Harley-Davidson Case the Brand Community Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Indeed, initially, as a new product is introduced on the market, the volume of sales is rather small. The main reasons for this are the fact that people don't know about it or that they use a different product. The price element is not necessarily relevant here and the first goal is to get the product known. This is done through extensive media advertising.

On the other hand, once the product reached the maturity and decline stages, sales promotion become essential in keeping the interest of the consumer alive. The company can expect to increase its volume levels by lower prices and remain at a certain level of net sales.

The example of Harley Davidson is relevant in pointing out the B2C aspect. The advertising component is still strong: if we go back at the case study, we note that the H.O.G. is also in charge of the entire promotional material, going from t-shirts to pins, everything to emphasize the riding experience. On the other hand, sales promotions have not yet made their way strongly in the company's promotional mix. The reason for this is quite simple: Harley is not only a motorcycle, it is a brand.

The B2B relationship is somewhat different, in the sense that, as I have previously described the case of the software company, you do not have sales promotions and not much advertising, but strong publicity. In a business environment, a good service is discovered and told around quickly enough to make anybody want to emphasize this aspect.

As such, we may state that the sales promotion, while important in B2C (although not necessarily relevant in Harley's case), becomes unnecessary in B2B, mainly because of the final recipient of the product or service and of what he usually wants from a product. A company has enough resource to be unresponsive to a sales promotion. On the other hand, advertising is similarly important in both cases, but there is a plus for publicity in the case of B2B, due to reasons already previously described.

The Role of " Salespersonship"

Approach and communication are, in my opinion, the two fundamental keys for a successful sales person. In my opinion, in a business-to-business environment, because of the importance of positive publicity I have already mentioned, everybody can become a successful salesperson and "salespersonship" is applied at a universal level. The example of the programming company was relevant in this sense: the programmers themselves, both through the brainstorming program they used and through the personal relationship they developed with the final recipients helped create the good publicity the company needed in the business environment in order to create the appropriate momentum for the company. Approach and communication went hand in hand, as the approach was casual and relaxed and communication created the best customized product, increasing thus customer satisfaction, but also customer retention.

On the other hand, in a business-to-customer market environment, the emphasis is not necessarily placed on publicity. Of course, a positive publicity can only help, but, given the small area of people a customer can actually influence, it is not necessarily a reliable element of the promotional mix.

However, the case study demonstrated how advertising and publicity could work together through the H.O.G. More people were brought together and the company message, of being close to its customer and of attending to its needs, became clearer and approached a large customer base. Further more, in my opinion the B2C approach and the B2B came closer together in the Harley - Davidson and we had an exemplification of how the two approaches can function together.


1. Low G.S.; Mohr J.J.. Advertising vs. sales promotion: a brand management perspective. Journal of Product and Brand Management. June 2000, vol. 9, no. 6, pp. 389-414(26). Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

2. SALES PROMOTION: WHAT it ENCOMPASSES. On the Internet at http://www.mediacenteronline.com/visitor/pages/TVBASICS/sheet4.htm

3. Gorchels, Linda. The Product Manager's Handbook.

Low G.S.; Mohr J.J.. Advertising vs. sales promotion: a brand management perspective. Journal of Product and Brand Management. June 2000, vol. 9, no. 6, pp. 389-414(26). Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

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