‘We want to continue to keep feeding the dream’

Q&A with Anoop Prakash, managing director, Harley- Davidson India, as the brand shifts gears on the social highway

‘We want to continue to keep feeding the dream’

Harley Davidson launched its YouTube channel in India with a campaign titled 'Find your freedom' recently. We caught up with Anoop Prakash, MD, Harley Davidson India, for more.

What’s the campaign about?

We started our presence on Facebook in September 2012. What’s been great about it is that in the first 27 days we hit 1,00,000 fans. Today, we’re sitting at over 4,00,000 fans. The opportunity we have to reach a new and younger audience through Facebook has been phenomenal. On 29 April 2013, we launched our YouTube channel. We’re seeing the data and online video viewing has doubled. We are talking about 3.5 billion videos being viewed in a month here in India. Content that we have of our rallies, events and content about our products and history will be leveraged on the YouTube channel and working it together with Facebook. Last year, we ran an integrated campaign that went viral. The campaign titled, ‘20 things to do’ before we die was playing on the Mayan calendar. We engaged people and got them to engage their videos of what would they do before they die.

This year, we’re picking up on that and this year’s campaign will be called, ‘Find your freedom’. This year marks the 110th year of Harley Davidson worldwide. The global tagline is ‘110 years of freedom’. What we are trying to do is make sure everyone who engages with us is actively thinking of their own freedom - whether that is connecting to us through our events or the campaigns we run online. We’ll be asking them what freedom means to them.

What’s the correlation between the likes to enquiries or purchases in retail outlets?

A lot of our likes are coming straight online. A lot of it is driven by our events and activities in different markets. As far as how they translate to our sales, we look at this group of enthusiasts and they are people who express direct interest in a test ride or something. But most of the likes, are very enthusiastic fans who we call dreamers. They’ll come in to the brand at some point in time when it’s possible for them and we want to continue to keep feeding the dream. It’s more of an outreach model than a sales generation model.

How many stores do you have? What’s the expansion plan?

We currently have nine showrooms open. By the end of the year, we plan to have 13 as we plan to expand into Goa, Jaipur, Indore and Pune.

What’s been the interest from tier two cities?

Yes. We’re looking to expand into these cities because there’s already interest from fans who stay there - they come into our bigger showrooms across the tier one cities. So, when we see that critical mass forming, we’ll look into dealer partners who make our brand and launch in these cities.

What are the challenges?

People know a lot about Harley Davidson as a motorcycle, but they not be not aware that the brand is a lifestyle that represents freedom. Translating that lifestyle to individuals who may not have been exposed to Harley Davidson in the past is a challenge. What’s great about Facebook and now YouTube is that you can pull people into the lifestyle experience with visuals. That’s why our viral campaigns where we engage our consumers are so successful. Getting fans to engage with the brand is a challenge.

Any learnings from the social media space?

The biggest learning is seeing the frequency and the amount of engagement they have on Facebook and YouTube. We posted the YouTube channel content two weeks ago and posted a lot of historical content, global content and Indian content. We are surprised that our users want to access the Indian content. We thought our users here would be more interested in the global content. So, I think there’s actually a rich desire for people to engage in what’s closest to them. Leveraging global content is not going to get it done.

Other than social media, what other media will be used?

All of our campaigns are integrated. They don’t live only in social media. They also have an extension in our dealership and events. We’ve got a rock music event, events for dealers and owners and we’ll integrate our social media campaign there.

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Campaign India
Campaign India
3 October 2014