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August 05, 2004
Bike Friday nabs Lovemarks prize
A love letter to bicycle company Bike Friday was selected this week among hundreds of entries as the most inspirational company testimonial in the Lovemarks contest. Richard Vallens won a new Toyota Prius for his Bike Friday testimonial.
(Read our profile of Bike Friday marketing guru Lynette Chiang and her work for inspiring customer evangelism).
In May, Chiang asked her customers to show their love on the Lovemarks contest website. She didn't tell them what to write, or give them talking points. Just be honest, she said. Vallens and dozens of other customers answered the call.
My Bike Friday Family Tandem is a flying carpet of great magic, the perfect solution to the eternal quest of doing something with your kids where you can both have fun and truly communicate. My rides with my son (14 now, 8 when we bought the bike) on our Family Tandem are the BEST, absolutely the best memories he and I have. We've had a complete Blast! on this bike - physically close enough to talk and hear well (and conspire), with the bicycling effortlessly filling any gaps in conversation. I’ve learned everything about my son by being close enough to hear as his thoughts and impressions burble out during long Family Tandem rides. So many times, it was just we in our own world, father and son on the Red Bike. Bike Friday is my Lovemark.
Vallens' speech at the announcement ceremony was as equally ebullient (capital letters are his):
If you want to know excitement, hearing you’ve won a car will address that emotion pretty well.
If you want to know challenge, keep the secret from your family for five days, while luring them here tonight without telling the real truth.
If you want to know INSPIRATION, learn that a 35-person company called Bike Friday shined more brightly in this competition than Apple Computer, Harley Davidson, or Honda.
I am just SO enthusiastic about tonight - NOT just because I won a Prius, because we get to SPOTLIGHT such a deserving company. Bike Friday DEFINES a Lovemark. They really, truly do. In winning, all I did was post part of a heartfelt thank you letter I wrote to Bike Friday’s management, telling of my experience with their product. THAT was my Lovemarks entry.
Winning this contest is not about something I did, it’s about something Bike Friday does, and does every day. What they make is custom bicycles, almost all of which fold and go in a suitcase. What they market is enthusiasm, dreams of cycling in far off places, and a worldwide community of owners. And in the case of their Family Tandem that we own, they market precious moments with your children.
When Kevin Roberts describes a Lovemark, he is talking exactly about Bike Friday, and how they do business. Their products DO inspire Loyalty Beyond Reason. I’m living proof. Living proof that now drives a Prius!
Most tellingly, Vallens says winning the contest was not about him, but about Bike Friday. It's authentic, inspiring customer evangelism.
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