Like many markets for Harley-Davidson, most owners in Japan are from an ageing subcultural group tied to a ‘motorcycle revolution’ that landed 25 years ago.
Since then motorcycle popularity in Japan has been relatively low, with difficulty in maintaining them in urban environments, a clear alternative in the robust public transport system, and a preference for local brands like Honda and Yamaha.
Harley-Davidson were looking to understand these challenges and see how they could connect with a new generation of rider.
We collaborated with the Harley-Davidson team to understand subcultures in Japan adjacent to their brand – seeking out skater, biking, surf, climbing, and other communities to find correlations and differences with motorcycle culture.
We knew that these customers didn’t connect with brands through traditional marketing, but looked to align them with Harley-Davidson by providing test rides, lifestyle products, and online platforms that fit with their expectations. The brand spirit of “go bold, be free” became the north star we focused upon, introducing people to the culture without having to own a motorcycle.
We discovered and engaged new audiences through content experimentation, applying the insights learned from landing pages, banners, and platforms to identify meaningful audiences for the brand, including adjacent subcultures.
This included daily optimisation of content to refine our models and increase conversion, resulting in a 40% increase of new registrations from 18-34 year olds, 8-9% conversion from social media signups, and 60% of total user registrations coming from our segmentation.