Why didn't you tell me this was coming?
Aug 21, 2020 4:05 pm
Hello Content Creators!
Ooof. I spent five hours writing a single story yesterday.
It was a summary of patent filings from Campagnolo, a bike component brand.
Actually, they're one of the three dominant bicycle drivetrain manufacturers, somewhere right behind Shimano and SRAM in terms of volume, but right there with them in terms of brand equity and product quality. That's important, and here's why:
It's OK to leak your own news
Many brands protect their upcoming products, swearing us journalists to secrecy, putting images behind password-protected walls, and supplying strict embargoes. And they should. Mostly, you want to control your product release schedule.
But it's OK to put out teasers.
For a brand like Campagnolo, I think this patent filing exposé has nothing but upside.
Campy gets waaaaay less OEM spec than SRAM or Shimano, and they don't have a dedicated "gravel bike" group to compete with the others. And that's what this patent story was about: New products, designs and technology that seem geared perfectly for gravel bikes.
So, now people know that Campy has something coming, and fans will wait for it. Trust me, I once waited six months to buy a new mountain bike because I heard my favorite brand was working on the type of bike I wanted.
And it's not going to cannibalize their own sales because they don't have a "gravel" group already sitting on shelves and bikes. So, this leak won't piss off their dealers and OEM customers, but it might pull a few people away from their competition.
Even though I've read the patent, I really want to see how it works in real life. They've seriously piqued my interest and illustrated (yet again) that they can innovate the hell outta some bike parts. I'm paying attention to Campagnolo again, and what brand wouldn't want that?
But it doesn't always make sense
If Campy's situation were different, they may not have wanted this out there. Brands with current stock flooding the supply chain want to make sure people will still buy current product and not wait for the new one.
If their IP weren't protected, they probably wouldn't want their competition knowing about it. In some cases, their product partners (like, say, a bicycle frame manufacturer that's going to spec these parts) may not want to be named in any leak because it could give away that brand's secrets, too.
And yeah, sometimes an Amazon knockoff could even hit the store before yours (which is why you need a strong brand with loyal fans!). It's not always complex, but it's worth thinking through the pros and cons and checking with the affected parties just to be safe.
OK, so what should I do?
Full disclosure, a Bikerumor reader tipped me off and I found the patents online, Campy had nothing to do with this story. But they should have. And maybe you should consider making something like this happen, too.
If you're looking to pre-hype a launch or new feature, what tidbit could you leak to your favorite editor?
Or could you just show a partial image on social? Pose a leading question on Twitter? Get an influencer to tease it in a photo or story?
How can you get a conversation started that builds interest and demand so that when it's time to launch, people are paying attention... and waiting in line to buy?
A recent content project
Think about the difference between corporate and legal communications, internal communications, and public facing communications.
Trust me, nobody wants to read patent filings. They're the worst. I needed a beer halfway through.
But my Campy patent article? Easy to read. Easy to understand. Heck, I even woke up to a few complimentary emails about it from other folks in the bike industry.
And that's because it was written for my audience of consumers. Approachable for new riders, but deep enough to satisfy the total bike geeks among us, too. Which is the point of all of our stories: Explain products in a way that resonates with our readers (aka: your customers), illustrates the key features and benefits, and gives the insights and info to let them form their own opinions about whether it's right for them.
My point? When it's time to move from engineering drawings, patent legalese, and internal shorthand to something you're going to put in front of your customers, make sure it's speaking their language. Sometimes, you need an outside set of eyes on it to make sure you're not glossing over something because you're too familiar with it.
Need help reviewing something before it goes out? Hit me up.
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Cool Stuff I've Found
This week, it's all about packing light and looking good...
Camelbak Multibev - We literally have a drawer full of water bottles and insulated stainless travel mugs. And we're trying to reduce clutter. So having one thing that does many things is key, and the new Camelbak Multibev is just that. It has a 16oz cup surrounding a 22oz bottle, with a silicone cup lid that stashes inside the bottle's lid. Or put snacks in there. Not only does it save room in the drawer, it's fewer things to bring for travel while saving me from disposable single-use cups and lids. Brilliant.
Mission Workshop Orion Rain Jacket - I've had this jacket for years, and it goes everywhere with me. It's ultralight, perfectly waterproof, and breathable enough. It packs down small, so it's easy to stow into a hydration pack for adventures, or cram into that last little space in my suitcase. And it's durable...I've used it for hiking, scrambling, mountain biking, and traveling the globe, and it still looks new. Which it should, because it's ridiculously expensive. But it's the only rain coat I've needed for years, and I suspect for years to come.
Tommy Breeze Trucker Caps - While just a tad on the big side, I really love the huge selection of colors and simple graphics of Tommy Breeze's hats (they have more than just trucker caps). I don't need to advertise someone's brand on my hat, but I love a good graphic and the ability to color coordinate (just a little, nothing weird).
Pack light and let it go,
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