Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Building and Protecting Your Association’s Brand Is Vital - Part 2


Yesterday I shared the case of the St. Louis Cardinals and protecting your brand.

I closed saying:
  • Who at your association “manages” its brand?
  • Who monitors activities to ensure your brand is not tarnished?
  • Who watches events and activities within your environment so your association’s brand benefits?
Having a great brand does not guarantee continued success. Just think of Kodak and Blackberry.

Watch for signals for change.

After posting the blog, I read a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) article headlined Harley-Davidson’s Hurdle: Attracting Young Motorcycle Riders.

This represents a case study on how an iconic brand is working to be sure its brand is relevant to Millennials and the incoming Generation Z. [And, it is in direct contrast to the “old guys” of golf who are resisting golfing changes for younger players: bigger holes, teeing it forward, rounds of 12 rather than 18 holes.]

Here are highlights from the WSJ piece:

  • Harley-Davidson Inc., long associated with the 1960s counterculture movement, now needs to spark a new one.
  • The motorcycle maker’s new chief executive, Matt Levatich, is spending much of his time thinking about how to pull today’s young people away from their electronic devices and onto the road. The 50-year-old Mr. Levatich, the first Gen X CEO to hold the top job, is counting on lower-priced bikes designed for urban riding and eventually a battery-powered alternative to the classic Hog.
  • Harley’s Street models, priced as low as $6,800, are supposed to dispel the idea that only grizzled boomers can afford a Harley—many of which sell for more than $30,000. Harley also has demonstrated prototypes for a battery-powered LiveWire motorcycle designed for young, urban riders who think gasoline engines are bad for the planet.
  • Baby boomers will remain big customers for many years, Mr. Levatich said in an interview in his office, where he works at a stand-up desk perched on vintage hardwood floors. Harley is catering to them by offering three-wheeled models and lower-slung two-wheelers that are easier to mount.
  • Harley will be more discriminating in deciding which of its models to favor with investments in new engines and other updates, he said. Priority will go to those that can appeal to younger adults, women and minorities as well as the core market of older white men. Some bikes that appeal only to the core audience may be allowed to fade away.
Looking at my three questions, it appears that CEO Levatich is leading the effort at Harley-Davidson is answering my questions.
  • Who at your association “manages” its brand? 
  • Who monitors activities to ensure your brand is not tarnished? 
  • Who watches events and activities within your environment so your association’s brand benefits?
What about your association? Is your association’s CEO leading the change? Is the marketing director? What about the membership director?

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