Strategic Management Case Study


Harley-Davidson is one of the oldest business organizations in the motorcycle industry with over 10 decades of experience in the production and supply of motorcycles. This is evident in its historical performances attributed with sustained competitive results of the company’s motorbikes in the racing arena (Vasudha 2011). This was a powerful branding strategy that propagated the company to market leadership due to sustained competitiveness of its products in the market. Specifically, the company has managed to establish a unique brand founded on proud history, unmatched riding experiences, in-depth connection with its customers, and a sustained personal relationship with its customers.

In terms of rich history, the company is cherished for being the first largest manufacturer of motorcycles on a global scale. It is also closely related to one of the best motorcycles in the United States in the early 20th century with its services ranging from military activities, policing, and racing (Vasudha 2011). The firm is also linked to the origin of the famous riding leather accessories, sportster, and the origin of most of the motorcycle racing competitions in the US and the world in general (Vasudha 2011). Simply put it is impractical to analyse historical development of motorcycle technology and innovations without mentioning Harley-Davidson

Furthermore, the company has for many years managed to establish powerful brand community where its customers are proud to be associated with Harley-Davidson. Specifically, the company has not only observed high quality in its products and services but also developed a powerful relationship with its customers due to its many years of portrayal of the American image of happiness, individuality, and freedom (Vasudha 2011). This culminated to most consumers valuing the experience of owning a Harley motorcycle. For instance, the formation of the Harley owners group which was the largest motorcycle club in the world allowed the company to establish close relationships with its customers. In addition, the company formed a unique anniversary celebration practice where its customers celebrated riding the motorcycles in a celebration (Vasudha 2011). These are powerful tools that made its customers feel like they really own the company. The consequence was increased levels of customer loyalty.

To enhance its competitiveness and its relationship with its customers, the company has established an online marketing platform that is not only used for promoting its products but also building on the brand community through its online HOG program (Vasudha 2011). This allowed the company to establish an online followership of its brand culminating to the emergency of a Harley lifestyle that replaced the brand in the context that consumers who bought Harley products were more interested in the lifestyle associated with owning the motorbike. As a consequence, the company established personalised relationship between it and its consumers.

In conclusion, Harley has effectively managed to integrate its services into the lifestyle of its customers by providing high-quality products and services that are linked to the rich historical background and huge community attachment. This has culminated to formulation of a sentimental value on ownership of any Harley product among consumers. Its ability to sustain many years of innovativeness and still keep in close contact with its customers has culminated to emancipation of a lifestyle approach to marketing its product and hence, it is trust to say “It is a unique brand that is built on personal relationship and deep connections with customers, unmatched riding experiences, and proud history”


Vasudha, M 2011. Harley-Davidson’s Commitment to Brand Communities. Case study Reference no. 511-006-1

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