Ken Schmidt – Keynote Speaker

Former Director of Communications for Harley-Davidson Motor Company

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Ken Schmidt Profile Picture

Specialist Subjects

  • Building tattoo-worthy customer relationships
  • Fierce loyalty: Dominating in a commoditized market
  • Make some noise: Open the throttle & dominate at your workplace
  • Thrive among thorns: untapped growth opportunities for financial services


  • English


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.

Popular Talks by Ken Schmidt

Building tattoo-worthy customer relationships

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.

Fierce loyalty: Dominating in a commoditized market

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.

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