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Harman Kardon, JBL Preparing For Coming-Out Party In Fall

2/24/2010 10:40:00 AM Eastern

Northridge,
Calif. - About 20 new
Harman Kardon
and JBL
home audio products will launch in the fall with new industrial designs, advertising
messages and packaging to reposition the brands following an extensive round of
consumer research, Harman Consumer said.

The Infinity and AKG brands are currently undergoing a similar
research regimen.

For the HK and JBL brands, the company researched consumers'
perceptions of each brand, product features desired by consumers, and user
experiences, said consumer and field marketing director Chris Dragon said.

Based on how consumers view the brands, Harman will develop a
consistent message in the brands' advertising and packaging "to make it clear"
and "be consistent in the way we tell the story," a corporate spokesman continued.

The research found that consumers view the Harman Kardon brand as
a premium, sophisticated brand steeped in a long tradition of quality and
appealing to aficionados in much the way that premium cigars and wines appeal
to aficionados of those products, the spokesman said. The JBL brand, in
contrast, is perceived as "bringing people together in social gatherings with
professional sound," Dragon said.

Last year, Harman Consumer executives told TWICE that
they would rebuild distribution, launch new products and marketing programs,
and differentiate the home brands from one another more than they had been in
the past.

In January, Harman Consumer announced it was dropping all
two-step distribution for its JBL, Infinity and Harman Kardon home audio
brands; JBL and Harman Kardon multimedia products; and AKG headphones to "create
more targeted and powerful retail partnerships, support Harman's premium brand
equity, and ensure a richer in-store consumer product experience," the company
said at the time. The new business model would also provide retailers with
"greater reliability and profitability going forward, as well as significantly
increased interaction and planning with the Harman Consumer team," the company
continued.

The group dropped "a considerable number of distributors," who
largely sold to independent dealers and custom installers, as part of an effort
to "take control of our distribution" and exert a greater degree of influence
over how the Harman products are presented and sold, Dragon said at the time. Distribution
of 12-volt products is unchanged.

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