Many know them today as the creators of a long lasting, fuel efficent vehicle.
Back in the 60’s though?
They knew them as the savages that bombed Pearl Harbor, and the people who would rather kill themselves than surrender.
Which, by the way was one of the reasons the United States dropped the Atomic Bombs.
Imperial Japan was very much a cult, many were brainwashed with propaganda alike Nazi Germany.
Soldiers would not surrender, and the civilian population would rather kill themselves than surrender.
It’s likely dropping that atomic bomb saved more lives than trying to invade mainland Japan.
It finally got the emperor to realize there was no way to win the war, otherwise, the casualities would have been greater.
Honda originally produced equipment for Imperial Japan.
After World War 2, they of course had to pivot.
So, they decided to produce motorcycles.
And… what better market to enter than the United States?
The problem, though?
The United States hated the Japanese at the time, still viewed as savages from World War 2.
The market was already dominated by motorcycle brands like Harley Davidson.
So, they had to think deep.
They started slowly changing their appearance by always wearing suits and ties, etc, generally making themselves more likable to the American public.
Then they had to look at the market.
Predominantly Harleys appealed to the manly man, you know the aggressive greasers.
They decided they needed to appeal to a specific market.
They picked the average everyday American that just needed a ride from point A to point B.
More specifically, pretty much the inverse of what was seen as the typical biker at the time.
They decided on the headline:
“You meet the nicest people on a Honda.”
In other words:
They appealed to a very specific subset within a market, with a unique angle.
And it worked.
It worked extremely fucking well, safe to say.
In 1960 only 4% of Japanese products were exported, by 1966 Honda controlled 60% of the motorcycle market.
It just goes to show, sure, markets can be saturated.
But new angles can always be created.
You can always differentiate yourself in a marketplace by taking a specific segment of it, and appealing directly to them.
You can make a lot of money by specificly talking to 10% of a market, rather than trying to talk to 100% of a broad market.
Oh, and by the way…
If you want me to create that unique angle for you in a crowded marketplace…
This is just one of the (usually) daily emails I send out.
Want to get more emails just like this that teach you how to turn words into money?