According to Kotler and Armstrong (2010), to build long lasting customer relationship, a company must create superior customer value and satisfaction. Harley-Davidson must have found the correct formula for customer relationship because the brand is one of the strongest brands in the world and has continuously been successful for 108 years. What is the secret to Harley-Davidson’s success? For over a hundred years, the company has invested on its Harley-Davidson brand to exude a certain mystique that attracted over 900,000 loyal customers.
The company has established the brand to represent quality, a lifestyle and a certain attitude. These things add to the value that Harley-Davidson brand represents. When one thinks of Harley-Davidson, one thinks of extraordinary motorcycles, luxury, courage, independence, freedom, and individualism. All of these and the promise of an adventure and the ride of a lifetime are just some of the qualities customers have come to expect from the Harley-Davidson brand. Judging by the number of Harley-Davidson owners, the brand met or even exceeded their customers’ expectations.
The Harley-Davidson company believes and promotes consistency in their brand all over the world. The company knows who they are and what their brand stands for and do not let market trends sway them from what the Harley-Davidson brand represents. This consistency is another aspect that the customers have come to expect from the brand. The customers are rest assured that wherever they buy their Harley-Davidson, they will get the same value that they expect from the brand. The company also makes use of the partner relationship management to build lifelong customer relationship.
Harley-Davidson dealerships play an important role in bringing the Harley-Davidson experience to their customers. “These dealerships understand the importance of personalizing every customer interaction, from sales, service and customization to great rides and events” (Harley Davidson Annual Report, 2010). The top-notch sales and service, test rides and authorized rentals are some of the tools the dealerships use to engage customers. One of the most important aspect of Harley-Davidson’s customer relationship management is the company sponsored Harley Owners Group (H. O. G. ). The H. O. G. program provides Harley riders an outlet for their passion for their Harley. It gives them a chance to interact with other Harley owners and share their common passion. In addition, H. O. G. members benefit from a number of excellent items and services such as two magazines (Hog Tales and Enthusiast), a H. O. G touring handbook, a roadside assistance program, a specially designed insurance program, theft reward service, a travel center, and a “Fly & Ride” program that enables members to rent Harleys while on vacation (Kotler & Armstrong, 2010).
The company believes that the Harley owners are their greatest marketing tool. These customers promote the brand better than any television or print ad they could create. Because the company acknowledges the value of customer equity, Harley-Davidson has worked towards diversifying their market to include women riders and young adults. The company has created motorcycle experiences and entire communities to immerse these diverse groups in the brand and make them customers for life.
To achieve this, the company has created a series of motorcycles that will appeal to the younger market like the Iron 883 that has proven to be popular with those under the age of 35. Moreover, their Rider’s Edge New Rider Course helped 200,000 students feel confident in taking a Harley ride to the streets. This particular program has proven to be instrumental in building new relationships along with the company’s participation in music and culture festivals, online communities, and garage party events just for women.
In addition, the dealership is suited with a Harley-Davidson Fit Shop that help new customers have their motorcycles outfitted to their tastes and needs helping them get more confidence in the machine of their dreams. (Harley Davidson Annual Report, 2010) The combination of what the Harley-Davidson brand represents, the H. O. G. program and the different visibility projects the company is involved in shows that the company knows who their customers are and how to reach them. Harley-Davidson shows that they understand how to build right relationships with the right customers.
They know how to cultivate and maintain relationships with their existing Harley owners by providing excellent service and H. O. G. membership benefits. Lastly they understand the value of future sales, customer lifetime values, and customer equity enabling them to develop programs to engage new and diversified groups of customers. These things are just some of the Harley-Davidson’s secret to a successful brand.
Kotler, P. & Armstrong, G. (2010). Principles of Marketing (13 ed. ). Upper Saddle, NJ: Prentice Hall. Harley-Davidson, Inc. (2010). 2009 Annual Report. Retrieved from http://www. harley-davidson. com/