If you have thought at all about buying a motorcycle, then you have probably thought about purchasing a Harley Davidson. When it comes to motorcycles, Harley-Davidson is virtually synonymous with the brand.
I remember the first time I rode a Harley Davidson was when I went with my family to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. I had the privilege of riding one of the newer motorcycles that was on display there.
I remember the adrenaline rush I received. At the same time, this is not the only reason why my Harley Davidson motorcycles are so popular. What makes Harley-Davidson so popular? There are a few key points to keep in mind.
Harley-Davidson’s Branding Is Superior
The short answer is that Harley-Davidson’s branding is simply superior to other motorcycle companies. Of course, the actual answer is far more nuanced than this.
The branding is on point because the quality of the motorcycles is exceptional. Furthermore, the company has been around much longer than many other motorcycle companies. Therefore, it is important to take a closer look at what makes Harley-Davidson motorcycles so popular.
The Longevity of the Harley-Davidson Brand Has Given it Time to Build
All successful companies take some time to rise to the top. This is just as true with the Harley-Davidson company as it is with any other business. With very few exceptions, no motorcycle company has been in continuous production longer than Harley-Davidson. The longer the company has been around, the stronger its customer loyalty has been.
Similar to the way in which Harley-Davidson always seems to be around, which contributes to its popularity, its longevity also contributes to its popularity.
There is a certain level of human trust when it comes to relying on things that have been around a long time. Many people assume that if something has been in business for so long, that it has to be of high quality. To some extent, this is true with Harley Davidson.
Harley-Davidson’s longevity means that its fan clubs have had a very long time to entrench themselves when it comes to the motorcycle scene. As a result, when people go to motorcycle gatherings, as I did with the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, people are struck by the sheer size of the Harley Davidson motorcycle crowd.
As a result, there is an unconscious drive to join this group. In this manner, the longevity of Harley-Davidson creates a positive feedback loop that pushes others to want to become a part of the club.
The Feeling of Belonging
As alluded to above, there is an innate drive to want to be a part of large clubs such as those involving Harley Davidson at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Anyone who has ever participated and an organized sport or event knows the feeling of wanting to belong.
When people look out across that space and see a bunch of people wearing a similar uniform, this contributes to someone’s overall identity and makes the people in the group feel more comfortable. That is exactly what happens with the Harley Davidson motorcycle group. When motorcycle riders become a part of the Harley-Davidson family, they feel empowered and they feel comfortable.
Because of corporate cleverness and the longevity of Harley-Davidson, Harley-Davidson has created a feeling of belonging that has contributed to its rise in popularity among motorcycle riders.
Harley-Davidson has countless Harley Owners Group (HOG) chapters all over the world. These groups extend back decades to when motorcycles were first being invented. Now, it is very easy for people who ride a Harley Davidson to find a local chapter.
As a result, this breeds a feeling of confidence, camaraderie, belonging, and identity. Furthermore, this gives the Harley-Davidson brand a stronger sense of loyalty. Members of these Harley-Davidson chapters spend more time on their bikes, more money on their motorcycles, and more of their income on branded goods when compared to other motorcycle riders.
As a result, this feeling of belonging has also contributed to the rise in the popularity of the Harley-Davidson brand.
Harley-Davidson Is Synonymous with the United States of America
It is no secret that people who live in the United States feel a greater sense of patriotism than people who live in other countries. In some situations, this is even positioned as a fault. For better or for worse, Harley-Davidson has positioned itself as being synonymous with the United States of America.
Even though the brand of the United States has taken somewhat of a knock lately, Americana itself still has a tremendous sense of value among people who ride motorcycles. Harley-Davidson is so intrinsically linked with America that when the European Union punished the United States recently with trade tariffs due to its actions on the stage of international politics, it made sure to include heavy motorcycles, such as those made by Harley-Davidson.
For those who still admire and emulate the American ethos, Harley-Davidson is synonymous with this feeling.
Anyone who wants a motorcycle should invest in Harley-Davidson because this is seen as being American. In this fashion, those who support the country should also buy Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Those who decide to buy other brands are often seen as being unamerican.
Therefore, when it comes to markets in the United States, nobody should ever want to buy anything other than a Harley-Davidson. This type of intrinsic pressure has contributed to Harley-Davidson’s sales and has contributed to the rapid rise in its popularity.
The Feeling of Being an Outlaw When Riding a Harley-Davidson
One aspect of American culture that Harley-Davidson has capitalized on is the criminal element. The way of the United States has always been somewhat of an outlaw.
After all, the country itself was founded by people who were revolting against a tyrannical government across the Atlantic Ocean. They were seen as criminals and traitors in England. Even since the founding of this country, criminals have been mythologized to a great extent by everyone in the United States.
Think about John Dillinger, Billy the Kid, Al Kapone, and numerous other famous outlaws. These individuals have been of dubious moral character but are still admired.
Since the mid-1960s, motorcycle clubs have taken the place of cowboys and have been seen as “modern cowboys.” They are mythologized as being people who are free to roam the open plains and are unburdened by the traditional social morals that tie others to the suburbs.
This type of mythology is intrinsically tied to Harley-Davidson. Harley-Davidson, its logo, and it’s brand feed directly into this outlaw character. As a result, Harley-Davidson has capitalized on this feeling and has positioned itself as the brand of the outlaws. When it comes to motorcycle riders, it is easy to see how this would be effective.
The Quality of the Harley-Davidson Brand
Of course, it is impossible to talk about Harley Davidson and his popularity without talking about the quality of the motorcycle ride itself. When it comes to motorcycle riders, the reality is that these motorcycles do not last as long as other motor vehicles.
For example, it is not unusual to see smaller sportbikes give out after 25,000 miles. It is unusual to see motorcycles last more than 50,000 miles. When it comes to Harley-Davidson, these motorcycles simply seem to run longer. It is not unusual to see a Harley Davidson motorcycle run for more than 100,000 miles.
Of course, there are a lot of factors that play into how long a motorcycle runs including where the motorcycle is ridden, how often it is ridden every year, and the driving style of the rider.
At the same time, it is difficult to argue against the fact that the quality of the Harley-Davidson motorcycle itself is simply higher than the quality of other motorcycles. The reality is that Harley-Davidson motorcycles are also popular because of the superior quality this brand provides.
What About the Luck Factor?
Finally, it is also important to highlight the role that luck has played in the rise of the Harley-Davidson brand. Ultimately, nobody enjoys the kind of success that Harley-Davidson has enjoyed without a little bit of luck along the way.
The Harley Davidson Motorcycle Company happened to rise in popularity at the same time that motorcycles are rising in popularity as well. This happened to coincide with a massive push for American markets to spend their money on American companies. There are lots of factors that play at the success of the brand, it has have been reviewed above; however, fortune has also been on the side of the Harley Davidson motorcycle company.
Harley-Davidson has been incredibly intelligent and capitalizing on their luck. In this manner, luck is not the only factor in the success of the Harley Davidson motorcycle company; however, Harley Davidson got lucky with a client base, its marketing positioning, and with its position as an American icon.
As a result, the popularity of Harley Davidson is multi-faceted and it is important to consider all of these factors when looking at this iconic motorcycle brand.