Building Brand Community on the Harley-Davidson Posse Ride

Building Brand Community on the Harley-Davidson Posse Ride (2000) Harvard Business School Case (Fournier, Sensiper, McAlexander, Schouten)

Concerns the second Harley-Davidson Posse Ride, a grueling 2,300 mile, 10-day trek from South Padre Island, TX to the Canadian border that is billed “for serious riders only.” Harley Owner’s Group (H.O.G.) Director Mike Keefe must decide whether this rolling rally deserves a place in the H.O.G. product line, and if so, what philosophy and tactics to adopt in future design. This case helps students get inside one of the world’s strongest brands to consider issues of brand loyalty, close-to-the-customer philosophy, the cultivation of brand community, and the day-to-day execution of relationship marketing programs. What benefits accrue from relationship programs such as this? Can brand community be built? How? What is the role of the marketer in this process? Is it better to develop customer intimacy or empathy when executing close-to-the-customer goals? Can management really balance apparently disparate subcultures such as the retired bikers, Yuppie Weekend Warriors, and serious outlaws within one community?

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