“I ride a Zero” or “my bike is Zero” always seemed like rather negative byproducts of the Zero Motorcycles’ brand to me. Generally speaking, a company should avoid associating their product as being zero or nothing.
Of course, the name is a cue to Zero Motorcycles emission-free motorcycles, using “Zero” as a call to action for those with a green agenda.
This always bothered me too though, since the market for environmentally conscious motorcyclists is incredibly small (at least when it comes to the ones that vote with their wallets), and the production of electricity in the United States isn’t exactly carbon-neutral, but I digress.
Secretly, I have always hoped that Zero would change its name. It would be a single step in a process that would require many, but it would be the bold first step.
The rules for such a drastic change are pretty hard and fast though – with the biggest caveat being that you don’t change a brand unless it is going to affect your bottom line.
This usually means that a company uses a rebranding to define a crack in time – a point where they either compartmentalize the mistakes of the past into the “old brand” while the “new brand” promises a new hope. You also see new logos when a company pivots in a new direction.
Unfortunately for Zero, neither of these examples seem to be the case, and that’s the rub. For Zero, I think you can make a pretty strong argument that the American electric motorcycle marque has its fair share of radioactivity.
Most of Zero’s baggage comes from its early days though, when the product was dreadful, the management team looked like a game of musical chairs, and the business decisions (especially on how to build a dealer network and support staff) were dodgy at best.
Crappy bikes, upset owners, and dealers with burned bridges… Yes, changing the Zero name could do wonders for the Californian company’s bottom line. So, let’s consider today’s news the Diet Coke version of that strategy, as Zero Motorcycles is sporting a new logo.