Harley-Davidson is moving from badass outlaw to badass dad. Here’s why and how you can make the transition too.

Harley Davidson Street 750This Harley is roughly $8,000.     Honda Shadow This Honda, $7,500.

Both have roughly the same sized engine. They look similar. I’m sure that they ride similar … but I don’t know for sure, because I’ve only ridden one. The one I bought.

I’m a 44-year-old father of two with no tattoos. I’m an executive whose closet is noticeably lacking in black leather. Until recently, I’d never put a motorcycle into gear.

But when it came time to buy a bike, I only walked into one dealership – Harley.

Yep, the one that is $500 more expensive.

While I don’t fit the stereotype, I DO fit Harley’s market. I’m a middle-aged, white, male with a little extra disposable income.

I bought the Harley-Davidson for the reputation. The legend. The tradition. The BRAND!

But it’s the STEREOTYPE that is killing Harley-Davidson. As white, male Boomers get too old to ride, Harley sales are starting to tank. Harley-Davidson has taken a hit to the tune of a 4% sales decline in the last year. To survive, the brand needs to evolve from Sons of Anarchy to a Millennial, more racially and gender-diverse image. The sale MUST still be lifestyle … heck, it’s Harley-fricken-Davidson. But it’s time to rebuild the brand from the bike frame up.

Harley-Davidson is making the transition from the badass outlaw image to the badass dad.

Harley ad with dad

They are also adjusting their product line, introducing the Street models that are smaller, nimbler and a far cry from the $30,000 ticket that folks are used to seeing on H-D. They are even working on an electric motorcycle.

Our entire industry needs to make the same moves. 

In 2014, Viacom Media Networks released results from a three-year study of Millennial Disruption on 15 key industries. They surveyed 10,000 people born between 1981-2000.

They found that the BANKING industry is at greatest risk of disruption!

  • 53% see no differentiation between banks
  • 71% would rather visit a dentist than listen to a bank
  • 1 in 3 are open to switching in the next 90 days
  • 33% believe they won’t need a bank at all
  • 73% would be more excited about new offerings in financial services from Google, Amazon, Apple, PayPal or Square than from their own nationwide bank.


I firmly believe that our entire industry’s bad rep is pinned on 4 brands: Bank of America, Chase, Citi and Wells Fargo. The “Big Four.” 

Our rebrand challenge is to offer checking, savings, loans and investments WITHOUT being like them. 53% of Millennials see no difference in banks, we have an enormous mountain to climb.

Millennials are an interesting psychographic: They are simultaneously the most “ME” generation ever and the most giving, socially responsible.

We need to keep that in mind:

  • Don’t “sell,” consult.
  • Don’t make marketing about YOU, make it about THEM.
  • Be more socially responsible. Not to generate sales, but because you care.
  • Have more fun!

Just as Harley-Davidson is blowing up the outlaw stereotype, we need to annihilate the boring, corrupt, big bank image if we are going to survive.

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