The advantages of positioning Harley Davidson (H-D) as a lifestyle product were many. Gaining a competitive advantage by not just selling a product but selling a community; a place where people could have a sense of belonging. By touching people's emotions, they were able to hit right at the heart, where people are moved, and decisions are easily made based on emotions and what touches them…
By selling a product via targeting the customers' desires (emotions), H-D was able to capture people from all walks of life. From top executives to blue-collar workers, a diverse group of people bought into the lifestyle and sense of belonging to an elite group that H-D had created. This occurred because H-D staff members from all various positions, departments, and socioeconomic
status were involved in the company's decision making regarding the changes. Vedpuriswar (2003) reports, "By 1986, H-D had regained 25% of the US motorcycle market'it went public on the New York Stock Exchange'From 1988 t0 1995, annual shipments'more than doubled. Although H-D generated more than $1.3 billion revenues in 1995, it spent less than less than $2 million in advertising'In H-D achieved its 18th consecutive year of growth, outselling all other manufacturers in the heavyweight category for the third straight year'" H-D had the right idea when it focused on people being the greatest competitive advantage.
By focusing on four marketing objectives, H-D was able to capture both beginners and those who had already fallen in love with its products. After much research, it was able to gear its motorcycles, pricing, advertising, and all other aspects to enthusiasts and non-enthusiasts. H-D used
the same research and customized approach to target the international market by keeping motorcycle production below demand. The freedom and liberty of America was the symbol that H-D used to sell its products. The image that the company sold was the niche that made it successful above its competitors.
With products ranging from motorcycles to clothing to financing, H-D's marketing mix was advertised in that many found surprising. The company wanted to get the general public's attention. H-D also combined forces with other companies such as Ford to create limited edition of vehicles. Hence, the community of customers that H-D built is from all walks of life. Membership, with purchase of a motorcycle, allowed customers to attend unique activities and functions (at local, regional, national, and international levels), which allowed them to share their love of riding and to
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belong to a special community of those who share the same interests. Brand loyalty was the result of all this research and hard work and it proved to be extremely successful.
The brand and licensing was sold to various companies in the United Stated and other countries. Eighty licenses covered eighteen product categories worldwide. The H-D brand can be found on cafes, dolls, children's wear, toys, etc.
As with anything in life, with the pros are the cons; with the advantages there are usually disadvantages. A disadvantage was that H-D listened to their customers so well and created such a desire that they could not keep up with the demand at the current level of production. Some executives are concerned that the H-D brand, which exemplifies ruggedness and masculinity, may be disastrous as it goes into a category that does not live up to this hardcore image and value. They feel that the company may have ventured into territories that it had no business in dealing with which
may have led to devastating ...
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