Janet Usken, Marketing Manager at Podbike, talks about the origin of the company name, why getting the same domain as the name of the company was crucial to them, and the future of the Podbike brand.
What is the story behind Podbike?
In January 2009, our Founder Per Hassel was hit by a car when riding his regular bike. He crushed his knee and almost broke his neck. Once recovered, he started to search for a safer vehicle that was still a bike.
In 2010, he built his first velomobile with three wheels. He added an electric assist motor which is needed for the hilly terrain in Norway. Four wheels for better stability as well as full weather protection were the two most obvious needed improvements to increase safety and practicality. About 50 percent of the reported bicycle accidents (at least in Norway) are caused by the bike falling over. Having four wheels prevents this.
So, we made an e-bike for car users – as our aim is to create a vehicle that makes cycling attractive for more people and in all weathers. We do that by combining some comfort and safety of a car with the benefits and healthy lifestyle of cycling.
As optional extras, you can get an electrical blower to prevent fogging and to help keep the cabin cool on hot days. You can also remove the canopy and ride it topless like a cabriolet. Other options are a windshield wiper and washer for rainy days and a carrying bag with a complete set of studded winter wheels for ice and snow.
The Podbike Frikar e-bike offers you a healthy alternative to a car and uses much less of our planet’s limited resources.
When did you start thinking about your brand name and how did you settle on Podbike?
Pod is a word a bit similar to Capsule. Podbike Frikar is a capsuled bike. So why not keep it simple and name it Podbike? We thought that would sum up our vehicle best and it is short and easy to remember. In addition to that, the domain was available.
How did you get the domain name Podbike.com for your brand? Why did you select that one exactly?
It was crucial to get the same domain as the name of our company. The company name was not decided before we knew we could get Podbike.com. We bought it through an online domain provider.
It was crucial to get the same domain as the name of our company. The company name was not decided before we knew we could get Podbike.com.Janet Usken, Marketing Manager at Podbike
How has owning Podbike.com affected your business?
This is a new market, many have not heard of Podbike yet. Our name might as well have been associated with something else. Even with this name it is still a great challenge to build this new market. But, of course it helps that Podbike is a cool name which is easy to remember.
How do you keep your brand consistent across different channels online and offline?
We have a professional brand guidance to keep it consistent across different channels. We also have a marketing manager which needs to sign off on everything to make sure it is consistent.
Why should entrepreneurs value their brand?
Because branding improves recognition, creates trust, builds financial value, inspires employees and generates customers.
Has the pandemic affected your company in any way? What has changed since?
From March 13th, 2020, Norway – like many other European countries – was “closed down”. Meaning most people worked from their homes. Since Podbike is still in the pre-revenue stage, the Coronavirus does not confront us with unmanageable challenges for now. But of course, we also feel the effects. All planned events are canceled or postponed by the organizers.
Due to COVID-19 a lot of our not self-produced parts have gotten a long lead time. For instance pedal arms (but, we got them now 🙏). Also, our suppliers for body parts and the canopy experience a longer lead time to get the raw materials they need. Therefore, it takes even more time for us to get the final parts. We are leaving no stone unturned to get our parts as quickly as possible.
What do you do to make sure your marketing is effective?
- Attract the right audience for our product at the right time.
- Track performance
- SMART Goals
In addition to that, we believe in transparency. We share both our ups and downs with our audience.
What would your advice be to entrepreneurs who are just starting out, in general, and when it comes to branding and naming?
- Understand your own strengths, skills and how much time you have available.
- Write a business plan.
- Start small and grow, set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely) goals – adjust them.
The name needs to sound good, be short, simple and easy to pronounce and remember. You should not pick a name before you know you can get the domain with the same name.
The story is important, develop a powerful message, share your journey (transparency). Be aware of who your customers are, tailor your message to them.
The name needs to sound good, be short, simple and easy to pronounce and remember. You should not pick a name before you know you can get the domain with the same name.Janet Usken, Marketing Manager at Podbike
Where do you see your business in the future and how does your brand name fit into that vision?
Our company’s purpose is to provide disruptive vehicles with minimum environmental impact, attracting citizens worldwide into sustainable personal transport. The Pod in Podbike stands for capsule, so we will use capsuled bikes to eliminate the excuses for using a car. In this way, we want to make a contribution to combating the climate crisis.
We hope the above information will help you in making informed decisions about your brand. If you want to say hi or have any questions about naming, branding, and domain names get in touch, we’re always happy to hear from you.
Find out more about Podbike