Last year, I learned how to ride a motorcycle and became the proud owner of a Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350X. I'm in love with the machine and what the company represents. For me, Royal Enfield is a poetry brand that just happens to sell motorcycles.
And so, I curated a Royal Enfield Board on INSPO - my AI Inspiration Partner - to explore future possibilities for RE and hopefully spark some new thinking.
Here are my notes from the Board:
☄️ The RE Meteor 350 launches in September, replacing the Thunderbird 350X due to trademark troubles around Thunderbird. Now what if RE delayed the launch, unveiling the motorcycle during the Draconoids Meteor shower, on 8 October... Picture the story: 350 meteors hurtling down to earth, changing the way we ride forever... Made like a meteor. Maybe RE could inaugurate the launch with an Astral Ride?
🔮 Some brands future-proof themselves through innovation and consciously looking towards the future. Some do it by tapping into nostalgia and looking towards the past. The more time passes, the greater the gulf between present and past; and from that gulf, nostalgia and desire emerge for brands like Royal Enfield. As one HaikuJAM poem expressed, forever the RE lineage will be...
📚 What if authors were commissioned to write stories featuring RE motorcycles? Or even more organic: approach riders who write fiction. RE motorcycles are objects that spark the creative imagination and roar with stories. Seeing a 1961 RE Crusader feature in Michael Chabon's 2007 novel The Yiddish Policemen's Union not only delighted me, but convinced me to purchase the novel and explore more writing by the author... RE Books perhaps?
🏍️ Riding a motorcycle means getting wet, sometimes. But this is confirmation that you're in the scene and not just watching it from the confines of a metal compartment (a car). You're an active observer and the car window frame is gone, thus you're in contact with it all. The ultimate confirmation that you are alive and living the most heightened version of life.
😠 Driving a car on a bad road is a frustrating experience. But on a motorcycle, it's an adventure and creates memories. Might this help explain the immense love for RE in India, where roads are not the best?
🎨 Evocative colours create choice, personality and momentum. Whether it's Microsoft launching a line of Surface products or Royal Enfield introducing new bikes, colours can make all the difference. Brands often forget that consumers largely make decisions based on feelings, not calculation. And interesting colours inspire emotion - often more powerful than from technical features like improved processors and fuel efficient engines.
❓ We don't need to get from here to there. We need to get from there to here... Where here is our inner world in the present moment. So riding a RE motorcycle is a journey of self discovery. An inquiry into our deepest self... A means of tackling the ultimate spiritual question: Who am I?
👹 Beauty and Beast are associations with Royal Enfield motorcycles. And associated with those words are: the film Beauty and the Beast and one of its songs, Tale as old as time. The RE brand is all about nostalgia, tales and timelessness... Is this a magical campaign opportunity with Disney?
🏃♂️ Some want to escape and run away from fear on their Royal Enfields. Is this a chance for RE to tie up with a running brand like Nike and explore what it means to run? But not away from fear: rather, towards it. To the place beyond...
🥱 Is mass ownership commoditising the brand? One Tweet claimed that because every guy owns a RE, the bike looks average... If this sentiment holds true, how can RE address the perceived lack of quality or uniqueness that often accompanies scale? Perhaps it can draw inspiration from brands such as Nike and Apple that are associated with both scale and quality?
🙏 To honour RE, is to honour Chennai (formerly, Madras), the city where its motorcycles are manufactured. There seems to be a yearning for the 'hamlet-tish Madras of slow days' where life felt deeper and artistically richer. RE is the perfect brand to infuse the nostalgia of Madras into the gloss of modern Chennai - for it is a master of looking back to look forwards.
🪐 Ad idea for RE Meteor 350: the motorcycle is as an actual meteor in a galaxy of sleepier, duller and older asteroids, representing competitor motorcycle brands. It outshines them all, except for the oldest and wisest asteroid - the RE Bullet 350 - with whom it shares a beautiful mentor/mentee relationship. It would be incredible to see different RE motorcycles within the same ad.
🚲 If bicycling is a matter of faith, as per one HaikuJAM poem, then motorcycling is a matter of surrender. It's about bowing down to unknown roads, unknown destinations, and letting the roar of the RE engine fill our timid hearts and tired minds with life and possibility.
💓 The heartbeat of a RE rider is different to that of other riders. It's louder, faster and filled with the longing for adventure. It beats like the RE engine itself... This could make for a powerful campaign.
🎖️ The first batch of RE motorcycles in India was for the military. Like so many other innovations, war was a context for innovation and technological progress. But what got RE to India might not be what takes it forwards. Could peace be a context for the future?
🌌 Photography + Motorcycles = Astral Ride --> In 2019, RE organised an Astral Ride where hobbyist photographers rode across the Himalayas taking pictures of the night sky. Which other overlapping niches could RE tap to deepen and expand its community? RE Poetic Rides - for the writers of HaikuJAM?
👳♂️ Campaign idea: celebrate the Ustad (expert) mechanics who can diagnose what's ailing troubled motorcycles simply by their sound. Taking a step back, India is a nation of eclectic sounds and RE could tell a broader story around this.
🚴♂️ The RE tale started with bicycles. It could be nostalgic, bold and possibly refreshing if it launched a bicycle in 2021. While modern motorcycles are being fitted with more bells and whistles, RE takes us back in time to a transportation device that helped usher in the world we know today... Cue the RE Time Traveller.
🔇 RE is working on an electric bike, which will likely have a very different sound. It could even be silent, and this might worry some fans for the thumping engine is one of the brand's most beloved features... But this could be a huge opportunity: a soundless riding experience will mean that you can hear all of the sounds around you. Arguably, you'll be even more in the scene and connected to the elements. One approach for the electric narrative is to tell electricity's origin story: this could get riders excited about the electric future, by recalling electricity's past... Again, looking back to look forwards.
What's new on INSPO?
🖱️ Easier Navigation - you can now glimpse Boards and active HaikuJAM campaigns in a sidebar. This is the first step towards a larger design refresh on INSPO, so stay tuned!
📅 More Events in Marketing Calendar - this should help with planning and brainstorming aorund special days. If you'd like additional events to be included, do let us know.
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