The financial markets generate a lot of number on a per second basis. There are people who have made it a profession to convert this information into trends, buy-sell signals, charts and pivot tables. Over the last 18 years of financial journalism, I have realised that every number has a story to tell. And these numbers as a trend normally never lie. I am forever looking for these trends.
Harley-Davidson understands what millennials like Anushriya Gulati want and leverages its identity as one that embraces freedom
Anushriya Gulati sat on her own Harley-Davidson when she was 19 years old. It was a Street 750 which she got as a birthday gift. She rode the bike from the showroom in Chandigarh to her home in Dehradun. A couple of years later, in September 2014, she made the Kashmir-to-Kanyakumari journey along with five other Harley-Davidson riders. This wasn’t a joyride: The objective of the trip was to create awareness about “saving the girl child”. In the three years since, she has clocked 70,000 kilometres, one of the few women in India to do so.
“I think it is all about this Harley-Davidson community. You become a part of the family from day one and nobody looks at you as a woman rider or a newbie. If you have a Harley-Davidson, then you are a part of the group,” says Gulati.
Harley-Davidson entered the Indian market in 2009 as a luxury bike maker, and has leveraged its identity as one that embraces freedom. “Harley-Davidson is about personal freedom. We have appealed to broad generations over 115 years. We connect to individuals and create brand experiences which range from bike rallies, rafting and swapping stories. We are the original social media club before Facebook or Twitter,” says Peter Mackenzie, managing director, Harley-Davidson, India and China.
And therein lies the rub. Brands like Harley-Davidson have understood what customers want. Specifically, the millennials, an increasingly important segment for luxury brands. Take a recent Bain & Co report which projects that, by 2025, millennials and Generation Z will account for 45 percent of the global personal luxury goods market.
“Luxury consumption is becoming a part of the lifestyle of millennials and they do so impulsively as well. This clearly shows that any brand has to be in their visibility set at all times. What this leads to is incremental digital activations which are relevant and updated as per the latest conversations,” says Roland Folger, managing director and CEO, Mercedes-Benz India.
Because millennials think and shop differently, they present a unique set of challenges. As Claudia D’Arpizio, a Milan-based partner at Bain & Co and one of the study’s lead authors, tells Forbes, “Consuming products and brands is not just a way to say who you are but also a way to define who you are. This is why millennials are more engaged than previous generations with self-expression.”