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Synopsis

In the early 1980s, Harley-Davidson was on the verge of bankruptcy. In the general public's opinion, quality was substandard-of both motorcycles and riders. Harleys leaked oil and were often broken down. Riders were roughnecks, out to raise hell. The Harley-Davidson brand was tarnished. What s more, the charges were true.

By the mid-1980s, Harley couldn't produce enough bikes to keep the public happy. Dealers were selling bikes off the showroom floor, struggling to assuage customers frustration. And today, Harley-Davidson is a model brand. Harley-Davidson isn't just a motorcycle company anymore. It is a community, a look, a source of self-expression, an all-American appeal for freedom-all expressed in one little logo.

So, what happened? How did Harley manage to pull itself from the fire, brush itself off, and ride off into the sunset? The secret: branding. Histories will tell you how Harley-Davidson closed the quality gap between Hogs and the cheaper, faster, sleeker Japanese bikes; how Harley used Japanese manufacturing methods to increase its cash flow; how Harley clawed its way back from the brink of bankruptcy. All these aspects were important to Harley s rise from the ashes, no doubt, and as such are discussed in this book. But the true power of the big, beautiful, orange and black machine that is Harley-Davidson lies in its image, the Bar and Shield, the brand.

Rebuilding the Brand: How Harley-Davidson Became King of the Road is the story of how a core group led a team of not only marketing folks but also employees, management, dealers, and vendors to rebuild the Harley-Davidson image. Told through the perspective of Clyde Fessler-who held several positions within Harley, from head of marketing services to VP of business development-Rebuilding the Brand provides dynamic branding information couched in an entertaining story. Fessler describes the methods used to create the iconic image Harley-Davidson enjoys today, methods that can be translated to nearly any industry, and explores the topics of brand experience, brand personality, brand extension, brand association, brand consistency, and brand welfare.

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