Category Archives: 6 – Un-Sell – The superiority of seduction

Selling is the opposite of seducing. – It’s not sexy. This creates a natural conundrum for prestige brands since they, of course, need to do both. It greatly impacts their targeting and go-to-market strategies (chapter 2). But it also leads to a communication approach that is very different from that of mass marketers. In one word it’s about ‘Un-selling’: Creating proximity while maintaining a distance. Putting yourself out on a stage yet never revealing too much. Evoking more than you are saying – to protect your aura and a sense of mystery (think Montblanc). Talking in artfully crafted and refined codes to make sure only those in the know – and those who like to pretend they are – will understand (Frederic Malle). Being un-apologetically confident, often bordering on the arrogant – to project strength and pride (Chanel). And, more often than not, it can also mean being silent and pulling back (Le Labo). Because after all silence is golden. And it’s the absence which makes the heart grow fonder.

Recap
– How to mediate proximity and distance in communication
– Why silence is golden and advertising has to be art

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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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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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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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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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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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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2016 Update: Abercrombie gets dressed! Up?

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In an effort to revise their drastically declining sales Abercrombie & Fitch announced in early 2015 that it was dressing up. Literally. No more half naked hunks. No more piercings or tattoos. Employees will no longer be chosen by body … 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 Wolf Schaefer and JP Kuehlwein are proud to present their latest book ‘Rethinking Prestige Branding – Secrets of the Ueber-Brands’ (Kogan Page Publishing).  You can order it online (links below) … 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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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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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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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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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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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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