Harley-Davidson is a great example of brand stewardship over many years. Whatever false steps they may have had in the past, they are a case study in customer engagement.
The Harley-Davidson web site has many opportunities to get involved.
There are places to post your personal 'rally cry' for this season. Harley is so closely associated with America, that when America is in trouble, customers likely feel concern in a deep, gut-level way. Not because they are Harley owners, but because of their values. So this season, you can post a rallying cry for America by filling in a few blanks [marked in yellow above] and adding your name to the list, as some 21,000 people have done. And you can invite a friend to post theirs too.
Of course you HAVE friends if you are a Harley owner -- ever heard of HOG, the Harley Owners Group? Events, insurance, roadside assistance, touring manuals, you name it. In fact, Harley owners likely bump into each other all the time, recognizable not just by their ride, but by their gear.
If you don't want to post a rallying cry on the site, you can post your personal riding creed, and look at the creeds of others.There's an inspiring film about the Harley creed, and even stories about the making of the film. There are downloadable goodies for your desktop or your iPod, and skins for your electronics. You've got to love a business where people pay to advertise your brand.
This is a company that has operationalized their brand values in a very meaningful way. It's not about Harley-Davidson the brand as much as it is about the Harley-Davidson brand experience.
Here's the thing that really got me. A lot of companies say they are experience-focused. And maybe they are. But this is the first time I can recall actually seeing a menu item on the home page labeled EXPERIENCE. [Okay, one more web design needed for my site too. Jeez.]
In the previous post, I talked about Harley-Davidson's strategy for marketing to women.
Next post I'm going to get speculative about Harley's research.