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An essay examining the implications of “Marketer facilitated consumer events”(brandfests) in relation to H.O.G community (Harley-Davidson Owners Group).
This report aims to review the marketing theory topic of “Marketer facilitated consumer events” (brandfests) and how it relates to Harley Owners Group(H.O.G). Harley owners group is the brand community of Harley Davidson motorcycles, one of the top motorcycle manufacturers in
Marketing environments are changing along with time, so marketing managers are always in a dynamic mode of operation inorder to implement approximate strategies at right time. Even in the middle of discovering new measures, relationship between customer and an organization still occupy the top-most position from all aspects in a business environment. Brand community is an implementation of such type of a relationship, where customers of a particular brand joined together as a community who relate to each other in ways that include acquired similarity, tradition, patterns of consumption, and a sense of responsibility for the welfare of that brand(Muniz and O’Guinn 2001). The relationship between customer loyalty and the financial performance of firms is well documented and widely accepted (Bhattacharya, Rao and Glynn 1995). Hence, higher the strength of brand community, higher will be the intensity of relationship between customers and the brand. For the purpose of this essay, brandfests are defined as marketer-facilitated consumer events includes consumption activities organised by responsible brands to enhance transcendent consumer experience(TCE) with specific outcome of increased customer loyalty through connections with a brand community(Shouten, McAlexander and Koenig 2007).
Marketer facilitated consumer events are those events conducted by the brand owners or company inorder to promote themselves and also to intensify the relationship between customers. It is one of the key-hole practices to offer transcendent customer experiences to increase the customer loyalty. Conceptually, there are mainly two types transcendent customer experiences –flow and peak experiences (Privette 1983). Flow is a purpose oriented, unique style of short term experience whereas peak is less intentional, but transformational experience, which are capable to make unforgettable memories through psychological force of attractions.
Brandfest events falls under peak consumer experience, where consumers feels intimately connected with extreme phenomenons such as relationship with nature, anthropology, social interactions etc. Those type of customer experiences have the ability to create a positive impacts on customer’s attitude, behavior and make them to stay connected with the brand.
Qualitative research theories illustrates that participation in marketer facilitated consumer brandfests strenghthens each of the component such as customer relationships, increases or extending the brand community, and thereby boosting the overall community(Mc.Alexander et al. 2002). Mc.Alexander also depicts that, the impact of brandfests is greatest for customers who have less experience with the brandand less commitment to it, making the brandfest a strategically powerful tool for building high customer loyalty. Majority of the companies organise charity oriented programs or sport events in brandfests because, it provides an opportunity for creating a social bond between customers as well as non-customers with the brand.(Peloza and Hassay 2007). Another important aspect is that, the companies always approach customers in a welcoming attitude to initiate in a pleasant mood(Shouten and McAlexander 1998).
Evaluating the above postulates and theories, it is clear that, brandfests plays a pertinent role in marketing by enhancing customer loyalty. It serves as a platform for integrating human minds, building relations and thereby customer loyalty. Brandfests are events which not only concentrate on current community members but also serves itself as a platform for finding new customers. Overall, brandfests contribute four types of customer relationships. They are Customer-product relationship, customer-customer relationship, customer-brand relationship, and customer-company relationship.
The impact of marketer facilitated brandfests on customer relationship is huge compared to other types of factors improving customer relationship.
Customer-Product relationship will increase a lot during brandfests, beacause the event form a psychological bond between the product and customer through a set of components organised in that event such as contact with natural environments, motivating programs etc.
Such motivational events makes the customer feeling more proud about that brand, and will feel, they attained a top-status in society. Thus relation between brand and customer will imrove more. Customer-customer relation is very important because it plays an indispensable role in increasing the number of customers and thereby extending the brandcommunity. In brandfest events, apart from the current customers, large number of non-customers will assemble. Those non-customers get a chance for knowing about the service,quality and status of the responsible brand from alidated customers and authorized persons of the brand. In turn, the brand also get an opportunity to invite new customers. The existing customers can also provide certain feedbacks regarding brand’s services and maintainences. Also the company can understand their marketing status with the help of feedback. Thus customer company relation will escalate.
