Marketing can either elevate a relatively standard product to something unique or give consumers the impression that a truly impressive good is not worth the investment. Moreover, certain examples illustrate that even the most influential brands can fail with their new products if the releases do not correlate with the company’s ideals, values, branding, and target consumer. Thus, even brands with loyal customers and a strong image, such as Harley Davidson, can fail to market a new release and experience negative consequences, resulting in financial and reputational losses.
A company that is prolific in marketing is Spotify. Spotify signed a contract with one of the most influential podcasters, Joe Rogan, creating revenue and finding a new consumer base that was able to enjoy their online platform and innovative product (Nieborg et al., 2020). Another example is Instagram and the marketing surrounding the nuanced concept of social media based on pictures. Such an approach was new at the time, which allowed users to have an experience that they could not have on any other websites. Last but not least, Red Bull’s marketing reflects the identity of the brand. Instead of making countless flavors and complex packaging, Red Bull sponsors major sporting events (Lindblom, 2022). The marketing strategy helps consumers easily identify their products based on the strong image of the brand itself.
On the other hand, ineffective marketing can lead to major financial and reputational losses despite the company’s influence. For example, the platform Google +, which is similar to Facebook, did not find a niece and was deemed uninteresting due to the similarities with other social media platforms. Thus, consumers did not find it necessary to use it as the more popular and almost identical Facebook was a more accessible option. Motorola smartphones are also much less competitive due to the fact that certain key features can only be found in the products offered by competitors. While the regular phones were Motorola’s most considerable success, the market change has caused the brand to lose appeal and consumers. Last but not least, an example of failure to market a product is Harley Davidson’s cologne, which was released in 1990 (Deng & Messinger, 2021). It was soon discontinued due to the lack of customer targeting strategies and inappropriate brand expansion that was not in line with the overall image of the company.
Harley Davidson is a company specializing in motorcycles. The branding is based on the biker lifestyle, which is why it has many loyal customers who invest in a pricey vehicle for multiple reasons. First, the products themselves are high-quality and appealing to the niece that the manufacturer has chosen. Yet, there are multiple competitors who offer similar goods for a more attractive price, which suggests that the loyalty of Harley Davidson consumers correlates with the iconic branding. Harley Davidson is often associated with a particular image, usually involving individuals driving old-school choppers and listening to heavy metal. Thus, creating a cologne did not fit the overall image that the company had been trying to create for decades. Instead, it was viewed as a standard organization trying to aim for a more mainstream market and dismiss its consumer base by marketing products not suitable for the targeted population. Instead, creating leather jackets, helmets, or opening bars under the brand’s name would be more suitable options.
Similar to a rock releasing a pop album or a talented arthouse artist designing logos for major brands, Harley Davidson made the mistake of forgetting about their concept. The consumers were wilfully dissatisfied with the decision of marketing a cologne, and the reputation of the company has suffered from this business strategy. In this case, ineffective marketing managed to create circumstances in which consumers felt dismissed, causing them to revolt against the brand’s expansion.
Deng, Q. (C., & Messinger, P. R. (2021). Dimensions of brand-extension fit. International Journal of Research in Marketing.
Lindblom, J. (2022). Transformational atmospheres of international sporting events. A Research Agenda for Event Impacts, 129–140.
Nieborg, D. B., Duffy, B. E., & Poell, T. (2020). Studying platforms and cultural production: Methods, institutions, and practices. Social Media + Society, 6(3).