Harley Davidson – Tattoo Loyalty

As a business owner, ask yourself “Who are your biggest fans?”  Have any of your customers ever come to your defense?  These folks are the beginning of your tribe.  So, how do you build a tribe or build a bigger tribe?

Learn from Harley Davidson

Harley-Davidson TatooWhen your customers tattoo your logo on their body, then you have reached the Harley Davidson epitome of “tattoo loyalty”! This company transitioned from selling motorcycles to creating a lifestyle resulting in selling more motorcycles.  They have built their own tribe with membership, events and local chapters.  There are several principles that Harley Davidson (HD) followed that business owners can affordably replicate.

Top Your Niche or Narrow Your Market

Tribes are not built around 2nd or 3rd tier products, services or people. Don’t be a knock off. No one gets excited about house-brand grape gelatin. It starts with a great product (unless you are a Browns fan).

Harley Davidson narrowed its market by targeting freedom seekers that desire an open road, rebel experience. If you have a great product but are not at the top of your market, then narrow your niche by delivering higher value to a sub-segment of your target market. Sometimes that can be as simple as focusing in your local region or even neighborhood. With a bit more effort, identify a more narrow profile of your target market like HD did. These folks are the ones that turn into tribe members. When you speak directly to this group, that’s when the tribal drums will begin to beat.

Drill Deeper to Deliver Value

Think about ways to help your customer drill deeper into the experience.  HD built a process where you can design your own motorcycle which will deliver a more personal riding experience.  This strategy aligns perfectly with their tribe of freedom seekers who value choice.  What kind of specialty accessory can you offer that will heighten your customer’s experience?  How can you make their experience more meaningful or valuable?

Step Back to Deliver Value

Instead of drilling down, you can step back to broaden the experience by enhancing your customer’s knowledge.  HD has a whole section on their website devoted to learning to ride. Imagine selling a pricey motorcycle to someone who doesn’t know how to ride one…and HD does it all the time.  When you successfully complete the training course, you may be exempted from portions of your motorcycle license test and may be eligible for discounts on insurance.  That is value!  How can you broaden the experience of your customer?  Education can be delivered online, in a video or a printed booklet.  It’s the content that the customer values most.  The delivery channel is a matter of preference.

Define Your Enemy

I’m not a proponent of focusing on your competition or tearing them down.  Often, the enemy is not the competition but the current state of market.  Harley Davidson is all about freedom.  The enemy, though never directly stated, is restriction, not other motorcycle manufacturers.  Apple took a different approach and directly targeted PC which is the face of Microsoft Windows. I wouldn’t recommend that. ProMaster, a Cincinnati based company, defines its enemy this way: ProMaster is leading the restoration of integrity, service and excellence in the home and commercial repair industry. That’s a very positive way of saying that the current state of the handyman market is filled with providers that lie, show up late and do shoddy work.

My Enemy

I’ve witnessed business owners who have courageously risked investment in advertising tactics with a lackluster message. I’ve seen these ads and know that they will not get a positive result in the market.  It doesn’t matter the medium or frequency of your advertising if the message is non-compelling. My enemy is marketing IGNORANCE.  My product is wisdom and that’s what I try to deliver with every Hot Marketing Tip.   Do you have a tribe?  What behaviors have you seen that indicate a tribe member?  Share your wisdom with me and other subscribers on the Hot Marketing Tips blog.  Let’s build better businesses together.

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One comment on “Harley Davidson – Tattoo Loyalty
  1. Jim Kummer says:

    Great comments Drew. In my case, it starts with trying to make our employees part of our tribe. If you can’t get them to join, getting potential buyers to join will be even tougher. Jim

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