The success of a marketer facilitated brandfest lies on efficency of the brandfest conducted by the brand company. Majority of the brand companies are concentrating on improving the customer experience. From my point of view, Higher the efficiency, higher will be the customer loyalty and extension of brand community.
On analysing the graph, we can understand that, if both the components increases, it positively affects the brand community size and it increases. The area of triangle formed by drawing graph between customer loyalty and efficiency of brandfest can be considered as the size of brand community. Efficiency of brandfest can be increased by including components that are capable of providing transcendant consumer experience such as location of the event, offering free gifts and services etc. makes the consumer obligated to return some degree of consideration to the brand company, even it is not immediate or economic (Purkayastha 2004; Sahlins 1972).
Harley-Davidson is one of the top-most motor cycle manufacturing company started in the year 1903. H.O.G, which is abbreviated as Harley Owners Group is the official brand community of Harley-Davidson company. The company, now standing in a premium position have had their own success and depression stories. However, the marketing strategies of company needs a huge appreciation because after the end of world war the profit hares began to decline. It is because of the new entries, and they faced greater depression until 1980. In 1983, they developed Harley owner group, an official brand community for self-promotion and increasing customer loyalty. As a result, they succeeded and till now, no other brand community exists which have a reachability as same as H.O.G. After H.O.G is estabilished, they began to organize marketer-facilitated brandfests.
Harley owners group organised marketer-facilitated brandfest events purely based on traditional
marketing theories and giving more importance to the customer loyalty. On analysing their performance after the establishment of a brand community, we can understand that, by organizing brandfests and events, the customers automatically shifted to a mood of some emotional binding with the brand. It psychologically created a relation and became part of their culture. They implemented a peak form of consumer experience where making the customer some sorts of epiphanic nature. The high degree of transcendent experience given by the company by conducting brandevents in return, yield huge customer loyalty and theirby extension of the community.
The company sponsors motor cycle rallies all over the world with their product for the enthusiasts of their brand’s motorcycles. ReferralCandy BLOG(2016) elucidates that, they regularly organizes the above communal rides, donation drives and other social events. Donation drives and charity oriented rallies are certain type of meaningful brandfests, the fund raised from those rallies are donated to several charity organisations. Such brandfests makes the customer’s mind more emotionally binded to the brand. Simultaneously the efficiency of the brandfest elevates as in thesis. Apart from that, to increase efficiency of brandfests, they maintain certain policies and discounts for the customers. Gifts are more meaningful when they are capable of granting more care and understanding by the company( Sherry 1983).
Impact of marketer facilitated brandfest in H.O.G
According to Robin Farley(2002) of UBS securities states that Harley Davidson moving into a record history exporting 35.9% of their productions across the globe and contribute about 49% of motorcycle market sale in the year 2002. From this cumulative values, we can understand that, the unorthodox move with brandfest plays a significant role in the uplift of Harley-Davidson from a great depression.
Evaluating the above research findings, marketer facilitated consumer events or brandfest can be seen as certain events which stands as a marketing strategy to improve customer loyalty.
These events are organised by the responsible brand company for creating emotional or social bond between customers.From other perspective, it exists as a promotional event of the brand among non-customers. On deeper inspection, it is evident from the postulates and findings that, as the efficiency of brandfests increases, the customer loyalty and the size of the community also increases.
On relating the theories and postulates with the brand events of Harley-Dvidson owners group(H.O.G), we can see that, the pure implementation of concept of brandfest is applied in H.O.G community without losing any component influencing bond relationships and visualized the evidence of making history in marketing from a greater depression by steering successful brandfests with a well-organised brand community. Hence marketer facilitated brandfest can be applied as a core marketing strategy to build an efficient brand community which inturn leads to high degree of customer loyalty. On approaching from broader views,the above idea is not a short-term markeing strategy to gain much results. It requires time, simply we can say that, it is a long-term investment process where a vibrant outcome is guaranteed.
Thereexist some possibilities such that, the probability of reducing the time taken to obtain an immense output, but it I beyond the scope of this essay.
Overall, Marketer facilitated brandfests events can be listed as one of the purest and evident form of marketing strategy inorder to improve customer loyalty with innovative ideas which are capable of triggering transcendent consumer experiences.
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