Harley-Davidson Future-Proofs Its Future With Toy Acquisition

Harley-Davidson Future-Proofs Its Future With Toy Acquisition

Those days in Baltimore, I used to visit where riders “take off’ for an “American tradition” enjoyed by many in the nation. Harley-Davidson is a great American brand which has legions of fans across the nation. Typically, men come together, with elegantly designed motorcycles, and then take off on a journey, around town, to immerse in the wonders of riding-entertainment. The men do enjoy the show.

But for the company, there was a problem: younger people were not getting into the game. And if the firm cannot attract new and younger riders, its future is largely imperiled. So, when I read that Harley-Davidson was buying an electric-powered, two-wheeler toy company, I knew it was in for something futuristic.

Yes, let the kids ride bikes with Harley-Davidson logo, and possibly when they want the real thing, they will buy Harley-Davidson motorcycle. That is a very smart way for future-proofing a business: recruit them early and make them believers. As Coke will remind us thus: do not worry that you keep seeing our adverts (thinking they are wasteful), we are merely reaching infants and toddlers, and not necessarily you. Your generation has been won for Coke, but we need to recruit the next one fast!

As Harley-Davidson noted in the press statement announcing the deal, the toy riders are expected to be long-term riders: “our mission [is] to create the next generation of riders is exciting”.

Harley-Davidson, Inc. (NYSE: HOG) announces today that it has acquired StaCyc, Inc., producer of the 12 and 16 EDRIVE, electric-powered two-wheelers specifically designed for kids.

[…]

As a subsidiary, a Harley-Davidson branded version of StaCyc’s 12-inch and 16-inch models will be sold through select Harley-Davidson dealers. The branded products will be available in the U.S. in the third quarter of 2019.

[…]

“After a few conversations with Harley-Davidson, we realized that the ethos of our brands and our commitment to bringing more riders to motorcycling were incredibly aligned,” said Ryan Ragland, Founder of StaCyc. “The opportunity to work with the team at Harley-Davidson and have the support to carry out our mission to create the next generation of riders is exciting. Together we’re building a plan that fast-tracks our ability to help the industry create as many riders as possible.”

[…]

The StaCyc acquisition is the latest example of how Harley-Davidson is investing in opportunities that inspire increased ridership in the near-term and deliver sustainable growth for the future as part of its More Roads to Harley-Davidson plan

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A great lesson on how to take care for the present, while future-proofing. Great brands don’t get tired of creating impressions on people, sinking them deeper into their hearts and souls; ensuring also that their veins and arteries are in sync with the brand.

You do not run a six weeks campaigns and then go to sleep, or start beating your chest that you have done something terrific, that your brand is now on everyone’s lips! People have so much in their heads, for them to keep thinking about what you do, so you must continually ‘show up’ wherever they are; even the kids need to start calling a class of products your brand name, still to your advantage.

Indomie has conquered that space here, because the unofficial name for all noodles is INDOMIE, and yet they are still running adverts. Omo and Maclean once enjoyed such ‘status’, but they have fizzled out; you have to continually shout in order to be heard.

Maybe smartphone makers, laptop manufacturers and those who are into products kids cannot enjoy at the moment, will now have something to learn from what Harley-Davidson did. You have to catch them young, and indoctrinate them as well. It’s no longer enough to have customers, you now need fans, crusaders, loyalists, etc.

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