I love this blogging thing, I get to stick my neck out with predictions and be “on the record.” Prognostication is so much fun!
There was a big marketing article today in the paper about how Harley-Davidson is targeting women with comms and product. Every planner and market talks about the Harley mystique and its power over consumers. Harley is a great, tight product and a brand managed by really smart people — especially ad agency Carmichael Lynch.
But now Harley has taken their first misstep: They are actively courting women. Why? Because some women want to ride Harleys and it’s a way to open up a new market. Women always have ridden Harleys. Always will. It’s a freedom/rebellion thing. But Harley’s are masculine. That’s WHY women like to ride them. When the company starts building Harleys that are lighter, with clutches that are softer and seats that fit the feminine fanny — and those bikes start rolling down the streets of America with cheetah tassels, men will rebel. They’ll start looking for the next Harley. As a marketing planner, that’s the business I’d get into. Right now!
If Harley wanted to grow its consumer base and open up new markets, it’s okay to curry favor with women. Just do it on the very quietly and don’t change the product.
What’s good for the goose isn’t always good for the gander. You heard it here first. Harley’s going down.