think we in all forms made adjustments. We basically have a new manage- ment team. We kicked off a lot of initiatives around product and brand and staff. Those were the focuses last year." Küryakyn not only changed its culture, added new employees and updated processes and procedures during Mohr's tenure so far, but the company was also able to launch new brands as well. Crusher, the Performance Divi- sion of Küryakyn, was unveiled at Sturgis in August, and Bahn, a line of motorcycles acces- sories free of names and logos, was revealed at V-Twin Expo in February. "We're trying to get really good at brand management and designing products around those brands … so that was a huge initiative last year," Mohr said. The Crusher brand was launched with the new Maverick exhaust line, along with some performance products Küryakyn previously had but Mohr felt weren't getting enough atten- tion under the Küryakyn brand. "Some of the things we always did; we just gave it a name. Or we refreshed brands that were already existing by putting some horse- power behind them and giving them an edge," Mohr said. "You get a little bit more precise on finding the right brand for the right product for the right consumer. If you connect those dots, I think it can be very powerful. I believe that the dealers, the brick and mortar dealers, they actu- ally benefit from that a lot because now we're driving specific customers into their stores for specific products." Bahn was developed for riders who want to customize their motorcycles without the names and logos that come on traditional motorcycle accessories. The Bahn accessories are made of all premium-grade forged aluminum and preci- sion machined with features that contrast with their chrome or black anodized finishes. "It really talks to a different consumer. We have some very loyal Küryakyn customers; they love us; they love what the brand stands for, but there's other consumers that have dif- ferent needs, different style ideas, and with the Bahn brand, we're trying to cater to that customer," Mohr said. Without logos or branding on the product itself, the Bahn line opens Küryakyn up to reach- ing new audiences, especially internationally, and to pairing Bahn products with those already on the market from other brands. Performance Machine wheels, for example, pair well with Bahn accessories, Mohr said. (Performance Machine is also under the MAG umbrella.) "There are two or three Harley dealers that said, 'This is perfect for me. This is a great addi- tion to what I have from Harley. It's a great addition to the two or three brands that I focus on in the aftermarket.' They're really excited about it. When you hear that stuff, then you think that you've really got something that can be really strong." The Bahn line, which currently fits Harley- Davidson and Victory bikes, also comple- ments a number of Küryakyn accessories. Küryakyn wants dealers to merchandise the two by each other, so customers can mix and match themselves. "You have a consumer that goes into a deal- ership inquiring about the Bahn product, and all of a sudden he realizes there's actually some cool stuff on the Küryakyn wall that comple- ments the Bahn product as well. Just like we do with our bikes, people put a Bahn bike together and have the Küryakyn Kinetic line comple- menting it or other product that's just flow- ing really well," Mohr said. "We believe they can drive each other. Bahn drives Küryakyn; Küryakyn drives Bahn. There really is a partner- ship there." The Bahn line has also created other oppor- tunities never before explored by Küryakyn. Bahn teamed up with Jim Nasi earlier this year, as Nasi created a Bahn-inspired custom bagger that was unveiled at Daytona Bike Week. "Küryakyn has never done anything like this in the past, teaming up with an outside designer and bike builder like that, and Jim Nasi is a big deal, globally, too, not just for the United States. That's not something we used to do, and I think it really represents Bahn tre- mendously well," Mohr said. Though the Bahn product, even on his packaging, has little reference to Küryakyn, Mohr said there will never be a complete dis- connect between the two, and that's important, at least from an industry standpoint. "There's always going to be a connection to Küryakyn somehow, as much as you want to make sure it's its own deal. Definitely for the dealers, I think it's important that they know it is from Küryakyn, and it comes with 26 years now of experience and reliability, everything we stand for from a quality perspective, from a customer service perspective," Mohr explained. OVERCOMING BRAND CHALLENGES As Küryakyn adds new brands, the company has had to enhance a number of aspects of the business. For one, Küryakyn has had to focus more on branding and how to differentiate each brand. "That just makes the whole thing more complex; that's why we need somebody that's responsible for brand management and more people focusing on product development because we need to always be thinking about what product, what brand, what packaging goes along with it, what sales channel does it touch. It gets more complex," Mohr said. That's where Veltri's hire came in. Mohr said upon hiring Veltri that improving Küryakyn's branding capabilities is imperative to the com- pany's growth and important to Küryakyn's overall business plan. One initiative Küryakyn is focused on this year is studying its packaging, from what cus- tomers see on a shelf, to what they experience upon opening the package that their Küryakyn, Crusher or Bahn product is housed in. Küryakyn also carefully considered the mar- keting look of each brand, focusing not only on differentiating each, but also on which custom- ers each brand will touch. Küryakyn now has different POP, marketing materials and rally and events displays for each brand. Küryakyn has also reworked its rally and events schedule, exhibiting not only at the big rallies but also at other consumer and dealer events throughout the year. "The rallies were super important — they are still very important — but we're now also trying to talk to other consumers. That's why … we attended consumer events like the IMS, or the EICMA and Intermot shows in Europe," Mohr said. Rallies and events are now more marketing driven, rather than sales driven, as they have been in the past. That's just one reason Küryakyn hired Berst to revamp its events presence. "It really helps drive consumers into deal- erships, of course, for the product, whatever brand it is," Mohr said. "That's our ideal circle — you talk to the consumer, educate them; they and a bunch of their friends go to the dealer and ask for our product. And it works; we've seen it working." Küryakyn also attended more dealer shows in 2014 than it had in the past, returning to V-Twin Expo for the first time in a few years and expand- ing its booth space at events like the Parts Unlim- ited and Drag Specialties Regional Showcases. "The dealer is, to me personally, a huge focus," Mohr said. "They need to be educated, trained, comfortable with merchandising our product and selling to consumers. That's the focus of our brand reps when they visit with their dealers, to help with the education pro- cess. We're trying to be stronger at attending dealer events with our distributor partners, which is important, but also directly, we bring our team to events." PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT When it comes to now housing three brands, Küryakyn staff also has to think about develop- ing new product for each. "Our goal is to tremendously increase the output of new products on all brands," Mohr reported. "First of all, Küryakyn, that is our core No. 1 brand; we shouldn't forget about that, but then specifically around performance on the Crusher side, the Performance Division; Bahn on the premium accessory line; XKürsion luggage and other soft goods, etc. Our goal is to come out with more product than we ever did, and that's why we're heavily investing into product development — new employees first of all, designers, engineers, product managers, but then tools, testing equipment, etc." More than three-quarters of Küryakyn's additional investment for 2015 is going toward product development. To improve product development, Küryakyn has purchased new design software and precision measurement and accelerated weather-testing equipment to help its designers conceptualize and then quality-test their designs. The design team's workspace was also recently restructured to encourage more collaboration. Mohr credits Amenda with taking charge of and improving the product development area, since his July hire. "He has, No. 1, created a new team, a combi- nation of seasoned designers and some younger talent that joined us, but then also created a product development process, so we can be way more effective as a company and way more effective in our product development side of the business. Those are things we haven't done in the past," Mohr said. "When I joined Küryakyn, MOHR CONTINUED FROM PAGE 4 Küryakyn has recently invested in new design software and precision measurement and accelerated weather- testing equipment. Küryakyn VP of product development Pete Amenda, left, and president Holger Mohr, center, work with a designer at the company's Somerset, Wis., headquarters. Bahn, the latest brand offering from Küryakyn, was launched at the V-Twin Expo in February. Its products feature no names or logos to appeal to a new set of customers. See Mohr, Page 7

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