Category Archives: 7 – Moving with Gravitas – The king never hurries

Lastly, there is a very different kind of growth pattern and tempo in prestige, one that is more driven by grace and dignity than speed and ubiquity. Super Premium brands don’t roll out with a big bang. They radiate like a star, pulling in as they push out; Creating a force field that is as magnetic as it is expansive. They start softly, grow slowly and win quietly. First they carefully solidify their position and vision before taking initial, very measured steps to put them into action. They make sure they don’t over-penetrate but rather find alternative ways to drive profitability – creating economies of scope vs. scale by venturing into adjacent categories for instance. Even if they have reached a level of maturity they take great care to keep on feeling and acting “small”, sometimes intentionally (re-)creating scarcity and rarity through limited supply (Bentley) or special editions (Godiva), through very selective distribution (Tom Ford) or by adding an ‘ueber-exclusive’ level of products and services to counterbalance their mass appeal and retain their class (bespoke Louis Vuitton ). For exclusivity is pretty much like virginity: Impossible – or at least very hard – to regain.

Recap
– Going to market in measured steps
– Letting your reputation precede, radiating rather than rolling out
– Building sustainable success, never compromising the sense of exclusivity

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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