Harley-Davidson Immerses Dealers in Urban Setting - Event Marketer

Harley-Davidson Immerses Dealers in Urban Setting

Year: 2014

This “non-meeting” meeting featured a product reveal that motivated 1,200 U.S. dealership employees to understand the non-traditional customer base for the new Harley-Davidson Street 500 and Street 750 motorcycles.

Authenticity was the name of the game here, from the rust on the fence, to the treatment of the bricks on the wall, to the fallen leaves scattered about the stage, which the creative director collected that morning from a local park. Attendees felt like they were in an urban street scene instead of a convention center.

Harley-Davidson riders are so loyal they will literally tattoo the company’s logo on their flesh. However, to grow new markets, the company last year launched two new smaller motorcycles designed for urban riders, the Harley-Davidson Street 500 and Street 750. So to expand its dealers’ mindset to include this customer, one who may have never set foot inside a Harley-Davidson dealership, the event assumed the look and sounds of a city street. The meeting also conveyed Harley-Davidson’s commitment to its brand identity and reinforced the fact that the new motorcycles will be built in its Kansas City facility.

The meeting environment took its cue straight off the urban street corner, from New York to San Francisco and every city in between, with rusted fences, brick walls and those leaves scattered on the ground. The music felt like a playlist straight off the headphones of a young, urban woman on the move, with the sounds of car horns, trash carts and barking dogs added at just the right moments for authenticity. Even the trash cans resembled the wire mesh receptacles found on street corners.

Attendees entered a space that felt like a vacant lot just before dusk that moments later became the scene of a dramatic face-off between two Harley-Davidson motorcycles in a dueling burnout that only skilled riders can perform. That was the first of many moments emphasizing that the new motorcycles were developed by riders for riders. After executive presentations, two Kansas City factory workers introduced a video illustrating their pride in assembling the motorcycles. Then the music cranked up, the bars opened, photo ops with highly accessorized Street motorcycles occurred and the fun began. Everyone left with a Street poster signed on the spot by the artist himself.

Ninety percent of survey respondents found the event “valuable/extremely valuable,” and 95 percent of those polled were “satisfied/extremely satisfied” with the target customer information provided.

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