B2B Beyond The Material – Interview with Mohawk Fine Papers’ Creative Director Christopher Harrold

Can the principles of Ueber-Branding be applied to B2B brands, to elevate them in the minds of professional buyers and make them ‘priceless’ … or at least less dependent on price?  That’s a question we get asked quite a bit.  The short answer is “Absolutely, Yes!”  …   But, we know, people are hungry for examples that illustrate the point, that talk about an industry “that is not sexy or high tech” and about “small companies with limited budgets.”   That’s because many marketers feel that they are working in a commodity category and/or products that can not be differentiated due to lack of funds. We, however, have not encountered a category or company, yet, that would not be able to execute- and benefit from Ueber-Branding*.

How about a medium-sized paper- and envelope manufacturer  (2017 revenue est. $230 mio) that supplies people who design and print mailers, brochures, catalogs and the like.  Does that sound B2B, small, ‘commoditized’ enough?**  Some might even argue it sounds like a category doomed to die in a digital world.

Well – in this interview we talk with Christopher Harrold about how Mohawk Fine Paper is not only surviving but thriving, by “finding meaning in the making of paper”*** and passing it on through the products their business clients print on or wrap in.  Christopher is the Creative Director at Mohawk and tells us that craft-fully made paper can make you “feel the message before you read it.” – And that is an experience that is increasingly valuable in our sensation-deprived. One shouldn’t be surprised, then, that digital platforms and tech companies are a fast growing customer segment and that clients are willing to pay a significant premium for paper well crafted.

But as you will hear, getting there required a deep believe that paper making is a craft worth preserving – since 1931 – as well as investing time and effort into Ueber-Branding, including deeply understanding the needs of your most devoted users (your ‘Ueber-Target’), educating, enabling and seducing them (versus selling to them) and having patience in developing trust-based relationships, products and services for the long run. We also talk about potential sources of brand strength that are still largely untapped, like a mythical place of provenance and about the logic and fit of a very recent extension into the business-to-consumer space.

Listen (CLICK PLAY BUTTON) and then read on below

 

FURTHER THOUGHTS AND READING:

*For insights into what drives the success of modern premium brands read our book “Rethinking Prestige Branding – Secrets of the Ueberbrands” and other case-studies on this blog.

If you want us to help you elevate your own brand, then write to us at info@ueberbrands.com.

**If you want more paper industry ‘Ueber-Brand’ examples, then listen to our interview with the CEO of Renova, a premium (any quirky) toilet paper maker from Portugal or the episode with the co-founder of Moleskine – those little black notebooks with a lot of (hi-)story.  If you are more into the service kind-of-boring, read our case study on Vanguard Investments.

*** Quote from the Mohawk ‘Declaration of Craft’ video – see links below

Here is a link to the Mowhawk website note how they seek to bring the rich experience of paper to live on a digital screen…

See how the Mohawk Fine Paper brochure is a design project in itself. This one was featured in Communication Arts.

Here is our Ueber-Youtube Channel selection of Mohawk films celebrating their craft, ‘meaning in making‘ as well as their marketing tie-ins with clients like moo.com.

You can subscribe to our podcasts on iTunes, Android, Stitcher, TuneIn, etc. or on our blog to receive new post notifications. 

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About JP Kuehlwein

JP Kuehlwein is Co-Founder and Partner at ‘Ueber-Brands’ a New York consulting firm that helps elevate brands in the minds of people and above competition to warrant premium pricing and profits. He previously was Executive Vice President at Frédéric Fekkai & Co, a prestige salon operator and hair care brand and worked at multinational Procter & Gamble as Brand Director and Director of Strategy. JP is a recognized global business leader and brand builder with a 25+ year track record of translating consumer and brand insights into transformational propositions that win in market. His experience spans from developing a global communication strategy for the world’s leading detergent to introducing a new-to-the-world food wrap, disposable diapers as a category in India and a premium skin care brand in China to turning around a luxury lifestyle brand in the US. JP’s latest book is the bestselling “Rethinking Prestige Branding – Secrets of the Ueber-Brands” which he co-authored with Wolfgang Schaefer.
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