Friday, August 29, 2008

How Will the Harley Brand Rumble on?

Right now in our hometown of Milwaukee, Harley-Davidson is throwing itself a multiday party for its 105th anniversary. Hog lovers from around the world are rumbling into town for a full weekend of, well, let’s just say “fun.”

Good for Harley to put on a show for its loyal customers, even in a slow economy when sales are down. However, those declining numbers are no doubt a concern to Harley’s leadership—as are the numbers regarding its aging customer demographics.

As we look around, it’s easy to see that Harley’s base is dominated by older generations. And that has us wondering aloud about how this iconic brand can re-energize itself in the 21st century. How do you update a brand without forsaking its storied tradition? Here’s a look at some of the ways Harley is trying to strike that balance.

This historic company is far from being history. But while Harley searches for the path forward, let it be a reminder to you—no matter what game you’re in—that the marketplace is always changing. And brands that aren’t advancing with it can quickly find themselves left behind. Now more than ever, brands must continue evolving to survive.

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