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Here’s a hint: 15%
What brands can learn from Harley-Davidson about customer engagement.

Our agency’s value proposition is to help clients achieve cult-like status. But in the case of our client Deeley Harley Davidson Canada, it’s a bit different. They already represent one of the most quintessential cult brands in the world. For them, our task is more about maintaining their cult status, or as their CEO says “don’t let us become mainstream”.

People often ask me what is Harley’s secret. How do they continue to get people so lathered up about their brand, and continue to sell premium bikes despite a difficult economy. There are numerous answers to Harley’s secret sauce, and perhaps the most impactful is their value proposition focused on selling a lifestyle of Freedom. But almost as important is their media mix. Harley lives my agency’s adage of ‘make an impression. Don’t buy impressions.” As Mark-Han’s Richer – Harley Davidson CMO – recently shared with Ad Age, “Harley spends just 15% of its marketing budget on traditional media. The rest is spent on riding with customers and trying to create “epic” experiences. We think the best form of advertising is great experiences spread by word-of-mouth.”

I’ve worked with over 50 brands throughout my career. All of them spent over half of their of their annual marketing budgets on paid media. And everyone one of my retail clients spent over 50% on flyers/circulars. At Cult, we’re proactively seeking courageous CMO’s who are fed up with status quo and refuse to do things because “that’s the way we’ve always done it”. Most brand’s media mix needs to be blown up and dollars redirected to the things that matter most.

The goal isn’t to get customers to buy. It’s to get customers to buy in.


Remember, the goal isn’t to get customers to buy. It’s to get customers to buy in. And there’s a proven process to do that, and it doesn’t involve more ads.

Further Reading
Why We Exist
FIX PT.2 Fix Your Brand With 8 Cult-Brand Principals
FIX PT.1 Cure Disengaged Customers, Prospects & Staff
FIX: A new prescription to cure disengaged customers, prospects or staff
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