ARCHIVES: This is legacy content from before Marketing Dive acquired Mobile Marketer in early 2017. Some information, such as publication dates, may not have migrated over. Check out the new Marketing Dive site for the latest marketing news.

Harley-Davidson brings Periscope on the road, revealing 2016 lineup

Motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson took fans on a ride around the world via Periscope in a unique spin on live streaming product unveils, manifesting the app?s potential in obtaining special brand-consumer relationships. 

The brand revealed its 2016 line of motorcycles in multiple streams on Periscope where viewers were taken on a virtual test drive around the world. As live streaming apps become more mainstream, the overload of marketing content through these platforms compels brands such as Harley-Davidson to strive for efforts to be more conspicuous, exhibited by the virtual ride. 

"Real-time streaming is a new consumer engagement medium and an even newer one for marketing," said Michael Becker, cofounder and managing partner at mCordis, Sunnyvale, CA. "Relatively few consumers have used it and even fewer marketers have experience with it. 

"To this end, there are no widely accepted best practices or benchmarks," he said. "This program is unique given that you have a extremely well establish brand like Harley-Davidson experimenting with such a new medium.

"Leveraged well, real-time streaming can help brands forge a highly personal relationship with their customers. Personal relationships is exactly what Harley-Davidson looks for."

Up Periscope
Harley-Davidson is releasing its 2016 lineup of motorcycles, and took to Periscope to generate hype for the brand, hoping its first worldwide virtual ride will excite fans. Spanning multiple countries, Harley riders were showcased on the brand?s official page driving the new hogs. 

Twitter users who follow the brand were invited to join the motorcycle tour. Harley-Davidson shared links for each city?s virtual ride on its Twitter page, and fans were treated to seeing the brand new bikes in action. 

The streams took place starting in Portland, OR, spanning numerous cities such as Sydney, Tokyo, Barcelona, Toronto, Mexico City, Las Vegas and back to Portland. 

The brand unveiled a variety of motorcycles such as New Iron 883 and Forty-Eight models, Fat Boy S and Softail Slim S limited-edition cruisers, Softail and Dyna upgraded engines and the return of Road Glide Ultra. 

Attracting attention 
Product unveils are seen often on live stream apps, since the platform seems to be the go-to space for marketers wishing to reveal new products to fans. For instance, Disney jumped in on a current YouTube trend to promote merchandise while streaming from the newest installment of the cult classic Star Wars films in an attempt to further dramatize the unveiling of its line of toys (see more). 

Also, online cosmetics manufacturer and retailer Julep reveals a sneak peak of each month's installment of its subscription service through a live stream on Google+ with founder/CEO Jane Park to create buzz and boost the brand's image after a recent setback (see more). 

However, with so many brands introducing this promotional tactic, it is important for marketers to make their efforts stand out. Harley-Davidson made sure of this by introducing a captivating experience on the app, rather than simply showing the products. 

"It is well understood that Harley-Davidson?s marketing is focused on creating unique, sharable experiences," Mr. Becker said. "Harley-Davidson is more about lifestyle than simply transportation.  

"Leveraging real-time streaming in their marketing will bring the Harley lifestyle to the palm of their prospects and customers hands," he said. "The average age of a Harley rider is 49.  

"According to Horizon Media about 25 percent of 35- to 49-year-olds are interested in trying out this medium, while 50 percent of 18 to 34 year old are. This program is a perfect fit in that it lets them cater to a good portion of their existing audience and opens them up to a new, younger audience as well. Also, Harley-Davidson can learn and help establish the industry best practices and benchmarks."

Final take
Brielle Jaekel is editorial assistant at Mobile Marketer