How Cervélo Cycles Uses Social Media to Get the Word Out
Cervélo Cycles was established in 1995 with 2 engineers. Their passion is to create bicycles that are aerodynamically designed for speed and winning races—and they deliver. They were the youngest and smallest bike company to ever sponsor a top-level cycling team. In the 2005 Tour de France, David Zabriske rode the fastest time trial in the race’s history on a Cervélo P3C. Carlos Sastre won the 2008 Tour de France on a Cervélo. Cervélo bikes were ridden by more than 40 athletes in the Beijing Olympics, resulting in three gold, five silver, and two bronze medals (Scott, 2011). Cervélo designs some of the fastest bikes in the world. Their bikes cost anywhere from $3,000 to more than $5,000. They are a small company with a niche clientele of elite athletes and serious amateurs, yet their bicycles are sold all over the world.
Cervélo cofounder, Gerard Vroomen, will tell you that, although he initially wrote all of the content for the Cervélo website, he is an engineer and not a marketer. There are no marketing people at Cervélo. But Vroomen is wrong. He is the ideal social media marketer. His online content is comprised of compelling stories, product education, engaging conversations, and entertainment (Scott, 2011). The content is valuable and authentic. It appeals to people that are ready to make a purchase and to those that are just browsing. You can find Cervélo on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and iTunes Vodcasts. You can subscribe to their newsletter or contribute to their online forum. Vroomen says, “We take as gospel that people have to see the product five different ways [for us] to really get the credibility” (Scott, 2013). Cervélo makes a great product, but you don’t have to take Vroomen’s word for it. You can listen to audio interviews and videos with the Cervélo TestTeam and professional athletes that ride Cervélo bikes.
If you are reading about the variety of social media channels that Cervélo utilizes and getting overwhelmed, that’s understandable. Success in social media does not happen overnight. Reputation, reach, and influence in social media must be earned and developed similar to how friendships must be earned and developed (Blanchard, 2011). On the other hand, one of the great things about social media is that businesses can start out small and grow their social media presence over time with very little cost. In the beginning, Vroomen wrote all of the content for the Cervélo site himself and the design work was done by a moonlighting chiropractor (Scott, 2013). As the company grew, so did their web presence and their social media reach.
Blanchard, O. (2011). Social Media ROI: Managing and Measuring Social Media Efforts in Your Organization. Que Pub.
Scott, D. M. (2013). The New Rules of Marketing & PR: How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, News Releases, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly. (4 ed.). Wiley.
So this got me to thinking more about a different industry … rental properties. There could be a lot of potential using social media in this industry. Off hand, I can think of attracting tenants, advertising vacancies, getting current tenant comments and feedback on the properties, sharing long-term incentives for renting the properties, touting benefits and advantages of the properties, special events of interest to the tenants, etc… And of course, offering the public forum for tenants to be able to brag about their wonderful landlord! 🙂 Any other thoughts?
Great ideas! I definitely think you could use social media in these ways. I’m trying to think of the best tool to use. A Facebook fan page or a Google+ business page would cover a lot of what you’re talking about, but you might end up using some other too. For instance, YouTube videos of the properties might be nice.
It occurs to me that social media, used effectively, enables a company to communicate its ethos. As customers, we choose to do business with companies not only for the products they provide but also to support an idea or culture. If a company’s ethos is aligned with the interests of the consumer, that consumer is more likely to be a loyal customer.
As an example, after watching the embedded Cervélo YouTube video, I feel that I have a better understanding of Cervélo’s design philosophy along with their passion for that philosophy. If high-performance road bikes were my passion, these are the bicycles I would want. The people designing them are quite obviously passionately pursuing the ultimate in performance.
A company’s ethos is much more expansive than my example provides, but tools available within social media enable companies to speak directly with their customers and potential customers in a way previously not seen. Their ethos will be revealed given enough communication, and I believe this has to benefit smaller, niche companies in a significant way.
I agree! Social media is a great channel for humanizing a business and building emotional connections with potential customers. Since it’s very inexpensive compared to other forms of advertising and marketing, even the smallest company can leverage social media to make a splash! The companies that do social media well, like Cervélo, convey a company image that is genuine, approachable, and passionate. Their culture and personalities make you want to buy their products! The fact that they are a small company in a world of giants probably makes them even more likable. Us Americans are suckers for a good Cinderella story! There’s a lot to learn from Cervélo Cycles.
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Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed it!