Q1. Based on the case study of Harley Davidson, they needed to hire a Chief Marketing Officer because they wanted to sustain their growth through the development of new generation riders and a more diverse customer base, without losing existing customers. Competition in the motorcycle industry was at a peak, posing a threat to Harley Davidson’s market share with their aging riders. Countries like Italy, Germany, and Japan developed bikes that were cheaper, lighter, and faster; with a copycat of the Harley Davidson’s model in the cruiser space. These factors boosted their market sales compared to the market of Harley Davidson. Attracting the young adults in the US market would have been a problem for Harley Davidson due to these competing factors. The Chief Marketing Officer was hired to salvage the brand since its riders were aging. This could have been a serious threat to Harley Davidson’s existence in the motorcycle industry.
Q2.1 According to the research, the core customers thought they could relate to the Harley Davidson brand. The customers embraced the brand and made it a lifestyle besides purchasing it. Their loyalty represented the peak of the brand, a peak other few brands could hope to attain. The commitment shown by the Harley Davidson brand community is unique as compared to other brands. The motorcycle owners of the brand and the independent club, with their extraordinary identities, comprise of the Harley Davidson subculture. Harley Owners Group (H.O.G), created in 1983 was a company-affiliated club that created a platform for owners to pay duty. The club was closely related with Harley Davidson management, and its members supported events like rides and rallies in conjunction with the brand dealers. The core customers thought the Harley lifestyle was strong according to the research.
Q 2.2 The research indicated that young adults had a negative approach to the Harley brand and lifestyle. Some of them claimed to have not found the correct ride; others found the purchasing cost too high, unpleasant sound production and others found the bikes physically uncomfortable. Unlike core customers who preferred chrome cruisers, young adults preferred striped, elemental dark bikes.
Q 3. Harley Davidson has several strengths that allow it to maintain the leading position in the motorcycle industry. For example, the loyalty of the customers to the brand is outstanding. This enables the steady growth of the company in the industry and allows new models of bikes to penetrate the market. The company has a wide geographical extension in terms of market share. This commands the company’s stability in the market. The company has weaknesses despite the strengths. For instance, it has not diversified its automobile development. It only focuses on motorcycles yet it can successfully venture into car industry. Harley needs to utilize opportunities like exploiting emerging markets, for example, Russia, India, and China. Penetrating these rapidly growing markets can be easy due to their known brand. Thus, Harley needs to strengthen its presence in such countries for market share expansion. One of the main threats Harley faces is competition. Countries like Japan develop bikes that are cheaper, lighter and faster. This eventually raises its market share in the motorcycle industry.
Q 4.1. I would have used the branded house criteria because Harley is a well known brand and introducing other independent brand will affect its penetration to the market. For example, Buell bikes would be branded Harley.
Q 4.2. Buells would be branded Harley, with cheaper price and manufactured in captivating styles to attract the young adults in the market. This would have counteracted the young adults’ issue of disinterest in the Harley rides.