Harley Davidson

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Situational analysis

Harley Davidson, an international motorcycle company, started out as a small three man operation in 1903, by the Davidson brothers and William Harley manufacturing heavyweight motorcycles. This included financial services for the motorbikes, accessories and branded apparel. It experienced great success during both World Wars, and managed to survive the trying times of the Great Depression. After World War II, Harley Davidson brand begin to build on the image of the V-twin cylinder engine established in the 1920’s by shifting from manufacturing military bikes to recreational ones. During the 1970’s and 1980’s Japanese competition nearly destroyed the company. Competitors introduced technological advanced bikes at a lower cost due to mass production. Technological advances and economics of scale and efficiencies made competitor’s products superior in some instances. Harley responded by a re-evaluating its marketing strategy centered on a lifestyle image. This included a re-organization and brand building program, including the Harley Owners Group (HOG), Harley Davidson was able to re-capture its market share. It established these groups along with better customer service that helped it establish itself as a dominate company in the motorbike industry. It had a differentiated focus and various target markets as the environments changed. It was positioned effectively as a way of life with a sense of freedom as opposed to selling the best motorbikes. The marketing campaigns focused more on the lifestyle associated with the product and worked on its social image. The marketing team used differentiation to create more awareness of the product by reinforcing Harley from a psychological perspective as a symbol of freedom, developing and maintaining relationships.

Harley Davidson South Africa was established in 1996 and has prospered due to very high annual growth rates. It succeeded as an emotionally driven brand, one that customers choose for a

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