Higher Ground IMC Plan

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Harley Davidson Integrated Marketing Communications Plan to Target Females in Upstate New York


Executive Summary

Table of Contents

Executive Summary


SWOT Analysis


Target Market


Promotional Program Situational Analysis


Positioning and Campaign Theme


Creative Recommendations


Creative Production

Television Story Board


Radio Commercial


Magazine Advertisement


Direct Mail Postcard


Website Homepage


Advertising Media Recommendations








Promotional Event


Direct Mail




Budget Summary





PRIZM Descriptions


Television Schedule


Census Breakdown


Executive Summary

Higher Ground has developed an Integrated Media Campaign for Harley Davidson that will increase awareness and sales of their motorcycles among women in Central New York. After in depth analysis, we decided that the most likely females in the Central New York area to actually purchase a Harley Davidson motorcycle would be between the ages of 35-55. Furthermore, Harleys are a luxury item, we narrowed this group down even more by making sure their annual household income was at least $50,000.

In order to properly address and attract this audience we decided on the campaign theme of Escape to Freedom. The underlying message behind the theme is for women to forget about all their responsibilities and obligations. This element of escape can be accomplished by purchasing a Harley Davidson motorcycle.

To communicate the theme, Higher Ground has decided to advertise on television, on the radio and in several magazines. Through the advertisements, women will form an image in her mind that will allow her to see the product and its benefits. She will also feel an emotional connection to the motorcycle because she can see how it will satisfy her needs.

While the target audience may see how they could benefit from owning a Harley it doesnt necessarily mean that she will actually take the steps to do so. The advertisements use an emotional approach, but because a motorcycle is a high involvement product, the proper amount of information must be provided. Therefore, in order to get the ball rolling Higher Ground has also decided to make women in Central New York aware of the changes that Harley Davidson is going through to better cater to their informational needs. To deliver the information to the intended audience Higher Ground created a promotional event. This promotional event is for those all women who may be interested in purchasing a Harley. To get women to attend the event, as push them to attend classes and visit the website a postcard will be sent out to potential buyers. Lastly a website was created to provide the target audience with a plethora of information as well as a way to communicate with other females and the dealerships sales teams.

Our media mix consists of six separate outlets through which we will advertise. With six media options we can communicate a sufficient amount of information as well as draw in a large percentage of our intended target market. This mix will increase not only interest but also increase the number of bikes sold to females at the Harley Davidson dealerships in Central New York.

In conclusion, we used a combination of six execution formats to make up the Integrated Media Campaign and we were still able to stay within the one million dollar budget. We have fostered influential ideas to create an affective promotional plan to target women in Central New York, while remaining within the campaign budget.


Brand Strengths The Harley Davidson Motor Company has a multitude of brand strengths. First off, the brand is a strength within itself. The Harley Davidson brand is extremely recognizable and has a loyal following. Harley Davidson has a long history and rich tradition in bike building and their bikes designs are unique to the brand.

Due to its licensing expansion, Harley Davidson has been able to further penetrate the market and gain capital off of its name. Harley Davidson products now include clothing, shoes, accessories and even home dcor. This expansion has increased Harleys image, market reach and familiarity.

The number of dealerships that sell Harley Davidson Motorcycles and products featuring the Harley symbol have also increased in recent years. Harley has decided to franchise itself by allowing individuals with the wanted skills to open and run a certified Harley Davidson dealership or sell out of an existing dealership. Expansion has led to an overall increase in riders because the motorcycles are more available. By expanding into more locations the relationship between the consumer and company has strengthened. On Sundays it isnt uncommon for Harley owners to meet up at their local dealership and then head out for an afternoon ride.

One of the main reasons that people buy a bike from Harley Davidson is to feel a part of that Harley culture. Harley Davidson, to many, represents a mix of freedom, strength, rebellious attitudes, the occasional bad boy tendencies and pride in being an American. In many ways Harley has become an icon of the American culture. Harley motorcycles have a unique sound to them. For those even vaguely familiar with the sound, will recognize a Harley bike even before seeing it.

Brand Weaknesses

Traditionally, Harley Davidsons are seen as a mans bike. One stereotypical image of a Harley rider is a middle aged man wearing a pair of jeans, a black t-shirt and a bandanna on his head, riding a top a big, loud HOG. In the past Harley has catered more toward males. They have done so because they know that majority of Harleys current riders are male and that the most likely purchaser of a bike will be male. Eighty-eight percent (88 %) of Harley owners are males, and the average age of a bike owner is between the ages of 35-47 (Demographic Profile). Therefore a brand weakness includes its minimal market penetration and market reach.

The main reason as to why Harley has appealed mainly to men is because Harleys bikes are quite large in comparison to other bikes on the market. Because of their size they can be tough to handle.

Harley Davidsons bikes are higher end bikes that come with large price tag. Customization as the type of model contributes to the overall price. Therefore a brand weakness of Harley is that many individuals view owning a Harley as being financially unlikely. In fact, according to Harley Davidsons website, the average income for a Harley bike owner is around $80,000 (Demographic Profile).

