Ken Schmidt is widely respected as one of the business world’s most outspoken, provocative, and entertaining thought leaders on competition, loyalty, human behavior, brand management, positioning and reputation management.. And how each of those topics impacts the others.
As a leadership advisor and keynote speaker for business and education groups around the globe, Ken draws from his newest best-selling book, Make Some Noise: The Unconventional Road to Dominance, and teaches how to improve business and personal competitiveness, as always, with his extraordinarily unexpected point of view. The longtime motorcycle enthusiast’s formal association with Harley-Davidson began in 1985. As a specialist in corporate positioning and media relations, he was asked to work with the struggling company to help restore its image, improve its competitiveness, and create demand for its motorcycles. Within a few short years, as sales of its motorcycles rocketed upward, Harley-Davidson became one of the most respected, competitively dominant, profitable, and frequently reported-on companies in the world.
Ken Schmidt became director of Harley-Davidson’s corporate and financial communications and served as its primary spokesperson to the media and the financial communities, offering insights on nontraditional communications, customer attraction, and brand-building. After leaving Harley-Davidson, he began working with other major businesses to improve their competitiveness and has since worked with a Who’s Who of the world’s best-known brands while combining his two greatest passions, motorcycling and speaking. In addition to “Make Some Noise,” Ken also ghost-wrote, “100 Years of Harley-Davidson,” the best-selling motorsports book of all time.
We’re not wired to be loyal to products or services, no matter how well they perform. We’re only capable of being loyal to people and to well-managed brands that successfully humanize their presence by creating emotional resonance with us. It’s time for your customers to evolve from “folks who buy from us,” into “loyal friends who recommend us without being asked,” which means your relationships with them have to evolve from superficial to meaningfully permanent. Customers come and go. But loyalists, like Harley-Davidson tattoos, become part of you and never leave. Building tattoo-worthy customer relationships isn’t the marketing department’s job; it’s yours. This is how it’s done.
When customers care more about what they’re paying than who they’re buying from, businesses lower prices to stay in the mix, which breeds commoditization and kills loyalty. While leaders in every industry are focusing inward to improve efficiencies—when they should be focusing outward to improve their competitiveness—the passing lane’s wide open for small players to make a run to the front of the pack. Ken Schmidt can show you how to do that. As a major player in one of the world’s most celebrated turnarounds, he helped transform Harley-Davidson from a laggard in a me-too market into one of the world’s most beloved and dominant competitors. In this hands-on, how-to session, he teaches how to position your business to ensure that it’s memorably different than competitors and how to strengthen your reputation so your customers stay fiercely loyal and refer you to others, even when your prices are higher. This is a natural follow-up to any of Ken’s presentations.
Ken Schmidt’s business keynote speech is a fascinating story of how businesses of any size and scope can—by focusing on understanding and harnessing the most basic drivers of human behavior—improve their competitiveness and avoid margin-killing commoditization in even the most difficult marketing environments. The road to building a fanatically vocal customer base, creating a passionately loyal corporate culture, and developing leaders who inspire and motivate starts here. Schmidt challenges audiences to consider what they are willing to do today that is different than what they did yesterday, for the people who can put them out of business tomorrow.
A startling presentation designed specifically for banks, investment firms, credit unions, and insurance companies that is now Schmidt’s most requested topic from financial industry clients. With little differentiation among competitors and media-fueled erosion of trust in financial services providers, it’s no wonder potential clients opt to work with “whoever’s closest to my house,” instead of “whoever can best serve my needs.” Or stay away altogether. Where others see futility, Schmidt sees unprecedented opportunities for growth. He’ll show you how to change the culture of your financial services business to stand out, create demand and client loyalty in your local markets, fuel marketplace advocacy and take advantage of the look-alike/act-alike competitive environment.
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