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Harman Pushes Brand Synergy In Marketing Campaign

Harman International has
launched a major marketing
campaign that it expects to
boost sales of its consumer,
professional and OEM automotive

The campaign will promote
that its 15 audio and automotive
infotainment brands
belong to a single company
with more than $3 billion in annual

Harman is boosting its worldwide consumer-brand marketing
budget by 45 percent beginning July 1
following a year of austerity budgets. The
budget includes its Harman Consumer
and Harman High Performance AV
groups as well as OEM autosound.

Harman’s new “corporate identity architecture”
will “transfer brand loyalty
and trust” from one brand to another,
encouraging purchasers of one consumer,
pro-audio or OEM autosound/infotainment
brand to buy other Harman
brands, chairman/CEO Dinesh Paliwal
told TWICE.

“Our brand synergy has never really
been exploited,” he explained. “We are a
house of brands, and our strength is our
legendary brands,” which include such
consumer brands as AKG, JBL, Harman/
Kardon, Infinity, Lexicon, Mark
Levinson and Revel.”

Paliwal added, “By strengthening the
association among these brands under
one high-profile umbrella, we will demonstrate the Harman passion for innovation
and financial strength are the unifying
factors for value-added audio and infotainment
solutions of virtually any scale.”

The new strategy accompanies a
change in Harman’s brand identity. Harman
International is shortening its name
to Harman and adopting a new logo.
“We need a crisp name to resonate with
our loyal fans and with the younger generation,”
Paliwal explained. The new logo
features the word Harman appearing on
a steel-blue field, replacing a stylized orange
“H” in use since 1980.

Harman also adopted the tagline
“Where Sound Matters” to celebrate almost
60 years in the audio industry, beginning
with the launch of the Harman
Kardon brand by Dr. Sidney Harman
and Bernard Kardon.

Harman will “put a heavy foot on
the gas pedal” in the coming months to
promote its house-of-brands strategy,
Paliwal told TWICE. The efforts starts
today with full-page ads appearing last
Thursday’s Financial Times, The New
York Times and Wall Street Journal. A
four-page wraparound appearing on the
May issue of Fortune will follow.

Consumer product packaging,
literature and advertising
will begin appearing “almost
instantly” touting the association,
including the integration
of the “by Harman” tag with
all brand logos. The company
will also use its multiyear deal
as an official partner with the
Grammy Awards to promote
its brand family, as will new
JBL and Harman Kardon Facebook
pages and the Web sites of individual

Automaker ads that promote sound
systems carrying a Harman brand
will also tout the Harman association,
Paliwal said. Automakers “want us to
promote the Harman umbrella of brands
to consumers,” he added. “The automotive
business is our biggest business for
branded audio,” he noted.

In boosting the consumer-brand marketing
budget, Harman will launch
a “communications campaign to support
major product launches,” said Eric
Plaskonos, brand management and marketing
service VP for Harman’s consumer
brands worldwide.

The announcements accompanied the
release of a third-quarter financial report
showing Harman operated in the black
for the third consecutive quarter following
several quarters of major losses.

Harman has a stronger bottom line to
support the marketing budget. Worldwide
net sales grew 42 percent in the fiscal
third quarter to $848 million and by
14 percent for the first nine months to
$2.54 billion. Net income hit $18 million
in the third quarter, compared with
a year-ago loss of $69 million, and net income
for the nine-month period hit $25
million, compared with a year-ago loss of
$427 million.

The only division to post a third-quarter
operating loss was the consumer division,
which lost $1 million for the quarter
but posted a $6 million operating profit
for the nine-month period. The thirdquarter
loss was down from the year-ago
$8 million loss, and the $6 million ninemonth
operating profit contrasts with a
year-ago loss of $35 million.

Consumer sales were up 18 percent
in the quarter to $81 million and up
2 percent for the nine months to $292