“Our relationship with the customer does not end with the sale of the bike, it actually begins with that…”
Says Pallavi Singh, Marketing Director, Harley-Davidson India. In this exclusive interview with EE, she elaborates on Harley-Davidson’s big plans to make India a strategic market, and how it is planning to woo woman riders.
Harley-Davidson is associated in a big way with India Bike Week. Are you looking to launch a Harley-Davidson model via this platform?
In this edition of IBW, the biggest draw for Harley-Davidson fans will be the first preview of the Street 750 in India. The Street platform was globally revealed at EICMA, Milan in the month of November, 2013. India being one of the key markets for Harley-Davidson, the Street motorcycle will be made available here first along with the US, Italy, Spain and Portugal. We will then announce the official price at the Delhi Auto Show in February 2014 soon after which bookings and deliveries will begin.
Tell us about the upcoming Harley-Davidson rally in India…
The IBW will also play host to the 2nd India H.O.G Rally that will bring hundreds of customers and their families from all over the country to one of the world’s premiere holiday locations to celebrate their association with Harley-Davidson and their passion for motorcycling. The India H.O.G Rally is going to be one of the biggest congregations of Harley-Davidsons at one place in India. More than 1000 Harley-Davidson motorcycles will be riding together towards India Bike Week which is exclusively open for Harley-Davidson owners on 16th January 2014. The India H.O.G Rally and India Bike Week also play host to Frank Savage, an industrial design leader from Harley-Davidson’s Product Development Center in Wisconsin, who played the lead role in the design of Harley-Davidson’s all new Street platform. There will also be an expo stand with Harley-Davidson merchandise on display, and an exclusive H.O.G Den, music, food & beverages and of course lots of Harley –Davidson motorcycles. The esteemed Harley guests will also be able to participate in various bike customisation contests.
What have been the other high impact BTL activation initiatives by Harley Davidson in India?
Harley Rock Riders IV that took place from August-October 2013 is one of the most significant of Harley-Davidson properties. With the abundant musical talent present in India we saw a natural fitment in creating this annual rock music property. The focus of this initiative is to revolutionise the rock music culture in India by providing a platform for upcoming bands to showcase their talent. From a business perspective it helped us connect with our young outreach audience by building a strong cultural connect.
Apart from this, the brand organizes four zonal rides across North, East, South and West zones along with the India H.O.G rally. Earlier this year, the Northern H.O.G Ride in Chail witnessed an attendance of around 300 riders from across the country. Similarly, the Southern H.O.G rally that culminated at Mahabalipuram saw Harley Riders roar in from all over India in huge numbers. The Western H.O.G trail from Mumbai to Nasik too witnessed Harley owners coming together from different parts to the common passion of H-D and biking. On the same note, we are extremely excited about the 2nd India H.O.G Rally which is scheduled for 17th January 2014 and will surely be one of the biggest congregations of Harley riders with around 1000 proud owners from all over the country will be riding together.
What is the importance and relevance of experiential initiatives in the country today?
We at Harley-Davidson have always believed that when you buy a Harley you do not just buy a motorcycle; you get inducted into a whole new lifestyle. For Harley-Davidson, our relationship with the customer does not end with the sale of the bike. It actually begins with that. The only way to truly understand Harley-Davidson is to experience the lifestyle that comes with it. And in order to provide an experience of the true Harley-Davidson spirit and culture, we do a number of experiential events where enthusiasts can come learn about the history, heritage and lifestyle of Harley-Davidson. Just to give you an idea of how important intrinsic experience is tour marketing strategy, this year we conducted over 150 such events.
How important is India as a market for Harley-Davidson?
India is the second largest two-wheeler market in the world. The premium motorcycle market in the country has grown over the last few years, and we see substantial business growth opportunities and potential here. Harley-Davidson entered India in 2009 and since then has been the undisputed leader in the heavyweight segment; we have successfully built a very strong leisure motorcycle culture in the country and have witnessed an incredibly positive response from customers. There is an extensive riding community that consists of brand loyalists and riding enthusiasts from all walks of life and of all age groups.
We truly believe the new Harley-Davidson Street Platform provides an outstanding opportunity for us to further expand Harley-Davidson’s presence in India, as more and more customers in India look for riding experiences coupled with style, comfort and performance. The new Street Platform open gates for the young urban Indian to join the Harley Owners Group. It will be an ideal motorcycle for the young adults who aspire to be associated with the legendry brand.
Are you planning to expand your marketing communication to include women riders?
Harley-Davidson is a culture on two wheels that transcends factors like age and gender. In order to provide Harley enthusiasts in the country an opportunity to experience enjoy and understand the essence of Harley-Davidson, we have initiated a 360-degree campaign. In addition, we offer our customers, men and women, a wide range of Harley-Davidson’s authentic motorclothes, merchandise and accessories to suit their personalities. These include caps, jackets, t-shirts, belts, buckles, riding boots, wallets, protective eyewear and helmets for both men and women, so riders look distinct look define their distinct look. We already have a growing pool of women riders who join us for Zonal and National H.O.G rides from different parts of the country.
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