Very few companies have cultivated such a strong and successful brand image as Harley-Davidson has. One that has created a whole lifestyle essence. But recently the company announced plans for a roadshow to introduce a line of electric motorcycles, which seems to go counter to its iconic brand image. Is this suicide or smart strategy?
The key to successful strategy is staying relevant. Any company that stops re-imagining boundaries runs the danger of becoming obsolete. For Harley, its core followers are within the finite group of middle-aged men. In order to expand its relevance to new audiences, the company is venturing outside its current boundaries and looking to attract women and environment-conscious riders. Importantly, Harley is doing this in a way mindful of guarding its brand image and not upsetting its current core followers.
I am pleased to be speaking this year at Forum One, the biggest business and leadership event in Central Europe. It will take place on October 23 – 24, at the Siemens Arena in Vilnius, Lithuania.
I will be sharing the stage with such luminaries as Seth Godin, Ken Schmidt and Jaan Tallinn, in front of an audience of 5,000. I will be speaking about re-imagining boundaries and creating continuous blue ocean market spaces. It promises to be a high-energy and impactful event, so send me a note if you plan to attend.
If you have read my book ‘Slingshot’, perhaps you noticed the striking similarity between a scenario I presented in the book and the story of my last blog. I would like to elaborate on this exciting resemblance here.
In my last post, I drew your attention to the seemingly absurd partnership between Ford Motor Company and H.J. Heinz – the maker of ketchup. But this union isn’t that crazy after all, in fact it may be visionary: “Ford announced that it and Heinz have made a good bit of progress, as they've worked to turn the latter's tomato waste into the former's bioplastics. Ford says that tomato skins, for example, may ultimately be used to create plastic for wiring brackets, panels, or storage bins” (Yahoo.com auto news)
A key component of my Slingshot Framework is a visual mapping tool I call ‘the Accordion Chart’. The Accordion Chart is a visual method that enables you to explore the market spaces your organization currently resides in and should look to occupy.
The Accordion Chart illuminates the full spectrum of your value proposition from its most narrow to its most broad definition, leading to profound insights:
All businesses are subject to the unpredictable evolution of the market place. The danger you face is of misjudging or ignoring trends that can make your business become obsolete.
Consider the following historical reminder. In the first century AD, the city of Pompeii in Italy was covered in toxic ash from the massive eruption of nearby Mount Vesuvius. The resulting solidified volcanic debris left behind hollow molds from which casts of victims caught in various poses by the eruption were recreated.