In our podcast episodes we interview those who seek to create or understand brands which are desired beyond performance, price … or reason. Those brands seduce, rather than sell, add myth to the material and shine from the inside-out. We call them Ueber-Brands.
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Here is a sample:
“If toilet paper can make you happy… Why not? Life is hard enough! …” muses Paulo Pereira Da Silva, CEO of the Renova as we talk about how he has transformed this traditional Portuguese tissue maker into a brand that brings live and style to ‘citizens’ across the world – and grows despite competing in a very mature consumer goods category and despite charging premium prices (or because of it). Paulo is puzzled when journalists ask him why he tints toilet rolls in bright colors, packs them in yogurt-like cups, has them worked into interactive art and sold at museum and designed stores. You’ll find that it (almost) all makes sense … or feels right … by the end of the interview.
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, Chief Marketing Officer of the brand is proud and precise in pointing out to us. And pride, precision and a strong sense of place are some of the key ingredients we talk, as we discuss what has made this brand and how it stays up there in the firmament of desired objects – despite the meteoric rise of first industrial quartz watches and now smart watches. Or, maybe, because of it.
William Espey is ‘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 ‘food with integrity’ and attacked by some who seem to feel threatened by this outspoken stance. William and I will be talking about how integrity guides Chipotle’s cooking, community, mission and message, the ‘genius of naïveté’ and the role of ‘happy accidents,’ what messing up with your girlfriend and an E.Coli outbreak have in common… and more.
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 the need or appreciates the analog experience of scribbling and sketching. The brands steady growth seems contrarian, almost defiant in an increasingly digital world. Read and listen what is driving the success of this myth-founded brand.
For this episode we visited one of the last seltzer filling factories in the US. Here young Alex Gomberg has set out to fight the odds and revive and evolve the tradition of hand delivering wooden crates of heavy glass bottles filled with carbonated water. This story is a nice example of products and services that give ‘meaning beyond the material’, that quench our desire to re-connect with what we consume and know where it is coming from. Take a listen as Alex tells us about the roots and aspirations of his ‘Brooklyn Seltzer Boys’ brand and see if you can resist wanting to have a look and sip.
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 and on a mission to ’embellish the world and to do right by his workers by making beautiful things’. We attempt a deep dive into “A New Philosophy of Clothes”, which is also the title of David’s documentary film and essay on Brunello Cucinelli. Who knows, by the end of the episode you might long to become a ‘citizen of Solomeo’, as well. Enjoy!