Category Archives: 1 – Mission Incomparable – The first rule is to make your own

The first point is quite simple and yet probably hardest to achieve: Super Premium brands are, to a large degree, about aspiration and identity construction. Allowing customers to elevate or at least advance themselves into something better, bigger, newer … To do this they don’t just need to have personal relevance, they need to offer cultural resonance. Because only if a Super Premium brand resonates in your social environment can it help you craft or focus your identity – towards yourself, and towards others. Super Premium brands achieve this usually in two ways: Either by re-defining a category and setting new standards that take them beyond the status quo (think Nespresso). Or by following a higher calling that lifts them out of the ordinary and gives them true meaning and purpose (think Patagonia). Or they artfully combine both (think Apple). And, speaking of Apple: Of course, being incomparable requires staying on your feet to move ahead. Surprising yourself and all followers by constantly reinventing yourself, thus remaining true to your core.

Recap
– About the need for a true and daring purpose that resonates
– Re-defining the category by not just setting new but unique standards
– And how to constantly change while staying true to yourself

Here are Posts and Podcasts on this principle:

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Vanguard Investments – From ‘Folly’ to Fiduciary Giant

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As we work with clients on elevating their brands two questions arise repeatedly:  Can ‘ueber-branding’ be applied to more ‘technical’ categories – beyond luxury or lifestyle?  And do Ueber-Brand products HAVE to be premium priced? The short answer is ‘yes’ and … Continue reading

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Burt’s Bees – Mission, Myth and a Buzzing Business – Interview with Jim Geikie, General Manager

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Yes, Burt really existed. The wild-bearded man on the brand’s logo was a documentary photographer turned beekeeper after moving from Manhattan to Maine and leaving the trappings of a rather privileged upbringing behind him to live in a converted turkey coop in the backwoods (where he … Continue reading

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The Tesla Tease: Exclusivity through Complicity

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Prestige brands don’t have it easy. We don’t want them to sell to us (in fact, they should ‘un-sell‘), but we love for them to seduce us. They must make us desire them, not just need them, for only then might we be willing to … Continue reading

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Growing with Gravitas – Shang Xia, Hermès’ Chinese Offspring

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Chinese artisan brand Shang Xia is a good example of a brand mastering two key ingredients to build a modern prestige brand: A strong sense of mission and the patience to grow with gravitas. The brand also showcases parent company Hermès’ genius … Continue reading

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Profit and/or Purpose? – Interview with Venture Capitalist and Social Activist David Batstone

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David Batstone is not one to be easily typecast.  As you learn more about David you might get a bit perplexed not only by the uncounted, very public projects in which he plays a leading role or the multitude of positions he holds but … Continue reading

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Patagonia – The Activist Company – Interview with Vincent Stanley, Director of Philosophy

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Patagonia is the quintessential Ueber-Brand. This brand is fascinating and we have written extensively about what we think drives and sustains its success in our latest book as well as on this blog.  But it is quite another thing to hear it … Continue reading

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A Freitag Visit – Manufacturing as Manifestation of Mission

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Freitag is a Swiss bag, accessory and – most recently – fashion brand. Its legend begins in 1993, when young brothers and design students Markus and Daniel Freitag looked out of their apartment window in the Zurich suburbs and into a … Continue reading

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Audemars Piguet – Adversity and Complications Make a Brand – Interview with Tim Sayler, CMO

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Audemars Piguet is up there, even in the already elevated world of ‘haute horlogerie’ and the Swiss Alps.  Le Brassus in the high valley of Joux is the birthplace and still the place of hand-crafting AP watches as Tim Sayler, … Continue reading

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Secrets of the Ueber-Brands

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Why do some pay a relative fortune for a MINI car, Renova toilet paper or a skin cream and detergent from Aesop when those seem to have none of the ‘functional superiority’ conventional marketers would seek to demonstrate? Why were … Continue reading

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Lakrids – A Liquorice Brand To Long For – Interview with Peter Husted Sylvest, Director of Sales

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If you are familiar with the ‘Hero’s Journey’ as described by Joseph Campbell, then the trials and tribulations Johan Buelow went through to concoct and share the perfect batch of liquorice – and create a thriving company on the way – will sound mighty familiar.  It … Continue reading

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Patagonia – A Meaningful Exploration of Nature

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Most of us associate Patagonia with the rugged, southernmost tip of America and/or with a brand of colorful, high-tech, high quality (and  somewhat high priced) outdoor clothes one would wear to explore that place.  And most of us have at least a feeling … Continue reading

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Seedlip: Beyond Making Teetotaling Totally Trendy – Interview with Ben Branson, Founder

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What do if you like cocktail parties or ‘having a drink with the mates’ but not the alcohol that usually goes with them? Ben Branson often felt silly, sometimes socially stigmatized with his glass of (sugary) water, juice or ‘mocktail’ in hand – who … Continue reading

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

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Le Pain Quotidien – Attention to Detail in Manifesting the Brand

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Seth Godin shared an observation in his Blog “All Marketers Are Liars” the other day.  Visiting a Le Pain Quotidien bakery, he noted that panels on the doors said “Pull” in multiple languages.  He smartly concludes that he wasn’t witnessing a … Continue reading

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