In my life, I have never really been much of a brand loyal person. I have had many car types, buy different brands of clothes and generally mix things up a lot.
The only brands my loyalty has stuck with all my life are the Cronulla Sharks which is the team I have followed since I was born and KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) as I can’t seem get enough of their 11 secret herbs and spices. In more recent times, after being an Apple disliker for so long I lined up and bought the first iPad on the day it was first released. Now I have about 8 Apple devices in the house but still refuse to buy a Mac.
These days, my feelings about brands are that things seem to be smoother when they are designed to work together. I think I learnt this most with Microsoft products, finding it simpler to use their products as they were tested together as apposed to using different browsers, word processors, etc that seemed to break too many times for me.
When I searched for a bike to buy, I stumbled on Specialized with no intent (see previous post). On further research I found they were everywhere in the world, have an extremely wide range of bikes, many superstars in their lineup and good write ups on the forums.
I then bought a Specialized bike and totally bought into the brand….
My first impression of Specialized was the concept store – wide, spacious, new and lots of great looking bikes and styles. They only stock one brand as apposed to a mix and this gives a good impression that they know their stuff about their products and the servicing of them.
The second impression was getting to see how many stars and teams ride Specialized such as Omega Pharma, Saxo Tinkoff and Astana with superstars like Cavendish, Nibali, Boonen, Chavanel (although he will change teams), Contador and Rogers. Then there’s triathletes like Alexander and a host of mountain bikers I am yet to know. So when the Australians and Orica GreenEDGE/AIS aren’t fighting for GC or a sprint, it’s easy to follow Specialized.
The third impression was the bike and the gear and as you can see in the pic above, I have bought plenty of it from top to toe. All good quality, many choices, great style and I am really happy with everything I have bought so far. As a beginner, I haven’t gone for the loud, bright and branded designs as loud and slow doesn’t sit well with me. Maybe I will do that when I get fast enough to overtake people.
Lastly, as a business person this company has got it together – they are the full package. Brilliant marketing, investing in uniqueness, improvisation such FACT, Aero, Zertz, Smartweld – always on the cutting edge (they even have their own wind tunnel). It is hard to get to that position and put it all together but for me if I was to set up any company or a brand, I would learn a lot from what they do because obviously it works.
Sometimes it’s good to pay more and with Specialized I have found myself happy to do that. I can’t claim that I really know other brands of bikes, their products and how they market. I haven’t really looked into it and that’s because I haven’t had to.
Sure, other brands may have slightly better shirts, helmets, pumps or whatevers but as a whole, I know what I am going to get with Specialized.
So what’s next. A mountain bike???
Disclaimer: this is not a paid advertisement. I have come to this conclusion by myself and am happy to give credit when it’s due. My blog is about sharing experiences as I am learning to ride and this definitely one of the good ones that have helped me on this journey.