What's it take in today's marketplace to be a true innovator? Vision, purpose, and focus? That's a start. Unstoppable persistence? Getting closer. There is one more thing.
Meet Henrik Fisker, founder and CEO of Fisker Automotive, an Anaheim-based luxury auto manufacturer changing the face of the automobile industry forever. Fisker is aggressively leading the charge to a better, more environmentally viable and luxury-oriented electric automobile. His vision is simple -- make electric cars accessible to the masses.
We've heard this battle cry before from other would-be auto designers (such as Victor Wouk). While electric cars aren't new, the Fisker Karma is. Unlike Chevy's Volt, Toyota's Prius, or Tesla's electric model, which also alternate between electric and gas, the Fisker uses only electric power for the first 50+ miles and only then does the gas engine kick in, combining traditional propulsion with new, cheap, clean energy.
Fisker, a veteran of European-based Aston Martin and BMW, launched Fisker Automotive in 2007 to fill the need technology was leaving behind for a long-range, fully electric luxury automobile. Fisker brings to market the iPad2 of cars. It's not a completely revolutionary idea, but it's new enough in many ways that it will turn the luxury auto industry on its ear.
The 49-year-old Fisker explains what differentiates his brand from others citing "extended long-range technology that allows drivers to travel up to 300 miles on only a single electric charge, [and] a brand identity entirely dedicated to the environment while delivering style, comfort, and luxury."
All Fisker cars are designed and built with the largest car solar roof in the world, which translates to 200 to 300 additional electrically powered miles per year. What it really comes down to is auto-buying priorities are changing.
Although young for an automotive CEO, Fisker clearly identifies the anatomy of his branding acumen as a five-point process:
- Have a product that isn't just good, it's great. Don't launch until at least then and you can prove it.
- Differentiate yourself and your brand from the rest of the marketplace.
- Get to market fast and with a lot of notice. Be fast, adaptable, and easy to change. The one who gets to market first doesn't always win, but has a distinct advantage.
- Have innovative ideas on how to introduce the product to the target market. Making them want it before it is ready, or before it even exists is a fast and hard rule at Fisker.
- Promote, 24/7. No matter what you sell or where you are, you're always on. You're always meeting and connecting with people. You're always selling. No matter what!
"Anyone can launch a company or product," says Fisker. "[But] can you communicate it well to a team? Can you envision it to completion? Can you handle the setbacks that are in every start-up? Can you stay in the game until the end?"
Michael J. Herman is a best-selling author, syndicated columnist, and motivational speaker. www.michaeljherman.com