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Boom and bust

Malia Politzer
Editor of International Investigative Journalist
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piqer: Malia Politzer
Sunday, 14 April 2019

Harley Davidson: The Push To Reinvent Their All-American Image (And Save Their Brand)

Harley Davidson is arguably one of the most iconic all-American brands: The company has spent decades crafting this brand as the symbol of the macho rebel, cowboy, and free spirit. But has the trademark of Harley Davidson become too successful? What happens when that image no longer resonates with customers?

This is the dilemma facing the motorcycle company today: Harley Davidson's larger-than-life, gas-guzzling motorcycles may symbolise "freedom" and "rebellion"—but they are also extremely expensive, compared to their competitors, not particularly practical, and inefficient. Nor does the "bad boy" Harley Davidson image seem to resonate with younger consumers—in fact, Davidson's core customers are all aging out of riding. This has put the company in a bind: Not only are they losing customers (and profits) to competitors, but their image as an "All American" icon has made them a political target for the Trump-Europe steel tariff wars.

In this episode of the podcast Household Names, host Bob Bobkoff looks at exactly how Harley Davidson ended up in this pickle, and the strategies that company executives are adopting to solve the problem. It's a fascinating look at what happens when a company becomes too successful – and why flexibility and agility are so important to long-term business success.

Harley Davidson: The Push To Reinvent Their All-American Image (And Save Their Brand)
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