How did Harley-Davidson turnaround its business?

Learn some valuable customer centricity tips from Harley-Davidson

“Let’s be the alternative and do the things others can’t do.”

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In 1983, Harley-Davidson faced extinction. Today, this company holds world-recognition and everyone wants to own one Harley-Davidson bike. It has created its own culture and built its brand value from scratch. But, how did they do this when few years back they were facing stiff competition from Japanese companies and there brand value was going down?

They first did an analysis on how different were they from the Japanese. They listed out their strengths and weakness and compared the Japanese bikes and themselves. Here are some other tactics they used.

1. Listen to what your customers want

The head of the design department, took to the road and personally met with the customers and asked for their opinion. Customers voiced positive opinion for old Harley models and negative opinion for slick Japanese models. Harley bikes were known for the stronger character which they continued proudly!

2. Enter the H.O.G. Community

For the longest time, Harley had its own community that had a negative connotation, but they used it in their favor and created a company sponsored club for Harley riders- H.O.G. or Harley Owners Group. Thanks to many American movies, Harley riders were seen as these rough, brazen men who are out there to cause trouble. The company aimed to change this image by riding for charity. It worked, image changed, and today everyone wants to be a H.O.G. member.

3. Fashion Re-vamp

The company also realized that their fashion sense of black leather jackets and black t-shirts had a negative impact on the company. Hence, they launched Harley-Davidson Motorclothes, which offered shirts with collars, denim blue jeans, baby clothes and bright-colored fashion items for women.

4. Cater to your younger audience

The company even added Harley toys, that became an excellent way to extend the passion for Harleys to a younger customer-base. This was also done keeping the future plans of the company. The current customer-base was aging and the next logical step is to cater to the future generation and give them the complete ‘Harley Experience’.