Shinola: From Shining Shoes to Lifestyle Star – Interview with Bridget Russo, CMO

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One of the founders commented ‘You don’t know shxx from Shinola!‘ during a meeting – This is how an American saying lead to the rebirth of the formerly popular shoe polish it is referring to … at least according to Bridget Russo, CMO Shinola who shared … Continue reading

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Myth-Making – The Holy Grail of Today’s Ueber-Brands

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Storytelling has become the hot topic as the mainstream of marketers discovered that stories can make us relate to- and remember a brand more fondly than a cold sales pitch. But marketers who seek to elevate their brands beyond the material … Continue reading

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Wolf on ‘CEO in 10’ Talkradio talking Modern Prestige Branding and Mentoring

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/lifelessonsnetwork/2016/04/21/ceo-in-10-with-wolfgang-schaefer-from-rethinking-prestige-branding A quick intro to some of the thinking in ‘Rethinking Prestige Branding – Secrets of the Ueber Brands’ for all those who rather listen than read.

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Renova: Toilet Paper to live, love and style with, also. – Podcast with Paulo Pereira Da Silva, CEO – #07

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“If toilet paper can make you happy… Why not? Life is hard enough! …” – In this podcast episode we muse with Paulo Pereira Da Silva, CEO of the Renova about how he has transformed this long-standing Portuguese tissue maker … Continue reading

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Truth in Beauty: The Body Shop 4.0?

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It went through all trade magazines and most others in February that The Body Shop, the sometimes more infamous than famous poster girl of eco-beauty, is launching a new and quite ambitious CSR program titled ‘Enrich not Exploit’. Right in … Continue reading

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Talking Ueber-Branding in Singapore and Hong Kong

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To all Ueber-Branding fans in Singapore and Hong Kong and those curious to find out how some brands succeed to become (almost) priceless in our minds. JP will talk and answer questions at free Lunch & Learn event at Singapore Management … Continue reading

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Johnnie Walker: Appeal at $1 and $1,000 a sip, alike. – Interview with Matteo Fantacchiotti, Diageo – Podcast Episode 06

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In this episode we talk to Matteo Fantacchiotti, Global Vice President, Diageo Luxury Division in Singapore. Diageo calls their high-end liquors the ‘Reserve Brands.’ These brands have grown well above category average and well past the previous segment leader in the … Continue reading

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The Artisanal – Between Fads and Truth

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In our book ‘Rethinking Prestige Branding – Secrets of the Ueber-Brands’ (Schaefer / Kuehlwein, 2015) we discuss the omnipresent trend towards ‘Artisanalization’, reviewing quite a number of examples like Smith & Norbu, maker of bespoke optical frames, Yuan, hand-crafter of soaps, Lakrids, inventor of … Continue reading

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Chipotle – The Genius and Power of Naïveté – Interview with William Espey, Brand Voice Lead Chipotle Mexican Grill – Podcast Episode 05

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In this episode we talk to William Espey, Brand Voice Lead at Chipotle Mexican Grill, the booming ‘casual food’ restaurant chain sought out by most for offering hearty burritos at a relatively low price*, admired by many for being an advocate for … Continue reading

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Un-Sell to Seduce… and be thanked with a premium

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Have a brand and want to charge a premium? – Then you better stop selling and start to woo your target audiences.  Because selling is the opposite of seducing. – It’s not sexy. And that creates a natural conundrum for brands … Continue reading

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Ueber-Brands and The Art of Myth-Making

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Many definitions of myths talk of ‘lies’ – or at least ‘a stretching of the truth’.  So we shouldn’t really care much for them.  Yet, myths have not only been told and re-told across the millenniums, they have been consistent in their content and construction … Continue reading

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Moleskine – A Myth Bridging our Analog and Digital Worlds – Interview with Maria Sebregondi, Co-Creator of Moleskine – Podcast Episode 04

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In this episode we talk to Maria Sebregondi, co-creator and VP of Brand Equity & Communication at Moleskine, the storied, little black notebook brand.  Since its creation in 1997, Moleskine has become a favorite tool among urban knowledge workers and everyone who still feels … Continue reading

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Brand Ueber-Targets and How We Want To Be Like Them

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When it comes to defining our lifestyle or declaring our values, we need other people for orientation, as benchmarks or to listen to us and care – or it will not be a satisfying exercise.  We usually have some ideal state or person(s) we aspire … Continue reading

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How Ueber-Brands turn Celebrity Endorsements on their Head

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Celebrities are extremely popular as endorsers.  Take David Beckham, the ex-soccer star, for instance, who has managed to be ‘the face’ of Adidas, Belstaff, Breitling, Burger King, Disneyland, Emporio Armani, Gillette, GO (fish fingers), Motorola, Milk (got it?), Pepsi, Police, Sainsbury’s, … Continue reading

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Storied Seltzer Service – Interview with Brooklyn Seltzer Boy Alex Gomberg – Podcast Episode 03

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For this episode of the Ueberbrands Podcast we went all the way to the end of the L-train line on the New York subway system; to Canarsie in southeast Brooklyn to visit one of the last seltzer filling factories in the US. … Continue reading

