Harley – Davidson
Market Information (Information provided by the Marketing Plan)
Market volume has been affected by the economic downturn and an aging rider population; unit sales for the industry dropped 20% versus one year ago (2009 vs. 2008).
Market divided into two segments: the heavyweight segment, which Harley dominates, caters to older buyers wanting style, quality, and status, the lightweight segment appeals to younger buyers seeking speed, agility, and affordability in a motorcycle.
Harley generates 70% of its sales in the United States and 30% internationally.
Canada accounts for 15% of Harley’s International sales.
Harley-Davidson dominates the heavyweight segment. Current market shares are:
Brand 2009 2008 2008 Share %
Harley Davidson 49.4 50.0 50.0
Honda 14.7 15.5 15.1
Suzuki 12.5 12.9 12.9
Yamaha 9.2 8.6 8.6
Kawasaki 7.2 6.8 6.8
Harley competes on design and quality (intentionally unique-sounding engines). Harley’s past growth and continued success is closely tied to its brand loyalty. (Harley owners have been known to tattoo the brand’s trademark on their bodies and are members of HOG – Harley Owners Group).
Harley has distinguished itself from other brands based on its heritage, image, and reputation – a “rebellious” image the company doesn’t have control over.
Harley does not promote functional benefits like power and performance; advertising messages portray the emotional connection between brand and rider.
Brand Insight from Loyal Customers
“I love everything about a Harley. From the bike and clothing to the people you meet when riding and the instant friends everywhere you go.”
“When you ride a Harley you feel a Harley. When you ride a (Honda) Gold Wing, you don’t feel anything. The Harley engine has a soul. And a lot of import bikes don’t have soul.”
Japanese competitors offer heavyweight models that appeal to price-conscious buyers more interested in the motorcycle’s technology
Features such as fuel injection and ABS brakes make Japanese bikes a sensible buy, but they lack the outlaw image of a Harley.
Target Market Profile (Current)
Demographics: 45-59 years, old; 88% male and 12% female: $85,000 plus annually, reside in urban markets.
Psychographics: adventurous; like to travel; break away from routine on weekends; enjoy the freedom of the open road.
Behaviour: current customers are extremely brand loyal and emotionally connect to brand. “Week-end Warrior” is a nickname describing the customer.
Problem and Overall Objective
The current customer is aging and younger potential customers see a Harley as a bike that looks like their father’s or grandfather’s bike – it is the motorcycle of choice for aging baby boomers. Future growth depends upon Harley’s ability to attract new, younger customers. How does Harley-Davidson attract a younger customer?
Communication Objectives (Client)
To attract a younger customer in the 30 – 45 year age range.
To alter perceptions held by younger customers about the brand.
To present an image more in line with the lifestyles of the younger target
Positioning Strategy Statement (Client)
Harley-Davidson represents a sense of freedom, independence, a chance to live on your own terms for a while, even rebelliousness. For individuals wanting to be a kindred spirit with others of like mind Harley-Davidson is the brand for you.
Creative Objectives (Client) Sometimes objectives are written in a different format. The objectives are summarized in the form of a key-benefit statement and a support – claims statement.
To communicate an image or set of images more in line with younger lifestyles.
To portray the feeling of freedom and independence a younger rider will enjoy when riding a Harley.
To communicate an emotional connection between Harley-Davidson and the rider (younger rider).