As the lights dim on Milwaukee for the 120th Anniversary of Harley Davidson and whilst revellers make their way to their beds after taking in the sights and sounds of bikes, beers and music…there is also some dissension amongst the once loyal fanbase.
It is hard to find a critic amongst those celebrating the company’s long history and the mode and manner of the party ongoings, but some have questioned the participation of the likes of Green Day for their ‘anti American’ lyrics of the past and whether H-D should even be linked with any kind of patriotic fervour.
The growing backlash against the political correctness that has overtaken big corporations and the media especially has made the everyday citizen dig their heels into the dirt and push back as a final act of defiance in the only way they know how.
“Hit them where it hurts!” And that would be in the bank balance! For a growing number of people believe that for too long big corporations have pedalled their ‘woke’ agendas which has alienated the once true and loyal.
Corporations like Budweiser, Starbucks, Target and Jack Daniels have come under increasing criticism and especially Budweiser have seen catastrophic hits on their profits and share prices too. Now, with guilt by association, many believe that motorcycle companies should not be anywhere near this discussion, but Harley Davidson have become embroiled in the rhetoric and have now becomes targets themselves of those raging; “Boycott Now” and “Go Woke – Go Broke”
Whilst the company should indeed be proud of their long history and success in the motorcycle market, they are also caught in the no-mans land of projections and decision making. They would be damned if they did or didn’t! They need to appease the traditionalists but also need to galvanise the newcomers too.
Most would not have any contention with a company attempting to navigate the stormy waters ahead but they take umbrage at companies leaping onto trends that most do not associate with and are seen as political manoeuvres rather than sound business strategy.
The final analysis will be whether the company bank balance will take such a beating that it cannot rebound off the ropes, let alone get up off the canvas and survive an eight second countdown. It is all well and good for people to propagate a campaign against the company but it depends whether the masses respond or not and this will only become evident when the company release their quarterly results.
In just over a week, Harley Davidson will give its clearest indication of how the 2023 strategy has worked: successful or failure? How many motorcycles would have been sold, how much profit has been made and how its other commercial activities have fared too…and notably how they match up to last year’s results and previous years for that matter.