It’s no secret that Harley-Davidsons’ (Harley) total sales have been falling for years. CEO Matt Levatich has said that to help grow sales:
We’re going to invest in an all-new middleweight platform, which is a modular chassis and a very core engine technology to go in three dramatically different spaces: adventure touring, custom and street fighter,”
In a press release, Harley claimed they had completed a top to bottom assessment incorporating a “customer first” perspective and had developed a plan called “More Roads to Harley Davidson”. The plan includes:
- New Products – keep current riders engaged and inspire new riders by extending heavyweight leadership and unlocking new markets and segments
- Broader Access – meet customers where they are and how they want to engage with a multi-channel retail experience
- Stronger Dealers – drive a performance framework to improve dealer financial strength and the Harley-Davidson customer experience
Finding And Attracting New Customers
With such a bold plan, Harley will have to figure out how to connect with its new riders. Harley needs to refresh and grow their brand. According to ad agency outlet Agency Spy, it appears that part of that plan potentially includes a new marketing agency for Harley’s products.
About two and a half years ago, Harley hired ad agency IPG. IPG created a dedicated Harley team which they called Team Ignite. During this period, Team Ignite has been behind all of Harley’s creative, media and digital work around the world. But with Harley’s inability to new customers and sales, the group’s work may have come into question.
It appears that Harley may not be satisfied with their performance and are reportedly holding a review. There is a question as to whether the review is strictly for a particular project or whether Harley is investigating all advertising and moving to a new ad agency.
Agency Spy’s sources say Harley’s review is focused on Harley expanding its brand’s appeal. The review apparently targeted women and multicultural audiences and may ultimately include other markets like China and India.
A Steep And Rutted Road
If Harley decides to bring on a new advertising agency, it may be a very severe uphill climb for the newcomer. For over two years, the current agency has not seemed to generate much traction.
Particularly, interest in Harley’s newest e-Bike the Livewire had been significant until its recent rollout. With a near $30,000 MSRP, excitement changed to resentment. For a bike that was supposed to help resurrect Harley, getting new millennial customers to fork out $30,000 to buy their brand will take some seriously amazing advertising. Apparently, Harley may have figured this out.