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A Beauty Insider’s Look at Ueber-Branding

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We had the honor to be invited to talk about ‘Ueber-Branding’ by the Fashion Institute of Technology and the Luxury Marketing Council in New York and also bring along a panel of friends from Moleskine, The Laundress, CO Bigelow and Dunnhumby. … Continue reading

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Building a Brand on Bricks and Beliefs – Brunello Cucinelli – Podcast Episode 02

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We are discussing Brunello Cucinelli, the ‘Cashmere King’ and his eponymous brand with David LaRocca author, film maker and scholar of philosophy. David, like us, has been fascinated by Brunello, who says he is guided by the great historic thinkers … Continue reading

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A Q&A on what makes Ueber-Brands Ueber-Successful… or not

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“It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation” – it makes sense for Cadillac to use the Herman Melville quote.  Not only use it in its advertising but, more importantly as a motto in its efforts to (re)make Cadillac … Continue reading

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The Draw of Bespoke and Subtle Sophistication – Benoit Ams, Smith & Norbu – Podcast Episode 01

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In this inaugural episode we talk to Benoit Ams, founder, owner, designer …. Renaissance Man extraordinaire at Smith & Norbu, a brand that offers tailor-made, subtly branded eye-wear for sophisticated clients. The Smith & Norbu optical frames are made from yak horn, which Benoit … Continue reading

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Pride, Provocation, Perfection – Bravo ‘Magnum’

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There is an old saying in beauty and fashion: ‘With every millimeter the mouth opens, the price point goes down a notch’. Low priced mass brands can be all smile and approachable in their ads, they even have to be, … Continue reading

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The Wolf: A new Ueber-Spirit in the making?

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There’s a new German player in the super-high-end distillery market: The Wolf. The Wolf calls itself a ‘Weissbrand’ (white brandy) since it is made from grapes, like cognac or other brandies. But it is steel-container and not barrel-aged, which explains … Continue reading

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How can Beauty Brand Hopes and Dreams hold up in front of the Digital Mirror?

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“Beauty is hope. It’s about our dreams and aspirations. Yet, as with everything, digital has made reality creep up on it big time. Where beauty brands, especially prestige ones, once fancied themselves as hovering above the fray in a realm … Continue reading

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Abercrombie gets dressed! Up?

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In an effort to revise their drastically declining sales Abercrombie & Fitch is dressing up. Literally. No more half naked hunks. No more piercings or tattoos. Employees will no longer be chosen by body type or looks, put on a … Continue reading

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How Trader Joe’s makes food stuff ‘Significant Objects’ … Or: Of ‘Speculoos Cookie Butter’ and a ‘Fearless Flyer’

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I had one of those ‘Eureka’ insights the other day when I saw the latest Trader Joe’s ‘Fearless Flyer’ on our kitchen table: Trader Joe’s has made a great business out of morphing their foods into ‘Significant Objects’ that we … Continue reading

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Rethinking Prestige Branding – Secrets of the ‘Ueber-Brands’

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After some 4 years, 75+ interviews, 150 cases studied and uncounted conversations – including with many of you – Wolf Schaefer and JP Kuehlwein are happy and proud to launch our book ‘Rethinking Prestige Branding – Secrets of the Ueber-Brands’ through … Continue reading

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The Mini – Underdog makes Űberbrand

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The Mini is a runaway success by most measures – except size, maybe.  Who would have thought that this quirky, tiny car could carve out significant market share, again, when most other brands were talking size, comfort or power? And … Continue reading

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The Promise of ‘Bespoke’ – How Űberbrands go beyond ‘choice’ to create identity and extract a premium.

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Bespoke is the new luxury – Again. Many consider Chanel the height of luxury. So it is telling to hear Chanel marketers talk about ‘bespoke’ as the ultimate form of luxury today. They are not the only ones to recognize … Continue reading

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How Premium Brands Grow Without Losing Their Glow – Part II

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In Part I we looked at how premium brands use own flagship stores and retail partners that project exclusivity to keep their glow while extending their distribution.  Horizontal geographic expansion around the globe – rather than penetrating a single market … Continue reading

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Le Cronut – Making a bastard doughnut an object of desire.

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If you live in New York City – or anywhere else hip – you will likely have heard about the ‘Cronut’ by now.  Maybe you have even lined-up to try to get one – or a maximum two.  Cronuts have … Continue reading

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Where is the Chinese premium market heading? Will we see the emergence of Chinese Prestige brands?