It isnt uncommon for Harley riders to be stereotyped. The Harley Davidson brand is associated with a rough crowd and motorcycle gangs. While this appeals to some people, it also deters potential consumers because they dont want to be seen in that light. It must be noted that there are two branches of motorcycle clubs. The first is the 99 per centers. These clubs make up 99% of the motorcycle riding population and many are members of the American Motorcycle Association. The other type of Motorcycle Club is the one per centers or Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (Motorcycle club). Due to popular culture, the Harley Davidson brand has a long-standing association with the concept of a outlaw motorcycle gang. Gangs like Hells Angels, the Outlaws, Pagans and Banditos are international gangs, whose members can be found riding on top of a Harley Davidson. Because of their association with the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs and societies continuing belief that Harley Davidsons attract individuals with criminal dispositions, the brand itself has been tainted. Brand Opportunities

Women represent an economic powerhouse, making over 85% of the consumer purchases (in the United States) and influencing over 95% of total goods and services. Women also purchase 50% or better in traditional male categories like automobiles, consumers electronics, and PCs (Learned). The previous statistic demonstrates why women are becoming an important group for marketers to focus on. The ability to for women to climb the corporate ladder is no longer an issue. Many women are holding important positions in companies and therefore have a greater disposable income. Harley Davidson has not tapped into this market. While the number of female riders has slightly increased in past years, there is still a lot of room for expansion. The Harley Davidson brand can take advantage of this opportunity and increase their number of female riders.

Everyone in the United States knows and is experiencing the effects of the increasing price of gasoline. A motorcycle is a more economically savvy approach to getting around. You can ride just as far on a motorcycle and not have to spend as much on gas. More people may be willing to invest in a motorcycle or switch over to a motorcycle to decrease their gasoline consumption.

Brand Threats

With the increasing importation of foreign motorcycles to the American market, more people, especially women have been driven to these brands. Foreign motorcycles companies offer smaller bikes. Also, foreign companies offer their bikes at lower prices than Harley Davidson.

Depending on ones economic situation, people, especially those in Central New York might not be willing to spend as much money on luxury goods or have the financial means to do so. This would have implications for the dealerships in Central New York because the campaign would be compromised.

The weather is very unpredictable in Central New York. It can go from being a beautiful sunny day then a snowstorm will blow through. The winters can be especially harsh and driving a motorcycle in winter could be dangerous. The roads could be plowed or they could be covered in snow. A potential buyer might wonder if it is worth buying a Harley motorcycle if they can only drive it for a limited time throughout the year.

Target Market

Using the PRIZM market segmentation tool we were able to break up the social groups found within Central New York. We looked up the groups in cities like Skaneateles, DeWitt, Cicero and Baldwinsville. These cities are home to such groups as the Upper Crust, Big Fish, Small Pond, Gods Country, Greenbelt Sports, American Dreams and Mayberry-ville (My Best Segments). [Definitions of these segments can be found in the references section] Each of these groups backed up our beliefs on whom we thought the best target market for our campaign and their availability in Central New York.

Our primary target market is a woman between the ages of 35-55, and who live in the Central New York area. The Central New York area includes Cayuga, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga and Oswego counties. Their annual household income is $50,000 and above. These women can be workingwomen or stay at home moms and they can be single or married. Based on our research of census data we narrowed this specific group down to 20,678 women. [For the complete breakdown of the census information please turn to the references section]

Their psychographic and behavioral traits are that they enjoy the outdoors and like excitement in their lives. While they love spending time with their families and friends, they also enjoy their alone time. While society does have an effect on what they do, they also pride themselves in their personal independence. They have tomboyish tendencies and are active. They are adventure seekers in the fact that they like to have fun and try new things.

For our women ages 35-55, the people that will influence their purchase decision the most are their significant other, family and friends. Significant others will be the main source of influence because they are both contributing to the household income. A large purchase it is going to have an effect on the other individual. Family and friends are also another influence because they shape who an individual is. Family and friends will most likely be concerned with the safety of their friend more than anything. Women also tend to be more self-conscious and concerned with what others think of them. However, our goal is to make a Harley so emotionally appealing to the female audience that they dont care what others think.

Out target market will be more likely to buy a motorcycle if they are provided the proper amount of information to make an informed decision (Learned). Other decision criteria includes if the motorcycle is within their financial budget. Is the dealership making an effort to get to know them and address their needs and concerns? Will they be able to handle the bike and ride it comfortable without fear? What type of features and warranties are available to them if they do purchase a bike? The quality and safety of the bike is of great concern to females. Does owning a motorcycle address their emotional expectations? Do they feel free while riding, does it allow them explore Central New York and while riding are they able to get away from stress and just focus on themselves?

Past Promotional Events for Central New York dealerships

Harley Davidson has hosted and sponsored many events in previous years. They have recently made an effort to get more women involved by showing support through promotional events. At these events, dealerships across the country present consumers and non-consumers with knowledge and support. A few events include: Womens Garage Party, Rides of March, Open House Party for New Service, Demo Day, Ride for a Cure and a Winterization seminar. Each event addresses different aspects of being a Harley rider. At the Womens Garage Party, interested females are introduced to current riders in their area. A garage party is a social gathering at a dealership for potential female riders. At the dealership, these women are exposed to the Harley motorcycling experience and are able to socialize with women who share their same passion. A Demo Day is a hands-on experience for women and men where they are educated on the proper ways to ride, sit and even pick up a Harley Davidson motorcycle. Ride for a Cure was an open house event where the proceeds were donated to Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer research fund. Women who get involved such in events such as these seem to have adventurous and courageous attitudes and are less concerned about getting their hands dirty for a change. While these events were helpful in drawing some attention, we believe that they were not affective as they could have been. This is due to the fact that they didnt cater specifically to women. Such events werent widely advertised and those who might have been interested in attending were not aware of the events.

Positioning and Campaign ThemeIn terms of our positioning strategy we will position ourselves away from the competitors. We will accomplish this by showing our primary target market how they can benefit by owning a Harley Davidson motorcycle. Harley D...


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