From a branding point of view, we cannot overlook the fact that Harley Davidson is very powerful, since many customers find embodied in its cultural principles and values that resonate with their own needs and beliefs.
These core values Harley Davidson relies on are:
Freedom: the motorcycle is often seen as a symbol of freedom as opposed to the closed and confined car. Moreover, many riders use the metaphor of the steel horse to refer to their motorcycle.
Adventure: riding a Harley motorcycle means being adventurous and brave. It is obviously linked to the American archetype of the Western hero, going further and further to discover new territories and frontiers.
American traditions and heritage: being the only survivor of the American motorcycle industry, Harley Davidson is strongly perceived as a representation of the country. Thus, buying a Harley instead of a sports Japanese motorcycle (like Yamaha, Suzuki, etc.) may be considered as a patriotic act.
[...] How can Harley Davidson create value through the poss ride As we just underlined, although the Posse Ride inscribes itself in the brand community process, it hides some limits which could weaken the brand in the long term. Actually, if we refer to the four stages of the brand community building, motivating the participants is a key point of the strategy, next to the necessity to create a communitarian space, to construct a collective identity, and to stabilize a hierarchical structure. [...]
[...] A specific attention could be put on merchandising: taking care that the dealers who are in the Posse Ride route showcase the new Harley Davidson products. Magazines The Harley Davidson Company already edits two magazines: a newsletter, the HOG Tales for each member of HOG, and a magazine for the Harley Davidson owners, The Enthusiast. Our advice, if it is not yet the case, is to make a special issue about the Posse Ride, or at least to introduce some testimonies on The Enthusiast pages. [...]
[...] Nevertheless, Harley Davidson must focus on creating value out of this community Given all that, we may wonder why Harley Davidson needs help! Everything seems to go perfectly well for the brand. Nevertheless, we cannot forget that although Harley Davidson has reached the “myth time” (according to Lewi's theory of narrative life cycle), that is to say it has become almost eternal and is fully involved and embedded in the society; it must beware of falling asleep. Having reached the status of an iconic brand does not mean the brand is safe: it can still lose a part of its prestige and admiration very quickly if something goes wrong! [...]
[...] The staff The main purpose of Harley staff during this ride was to get closer to the customer and have a better understanding of his needs. Other objectives were to maintain the “Harley community spirit”, to improve the relationship with the dealers, to imagine new designs of motorcycles according to people's likes and dislikes, to improve the brand image of Harley. Staff riders spent a lot of time organizing the ride before and during the event, they gave their best. [...]
[...] This is the reason why Harley Davidson should focus on trying to control its brand community, and intending to capture the value of it. On the scheme above, we can see that currently, Harley Davidson knows very well how to attract people in its brand community: it has done well, thanks to the strong value of the brand to which people tend to identify themselves quite easily, and also thanks to the iconic status of the brand which provokes people's admiration and interest. [...]
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