|Will Harley-Davidson Destroy Their Brand with Electric?
By: Cindy Wendland
Harley-Davidson owners might have to make room in their garages for a second, third, or fourth Harley. This one won’t require any gas and will have a completely different sound than the roar for which Harley is currently known.
Harley-Davidson is launching an electric motorcycle prototype called Project LiveWire. The new bikes will debut in New York and Milwaukee and will log thousands of miles as they are driven all across the country. Harley is interested in learning directly what consumers think of an electric motorcycle and what they would want in one from Harley.
At first, the news announcement sounded like a horrible branding mistake. To build up a brand as successfully as Harley has done for over 100 years only to introduce something radically opposite from why your customers love your brand sounded disastrous. On further inspection of Harley’s plan with the electric prototype, it appears to be a great way to generate more customer engagement. Harley is acknowledging that the world is changing, and their product may need to change with it. Most importantly, they want the customer to have a say in how the product changes.
One of the biggest questions people may have is, “What will it sound like?” For the electric motor sound, "Think fighter jet on an aircraft carrier. Project LiveWire's unique sound was designed to differentiate it from internal combustion and other electric motorcycles on the market," according to Mark-Hans Richer, senior vice president and chief marketing officer. That’s a pretty cool sound.
If Project LiveWire goes live, will owners of both types of Harley bikes play nice together? That will be just as interesting.
Cindy Wendland has a background in marketing and finance. She is the creative director for an online men's health magazine, BrainBrawnBody.com, and she gets to write their leisure/travel blog. She is also a web designer helping her clients with online community engagement, websitesbywendland.com. Prior to her web years, she worked in pharmacy consulting.
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