From its conception, Victory Motorcycles has had it’s sites set on becoming America’s #1 bike manufacturer. They knew it would be a tough battle, in a David versus Goliath type match up. Only this giant isn’t just one massive creature. Harley has built a culture that has formed a close-knit, and even cult-like community that spans the globe. Just getting out of the shadow cast by this giant will be a challenge for Victory, let alone finding a way to stand in their own light.
Despite the overwhelming odds, Victory has a strategy that goes well beyond fighting Harley for share of mind. In fact, the position that Harley owns in the minds of consumers, is exactly what Victory plans to reinforce, but to Harley’s disadvantage.
With a Harley bike comes a rich culture and a set of beliefs that has defined the brand for decades. But there is a new generation of riders on the horizon, and some are questioning whether the Harley culture has been woven so tight that it won’t resonate with this new and more youthful audience.
Victory is betting that the Harley culture will be seen by this new generation as a negative definition attached to the brand, and they are acting on this prediction. Victory is working hard to position itself as “The New American Motorcycle.” In 2005, they teamed up with 20th Century Fox to feature the Victory Vegas model in the movie Fantastic Four. They also partnered with custom bike builders, Arien and Cory Ness, to create the 2007 Jackpot series.
Victory may not be the only one foreseeing trouble in their future. Harley recently announced the launch of Dark Custom, a new sub-brand aimed at a younger generation of riders. Brand Elastic says this is a nice stretch.
What do you think?
Can the Harley brand endure across multiple generations the way Coke as done? Or is the culture surrounding the brand so strong that it won’t allow for a new generation of riders?