A Dream Job At Harley-Davidson

Undoubtedly, some of you saw the news this last week that Harley-Davidson is hiring interns.

Nothing new there – internship has been a part of big business for decades, but Harley is actually doing something – something that may be the smartest thing to come out of Milwaukee in a long time.

They’re going to hire social-media-savvy young people who are either in college or have just graduated with an eye to a career in social media, Harley will pay them, teach them to ride, and then give them a bike and a map.

The job?

Document riding as a young person.  Post it, blog it, SnapChat it, YouTube it, you name it.

Just get it out there.

Oh, and by the way, these interns get to keep the bike that Harley gives them.

Now, before you sign up, understand that most of us are too old to play intern, even if it does sound great.

I think it might be the smartest play Harley has made since the Evo motor.  We’ve been talking about the aging demographic of riders – especially Harley riders – for a long time and of all the silly stuff that Harley has done in the last few years, this is one thing that just might actually work.

Harley is dubbing the 12 week internship as the  “Find Your Freedom” internship program, and the gig almost sounds too good to be true.  I guess the biggest challenge I see is this:  so many of the Millennial generation – the folks that Harley wants to hire – seem to be lost in a sort of technological daze.  You and I are dodging them on the road as they jockey through traffic in their Hondas, texting while they drive, sipping a latte, and in a lot of ways, the generation gap between the freedom that Harley has marketed for the last 40 years is a freedom that a lot of young people today don’t seem to want.

Personally, I’m looking forward to finding out how they turn this into a marketing effort in the coming months.  Harley will have a lot of content these kids create, so what will be the reaction?

Let’s look at the good things that come from this…

  • More educated and younger riders who are tech savvy enough to be able to help us old farts update their phone on the side of the road.
  • Somebody who can actually see without reading glasses to effectively follow the directions on the Poker Run.
  • Better looking girls that know a Shovelhead from an Evo.
  • Harleys replacing Volkswagens in front of the Yoga studio.
  • Vegan menus at biker bars.
  • Younger seat warmers

I’m excited to see how this all turns out and, given the timing, I’ll certainly be interested to see what Harley does with this program at Sturgis this year.  No matter what, though, it is nice to see that someone in Milwaukee is thinking and understands that re-branded marketing from years past is not going to re-energize the brand, re-imagining who the next riders are and connecting to them is the only way to capture them and their supplementary income.

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