Influence, Virality, and Brand Building: Q&A with Super73’s Michael Cannavo

Jordan Kelley, Content Director,

Actor Jack Black acquires his new e-bike from Michael Cannavo and the team at Super73

Building a brand is no easy feat. Entering a competitive space with an idea or product of great quality isn’t enough. In today’s market, establishing the brand as a popular option requires a command of a brand’s voice, values, and presence. With growing popularity comes even more competition between similar brands to proliferate. In the world of e-bikes, there are many brands working hard to take the top spot in the hearts and minds of the industry’s target consumer - but none are doing it with the authenticity, tact, and success of Super73.

Super73 recognizes itself as more than just an e-bike company - they’re an American lifestyle adventure brand fusing motorcycle heritage and youth culture. In just four years, Super73 has come to lead the charge in pioneering a new approach to the electric bike industry. The brand’s ability to speak directly to its audience is demonstrated by their knack for achieving virality across multiple social media platforms, attracting the attention of celebrities, influencers, musicians, and athletes. Most importantly, they’ve cultivated a die-hard group of brand-loyal riders who connect with one another via social and in person, gathering en masse for Super73 group rides.

Brand Storytelling caught up with Super73 CMO and Co-Founder Michael Cannavo to learn more about his journey building Super73 and what it takes to find your voice and leverage it into a socially successful and popular brand:

Thanks for taking the time to Chat Michael. Let's jump right in - when and why did you found Super73?

We founded Super73 in May of 2016. The first Super73 bike was born from our desire to build a product that met our transportation and adventure needs while feeling like something truly unique and important. We wanted to marry motorcycle heritage with youth culture and give ourselves an easy way to explore Southern California in style while being environmentally conscious.

Did you have a clear vision for how to market the brand when you started out, or was it something you had to find along the way? 

None of us came from a traditional marketing background. I had found some success on social media apps like Vine and Instagram but had no formal education which ended up being to our advantage. Super73 was marketed to everyday adventurers and creators by everyday adventurers and creators. This meant that we needed to be authentic, honest, humble, and front facing. We never initially worried about buying ads or building marketing campaigns. Instead we reached out to our creator friends and put tons of content online. We were proud of what we made and wanted to show people. Wherever we could post for free, we posted and wherever we saw an opportunity to share our story, we took it. The product did the work, all we needed to do was open the door. Our first video cleared 1.5 million views and the following videos did a great job of keeping up to that standard. We never could have guessed that Super73 was going to be the hit it became but we knew we had something special and we did our best to make sure the world saw it as we did.

How has your social media marketing approach changed in four years? 

For the first couple of years, spending money on ads wasn't even in the question. I think my total marketing budget for the first two years combined must have been less than $10,000. There was no budget to buy views, creators, or traction so we decided that our only chance to be noticed and credible was to stay viral week after week. We are so happy that we took that approach because even now, we prioritize unpaid media and have still never paid a cent for an influencer post, celebrity endorsement, or product placement. As we scaled, we introduced paid ads as a compliment to what we were already doing on social and have seen huge growth as a result. While these ads are important to our marketing strategy, they still come second to what we release on our social platforms. Our product speaks for us and celebrities and brands are still filling our direct messages asking to collaborate. It's been a lot of fun marketing in this environment and we feel truly lucky to stand behind such a cool brand at such an important time.

When did you begin to get popular online creators like Jesse Wellens, Casey Neistat, and others to support your brand? 

Jesse is a really interesting story. Andy Milonakis found us on Kickstarter and ordered two bikes. The second bike was for his friend, Jesse Wellens. Jesse instantly fell in love with our brand and we built a relationship between the founders of Super73 and the iconic YouTuber. Jesse was releasing a drop for his brand, Rose Ave. and we found it to be the perfect time to collaborate. The Super73 Rose Ave. was introduced through one of his YouTube videos and instantly generated over 800 orders in 30 days. As was tradition, we didn't run any ads or supplemental content. We relied on social media and press to spread the word and again, we were lucky enough to have the right product with the right voice at the right time.  As for Casey, he wanted to review our product months before we let him. It was almost like we were fighting him off with a stick because we knew how important his opinion was and how he had the ability to make or break a brand. Once we were sure we nailed it with the Super73 S1, we sent it off and the rest is history. We're so grateful for his honest and truthful review and equally grateful to be one of his favorite brands years later. We've also simply made custom bikes for people we admire. Post Malone and Lil Nas X didn't ask for bikes, but by creating something that was built to their likes and interests, we were able to get their attention and build a relationship with them.<