Building Brand Community on the Harley-Davidson Posse Ride THis case describes marketing techniques in the motorcicle industry, particularly Harley Davidson.

Essay by joseph69University, Master'sA+, February 2004

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1.Harley-Davidson should continue to sponsor HOG, and the Posse Rides.

2.More resources should be spent on the Posse Rides to meet the rising expectations of participants.

3.Dealerships should be more integrated into the Posse Rides.

4.The Posse Rides should not be seen as direct profit centers.


1.HOG has been phenomenally successful at attracting members and chapters. From nothing in 1983 it has grown to half a million members in 1,160 chapters. This is the core of Harley-Davidson's market and it is easily reachable through Hog Tales magazine. This is particularly important for Harley given that its customers are so varied making it hard to reach them through traditional marketing methods. HOG overcomes the wide differences in its membership by focusing on their common passion, motorcycle riding. While members get to meet fellow enthusiasts, Harley gets to keep their attention on Harley.

As it cannot compete with Japanese imports on price, and perhaps quality, Harley has to focus on its brand.

HOG builds brand community and dispels the old image of Harley owners as Hell's Angels gangs. In fact, Harley has been so successful in building its brand that BusinessWeek ranks it as the 44th most valuable in the world. Retaining Harley owners is clearly lucrative; Harley estimates that active HOG members spend an extra $850 a year with the company. This translated into over $140 million, money that can easily be spent elsewhere by less loyal customers.

2.Given that HOG serves to retain and reach customers by building a brand community, the Posse Rides serve to create a brand within the brand. Lisa Laundry describes Harley as "a mystique, a lifestyle as opposed to a brand." This kind of awe is mixed with a cultist sense of community, a dollop...