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Former Harley exec says customers buy the experience, not the product

7:02 AM, Oct. 8, 2013
Ken Schmidt, former corporate communications manager and brand visionary for Harley-Davidson, speaks Monday during the Green Bay Chamber of Commerce annual meeting at the KI Convention Center in downtown Green Bay.
Ken Schmidt, former corporate communications manager and brand visionary for Harley-Davidson, speaks Monday during the Green Bay Chamber of Commerce annual meeting at the KI Convention Center in downtown Green Bay.
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If people were logical, Honda Shadows would outsell Harley-Davidson Softails by a large margin. A really large margin.

The Softail, which costs about three times more, outsells the $8,000 Shadow by 13-1 in the United States and 10-1 in Japan, home of Honda. Not because the Softail is an inherently superior bike, but because people like Harley-Davidson better, and spending that extra money makes them feel good.

"If we were a rational species, (the Shadow) would be the bike everyone would be riding," said Ken Schmidt, former director of communications for Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson ...

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