Since 2014, we’ve worked with Harley-Davidson to address several strategic challenges — from deciding where to focus long term R+D efforts to identifying key opportunities in the Horizon 2 areas for growth. We’ve also helped them develop internal capability — teaching senior execs to leverage an outside-in approach and training high potentials how to explore trends and their ecosystem.
Harley-Davidson is one of the most revered brands in the world – inspiring passion and loyalty that is rivaled by few and envied by many across industries. Despite the strength of the brand, H-D struggled to connect with next generation riders, and their core consumers were aging out of “the ride”.
To appeal to a younger demographic, H-D knew they had to make the right investments in digital technology platforms but didn’t know where to focus. There were 100’s of areas where H-D could invest – from IoT to e-commerce, from bike-to-bike communication to AR / VR experiences. The organization was paralyzed, struggling to make choices. Everything was relevant, but nothing was relevant.
We leveraged our Applied Scenario approach to crack the code on relevance. Rather than focusing on an ambiguous and unwieldy space (digital), we tethered our thinking to key aspects of H-D’s brand (freedom, leisure, rebellion and community) and business (manufacturing, financing, retail and training). Based on these areas of relevance, we built out and explored 13 future scenarios that captured succinct impact trends for today and the future.
In looking at digital across these vectors, themes began to emerge. AR showed up as a driving force in at least half a dozen scenarios. Investing in AR would not only create a necessary capability, but also positively impact multiple facets of the brand and business. What was initially considered a small idea, an untethered technology platform, became a bigger opportunity and critical capability.
The identified opportunities in digital and the business cases supporting them were so attractive for H-D that their Executive Leadership team and Board of Directors signed off on substantial investments in multiple areas. The work created a roadmap for H-D’s success in digital, which you will see on the road for years to come.