Harley Davidson: a brand with strong marketing content

The sun burning the asphalt of Florida, especially towards the Keys, is conducive to motorcycle rides. It is not the many bikers crossed on their Harley Davidson who will contradict us. A silhouette, a roar that automatically refers to a strong culture and imagination, that of cult films, timeless songs or emblematic images. Because that’s what Harley Davidson is: a legend in action, a company that has weathered a few storms and faces new challenges, but one of the oldest brands among the motorcycle manufacturers still active.

Harley Davidson: between myth and legend

Harley Davidson is THE high-content brand par excellence. It has built its notoriety and its image on 4 major concepts: freedom, heritage, community and quality. However, it almost went out of business in the 1970s, when better and cheaper Japanese motorcycles arrived. Harley’s first instinct was to fight on the same ground, forgetting all that she is and what she is seductive for. The sanction was immediate: the quality of the Harleys suffered and the brand image weakened. It took a group of passionate investors to revive a firm that was dying. Their strategy? Capitalize on the strengths of Harley Davidson, focus on large displacement, strengthen the positioning combining retro and power to drag the market in its wake. From the 1980s, the bet of the group of buyers was won: the Japanese tried to copy the “Milwaukee twin” – this very special V-engine – to offer the same sensations to their customers. Vast ambition when you know that 80% of customers who have had a Harley one day still have a Harley…

At the same time, due to a lack of budget to invest in traditional advertising, the company created the Harley HOG customer club, Harley Owners Group, in order to federate a community around the brand, and to rely on highly visible ambassadors. throughout the territory. To boost the principle, one year of club membership is offered with the purchase of a motorcycle. The club’s approach should not be too commercial, the main objective being to ensure brand loyalty, which exceeds 75%.

Content marketing with Harley Davidson sauce

It’s the beginning of content marketingHarley Davidson-style content marketing: more than a million members worldwide receive exclusive newslettersof the product offers while having access to “rallies” to walk in groups and share their passion. In addition to maintaining the image of the brand, this culture of the community makes it possible to sell derivative products which constitute a non-negligible part of the turnover. When you buy a Harley, you know you’re buying an experience and a lifestyle. As for prospects, Harley offers them “the experience tour” so that motorcycle enthusiasts ride the machine of their dreams for a day. Let the legend do the rest…

But the future of the motorcycle pure-player remains uncertain. An aging target, anti-pollution constraints faced with brands that can rely on automotive engine research (BMW, Honda, Suzuki or Yamaha), sensitivity to the American market… It is therefore a question of renewing the ranges, to bring novelty such as the next electric model, to broaden the target towards women and new generations less addicted to the rebellious image of bikers, while maintaining the loyalty of current customers. To do this: #stereotypicalHarley or #FindyourFreedom campaigns to prove that the brand knows how to cross the ages, presence in Ubisoft’s The Crew 2 game, setting up a group of influencers on social networks, etc.

New strategic direction for Harley!

Not to be left behind, Harley Davidson is rushing into the sale of 100% electric vehicles with both motorcycle products and a range of scooters, but also with electric bicycles, a growing sector as everyone knows. The arrival of the first electric motorcycle from a traditional manufacturer therefore takes place under the Harley-Davidson brand. This is highly symbolic. the LiveWire, its electric motorcycle has just been unveiled in prototype: enough to create new experiences for brand addicts but also to attract a new segment of bikers attracted by innovation and the green trend. The catchphrase “the loudest noise you will hear will be the sound of your heart” plays on the human and contrasts with the engine noise a fan expects to hear from a passing Harley Davidson.

In terms of the electric bike range, the brand has not yet revealed the battery capacity, the name of the product or its design, but is already revealing photos of an ebike that makes you want, with a high positioning range and premium materials for a neat finish in its image. The prototype was unveiled to the general public at the Milan EICMA show in early November 2019, with a launch scheduled for 2020!


Photo credit: numerama.com

With these developments, the brand proves that it knows how to adapt to a changing world… If Harley Davidson has been able to leave its mark on 115 years of American history, it is thanks to its strong personality fueled by codes, values, emotions, experiences. Discovering how the brand will reconcile its traditional imagery with these new products in its marketing content should be exciting!