How do you align your brand identity with your flagships, foster an emotional connection with your customers and help promote your performance potential, all at once?
Kawasaki’s take on the subject is the Ninja Experience Tour. The event includes the almost the entire Kawasaki line-up on a track and happens right across the country each year. Customers, salespeople and media are all invited to sample the Kawasaki that appeals most to them in a track setting with expert riders leading. It’s not a track day, it’s track day lite.
The Ninja tour is an outreach program aimed at bringing Kawasaki’s brand ideals of performance and power to new and existing riders. By allowing customers to ride their bikes for free on major racetracks Kawasaki hopes to foster not only a deeper passion for their bikes, but also to reward customers and dealers with a rare and exciting experience that might otherwise be unattainable.
It’s also like a rolling bike show, that puts Kawasaki’s most important models front and centre and helps tie them all to the highest ideals promoted by the marque.
No. We can’t ride it. No, nobody else can ride it. No, we won’t be starting it. The journalists in the room died a little inside, some of us wept – but this event is not for the media. This event is for customers.
There are very few chances to get onto some of Canada’s best tracks on board a motorbike, and even if this was a cruiser-friendly lead-follow pace, it still gave a taste of the bike’s capabilities to people who might be on a track for the very first time.
And that’s why this tour is such an interesting event. The diversity of the participants was immediately apparent, and all gravitated to a different style of bike.
Some went for the Vulcan, Kawasaki’s retro-styled cruiser. Others the supersport icon ZX10-R – though all of those were caught looking wistfully back at the paddock-bound H2 – and some were eager to climb aboard the gargantuan Concours with its comfortable touring position, large panniers and mile-eating big-bore engine.
Adventure riders had a choice of the two Versys bikes, the 650 and the 1000.
Left to right: Versys 650, ZX-10R, Z1000, ER-6n
Professional lead riders helped provide an accessible riding experience that wasn’t intimidating or daunting and allowed everyone to find their rhythm safely. There were between four and five sessions depending on the event, allowing you to sample a broad range of Kawasaki’s machines, but the short sessions meant we were only able to get a brief feel of each bike. Again, this wasn’t an issue for many customers, who only wanted to try one or two bikes that might be their next ride – those people got a much deeper appreciation for their bikes thanks to the additional track time.
This is the third tour and this year bought dealers and media on board in a bigger way, while remaining a customer-focused event. This year’s tracks were Cayuga in Ontario, Calabogie (ON), Autodrome St-Eustache in Quebec, Canadian Tire MotorSport Park ON, Castrol Raceway in Nisku, Alberta, Mission Raceway in British Columbia and Atlantic Motorsport Park, Nova Scotia.
For 2016 Tour dates keep watching the Kawasaki Canada website.