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These were the questions I got from an industry analyst the other day.  In fact, these are the questions being posed constantly in the press covering the business of luxury. Full of myself, I thought that maybe more than one person … Continue reading

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CSR 2.0: The Rise of a New Functionalism in Brand Building

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I’m always the first to argue the importance of emotion, execution and style when it comes to Super Premium brands (see my post “Fashion Forward“). But it’s the fusion and careful balance of both, appearance and essence, that does the … Continue reading

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What A Romantic Can Teach Brand Managers

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Novalis, an author, poet and philosopher of Early German Romanticism (1772-1801) once wrote: By imbuing the meaningless with meaning the ordinary with a sense of mystery the known with the dignity of the unknown, and the finite with an infinite … Continue reading

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Don’t ‘Talk It Up’ But ‘Talk Your Own’ To Create an ‘Ueber-Brand’

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We say in our premium branding model that “the first rule is to make your own” as one strives to develop brand myth and meaning. – It’s ‘Mission Incomparable’.   Many premium brands are about identity construction.  They help customers to … Continue reading

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Message In A Bottle – Of legend-telling Soymilk and Bottling the Hermès legend

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This is a tale of two bottles.  A bottle of soy milk that stands out and tells a story and a bottle of perfume that inserts itself into the saga that is Hermès.  Both have in common that the stories … Continue reading

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How Premium Brands Grow Without Losing Their Glow – Part I

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Marketing “guru” Martin Lindstrom is concerned about the effects that ‘reaching-down’ and the ‘fashionization’ of Luxury labels has on their long-term ability to maintain desirability and premium price points. He writes in his piece “The Luxury Catch 22”  “With a … Continue reading

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Fashion Forward

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In the world of marketing, fashion has traditionally not been taken very seriously. It’s been viewed as un-strategic, driven more by short-term fads and personal quirks and hunches than solid planning and strategic thinking. Concerned more with ever-changing appearances than … Continue reading

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Limiting Distribution Increases Value and Market Share…

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No, I am not talking about Hermès today but about a maker of power tools!  You see, I often get challenged by marketing friends that the principles of premium branding that we lay out in our model only apply to … Continue reading

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Creating a Myth

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During religious or national holidays, we are reminded of the global power of legends, or one legend in particular. Without stepping on any religious toes I think it’s save to say that we need stories to believe – and make … Continue reading

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When Product Creation becomes Brand Legend

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I visited Lego in Billund the other day.  I should say “I made a trip to Legoland, the ‘real’ land of Lego.” For this small town in rural Denmark not only hosts one of the namesake amusement parks (and a Lego-hotel, … Continue reading

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Art without Tears

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Last week I wrote about the balance between style and substance and how easily the former can undermine or overpower the latter. A fascinating and limitless topic, which easily sustains another week. So, here we go again, a bit deeper, … Continue reading

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Aesop – Fabled Brand, Fabulous Marketing

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 – the Australian boutique Beauty Care brand founded in 1987 – intuitively masters the art of “class branding”.  It is a perfect case to illustrate key principles that – when lived by – can lift  a brand above the masses.  Of course their … Continue reading

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Beauty & Truth

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Usually I’m a big believer in the innate connection between beauty and what we call truth, i.e. something that resonates within our soul. Last night however that belief got a bit of a damper. I watched Anna Karenina, the new … Continue reading

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Candles by The Laundress – A Natural Expansion

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I received this e-mail from ‘The Laundress’ this morning.  It might surprise you to think of a candle collection by a ‘laundry brand’.’  But then you might also not be familiar with The Laundress.  For scented candles are just the latest addition to what … Continue reading

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“A Case Against Fast Fashion Collaborations” or

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The Disillusionment of a Prestige Brand Believer. Eugene Rabkin is “Making The Case Against Fast Fashion Collaborations” in a popular Op-Ed on the Business of Fashion (BoF) blog.  He is joined in his criticism of the “democratization of fashion” and the “irresponsible consumer … Continue reading

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BETONES – ‘Un-selling’ Underwear

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I recently made a pilgrimage to Daikanyama, a part of Tokyo that the New York Times fittingly describes as “Tokyo’s Church of Chic.” It was a bright, balmy day.  Just right for sitting back in a street-side café and observing … Continue reading

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Hoshinoya Resorts – Host to a Myth and to those on a Quest

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We met the Marketing Manager of Hoshino Resorts last week at a meeting in Tokyo. She gave us a vivid account of the marketing and business model behind the unique, Japanese luxury resort and spa brand – Hoshinoya.  But most … Continue reading

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How to create a Looooonging for Doughnuts

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A shop called “The Doughnut Vault” in Chicago has made it a habit to close their doors early when they run out of their sweet treats, as springwise.com reports.  Apparently it happens almost every day.  So why don’t they increase production … Continue reading

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Cire Trudon – Leveraging History to Create Myth and Meaning

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The candle brand Cire Trudon (Trudon Wax) provides a wonderful illustration of how an extensive history is transformed into a rich heritage and the creation of myth and meaning that the acquirer of these exquisite luxury candles can take home and dissipate – quite literally. … Continue reading

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Attention to Detail – Good But Not Enough

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I bought a pair of Jeans the other day while New York City.  I wasn’t really planning on it and I had never heard of the brand before – Tokyo Five.  They just caught my eye while checking out a … Continue reading

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Warhol – At the Edge Between Mass and Class

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The most frequent or observant of our readers might have noticed our pop art theme and Andy Warhol himself popping in and out of our header art.  “What has that got to do with ‘moving brands from mass to class?’, you might ask. … Continue reading

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