Living The Brand
In a departure from our usual A Day in the Life column, we’ve invited Zoë Francis-Cox, Director at content agency Dialogue, to tell us how she is living the brand every day with key client Harley-Davidson.
In the context of my work, I’m often met with surprise when I say I didn’t ride a motorcycle before Dialogue started working with Harley-Davidson… responses include “you actually learned to ride a motorbike for your job?”. The answer is simple: yes, I did.
As I browsed through the brief for a magazine for UK members of the Harley Owners Group (HOG) with the team in early 2007, I half-jokingly said that I’d learn to ride a motorcycle if we won this account. Not something I’d ever considered before, but all of sudden it seemed like a cool idea.
Skip forward 12 months and we were working on our first issue – not of a UK magazine, but a localized and translated magazine for six EMEA markets. And with female riders a clear outreach target for the brand, it was only natural that I learned to ride and reported on the experience for our first issue.
At the time, Harley-Davidson had a Riding Academy based in Wales; the test in the UK was far more relaxed than it is now, but an intensive course and two attempts later, I was the proud owner of a ‘big bike’ motorcycle licence. More importantly, I was now a customer.
I bought my first Harley-Davidson, a 2007 Street Bob in Denim Black, just three months later, and by autumn I was on a road trip to Belgium with my partner (I bought him a CBT test for his birthday so he could come too!).
As we published our first issue, I was learning fast about the lifestyle associated with this brand. There were events across the country, the EMEA region, and the world, that all sounded amazing. Riders were very proud to wear their apparel and the H-D badge proudly… and they LOVED taking photographs of them, their bikes, and the great places where they rode them. And now I do too.
Dialogue’s Agency Director Zoë Francis-Cox rides with 1000s of other Harley-Davidson owners in Croatia.
I wanted to be able to share my photos with fellow members, and see other members’ images; I wanted to learn about the best places to ride, the best places to stop for coffee, the best hotels, advice on how to look after my bike, and how to learn to ride better; and I didn’t want to wait three months until the next quarterly printed magazine…
Skip forward a decade… I’m on my fourth bike – a super-cool little Sportster Iron! I’ve ridden to a European event every year, sometimes leading a group. A Harley-Davidson Authorized Tours ride in South Africa resulted in a marriage proposal on the back of an elephant; my husband and I have customised five bikes between us; and road trips have become our escape and our passion.
Dialogue’s work with the Harley owners Group includes video, event management, social media, email communications and printed assets.
As a member of HOG, I now receive a monthly email with all the latest news, tips, event reports and tales from the world of H-D, with UK-specific content (other market editions are available too); the quarterly printed magazine is also digitised with even more members’ images in the digital edition; an online gallery website publishes every single image that is submitted (there are more than 100 every week!) – it’s also linked to an app that facilitates easy upload while on the move. HOG EMEA has a page on a number of social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, which communicate daily on really cool stuff – particularly around the big events. These platforms have really come alive with the use of 360 and VR technology, taking the whole immersive experience to a whole new level! As a member, I’ve never felt closer to this global community of Harley owners. And it’s never been easier to keep an eye on my team!
While working with Harley-Davidson has clearly given me many opportunities to indulge my passion for riding, being a customer as well has clearly influenced the ideas and initiatives I’ve worked on with our client over the years, which in turn has led to even greater engagement between the brand and its community.