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HarleyDavidsonLogoThe summer of iconic brands continues. As it approaches its 100th anniversary this Labor Day, Harley-Davidson unveiled its new lineup of 2014 motorcycle models today during the company’s annual Summer Dealer Meeting in Denver, Colo. The intro marks what the company calls “landmark product development effort” called Project Rushmore. It also marks a deeper commitment to social and digital marketing.

The company calls it the largest scale new model launch in the company’s 110-year history. Project Rushmore encompasses eight new motorcycles that feature improved power and braking performance, enhanced rider ergonomics, and styling updates. Harley’s director of motorcycle planning, Scott Habegger, says the new line has been informed by customer feedback.

“Project Rushmore has been touched by thousands of people, most of them being our customers and our employees,” said Scott Habegger, Harley-Davidson Director of Motorcycle Planning. “The voice of the customer is represented not just up front, but throughout the process. In our product development process, we gather input and ideas at formal focus groups, but also at all the events we attend, at our demo rides, sometimes just talking to that rider or passenger sitting on the next stool at a diner. In addition, Harley-Davidson dealers provide valuable input. We then take our ideas and solutions back to customers as prototypes and get more feedback before settling on a final design. With these inputs approved, we are then able to get into production very quickly. We really feel that we are in this together as riders.”

On the digital side the Project Rushmore initiative has brought the connected car to the motorcycle. Its color-screen Boom! Box infotainment systems feature the first original-equipment voice recognition and touchscreen for music, GPS navigation and phone in motorcycling, with quality audio, Bluetooth connectivity, text-to-speech technology, plus support for intercom and CB communications in a single module.

Harley has also created its first-ever global marketing campaign under the “United by Independents” thematic. A :60 television commercial called “Our Night,” that’s fueled by a modern cover of The Beatles’ anthem “Come Together” anchors the fully integrated marketing effort. The company “crowd-sourced” the global music industry to reimagine the iconic song. Dozens of bands shared its vision, but The Strypes, a young, high-energy rock and blues band from Ireland, rose to the top. The band will use the song as its North American debut.

Additionally, Harley-Davidson “crowd-sourced” the talent for the commercial. Real riders star in the spot and the commercial closes with a montage of the faces of Harley-Davidson fans and employees – all cast through social media.



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by Brandon Gutman
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Brandon is an expert connector and seasoned business development professional. As Principal of Brand Approved, he's led the advisory to become the bridge between brand marketers and best of breed service providers that are reshaping the industry.

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