DSA Be Connected - Featured

Why do you suppose someone — many someones, in fact — would pay three times more for a Harley-Davidson motorcycle than for a competitor’s bike?

DSA Be Connected conference - Ken Schmidt

Ken Schmidt

Top-of-mind answers might include quality, reputation and maybe even familiarity with the brand.

But Ken Schmidt, former director of communications for the Harley-Davidson Motor Company, expressed in his keynote for the 2013 DSA Be Connected conference that visible passion and enthusiasm are key to attracting customers (a “c” word he hates, by the way).

Selling isn’t all about the product, says Schmidt, who played an active role in one of the most impressive turnarounds in corporate history while at Harley-Davidson. Rather, it’s about telling stories that are worthy of being repeated.

And we do that, he says, by how we make people feel when they do business with us.

Passionate, enthusiastic and empowered employees attract coveted “disciples,” rather than mere customers. That is to say, dropping “the language of business” and instead connecting on a personal, human level attracts individuals who feel “so strongly about something that they’ll be willing to tell others.”

No. 1 Thing to Know

1. “We gotta get out of the brain,” Schmidt says. “We have to get into the gut. We have to have stories and story tellers. … Visible passion and enthusiasm are the greatest attractor of humans.”

Here are 4 more things to know about the 2013 DSA Be Connected conference:

2. Telling your story in a social media world boils down to this, says Kathy Baird, senior vice president, [email protected], Ogilvy: Maintain authenticity, remain social, integrate channels, stay relevant and engage audiences.

3. Attendees joined the Direct Selling Education Foundation in “Packing a Present” for the children of the Capitol View YMCA and were treated to a visit from the kids!

4. Crisis communications 101, courtesy of Richard Levick, CEO of LEVICK: Transparency, action, leadership. Speed and expectations have changed, and companies must adapt to the new environment, rather than retreat to what may have worked for them in the past.

5. The state of direct selling in the United States is strong, according to Anne Aldrich, partner, Artemis Strategy Group, which conducted and analyzed data from several studies. Direct retail sales grew by 5.9% in the U.S. in 2012, outpacing the GDP.

Additional Notes

DSA 2013 Digital Media AwardsUSANA received two DSA Digital Media Awards at the Be Connected conference in the Blog and Visual Media categories. Thank you to the readers of What’s Up, USANA? and to the followers who represent the #USANAlifestyle on Instagram.

If you haven’t visited Direct Selling 411 lately, I encourage you to do so. It’s filled with great multimedia content (and don’t forget to sign the Direct Selling Proclamation and Compact).

The 2013 DSA Be Connected conference took place in Washington D.C., Dec. 4-6 and brought together the direct-selling industry’s top communications professionals. Read more about it through tweets.

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