Harman's Rogers on Internet Program, PRO Group Move
Dave Rogers, named six weeks ago as Harman Consumer Division vice president and general manager, Americas, said he came to the job with a 90-day strategy in mind to begin with. The strategy’s goals: to immerse with his team locally and meet as many dealers as possible, make sure the company had a strong Internet policy, and guide the group’s fall introductions safely to market.
His first move, announced in mid-August, was to broker a partnership with the PRO Group to carry Harman’s JBL and Infinity mobile brands. Rogers here reveals particulars for the execution of further strategies.
When your appointment was announced in July, the list of initiatives you were planning to take included “improving the profitability of Harman’s strategic retailers and partners; speeding up Harman’s delivery of new products to market; upgrading the company’s customer marketing, sales distribution and supply-chain activities; and being responsible for driving increased sales revenue across all consumer-product categories.” What are you tackling first, out of this long list?
Rogers: I’ve been talking to as many dealers as possible across the U.S. While the company has already spent a lot of money in end-user research and has come up with a focus on four core consumer groups, and our product roadmaps will draw on that feedback, we will always make sure that our dealers have a seat at the table.
Another one of the things we’re looking to tackle is to make sure we really have a strong Internet program. Our legal team has put together cease-and-desist letters for unauthorized dealers using our trademarks and our photography on their web sites. We’re being diligent about tracing serial numbers and will deal with folks who have transshipped. We think it’s important, in that how we address this issue shows our dealers how we feel about our brand; the end user has to know that when they buy us, there’s somebody standing behind the service and warranty.
We also have many product introductions planned we’re excited about. We recently launched the JBL MS-8, a new product in our car electronics line. It hooks into any factory system with only one device and can lead to add-on speaker and subwoofer sales for the dealer. In September, there will be new JBL and Infinity speaker lines. And at CEDIA Expo, our High Performance A/V (HPAV) team, which is part of our Professional Division, will have a very large display, where we will also display the newest Infinity Primus and JBL Studio One speaker lines, and a new Harman Kardon soundbar. Our Harman Kardon receiver line, which will also be shown there, is upgradable to HDMI 1.4 now.