Questions To Answer: How Brands Create Authenticity

Ralph Lauren 888 Madison Entrance

RL – A Dream Lived

A brand mission must be lived to be taken seriously. A brand myth embraced to make the dream come true.

Ueber-Brands are experienced as ‘authentic’ because they show what they believe in and they bring the brand’s dream to life – from the inside out: From their leader through their organization to all their actions across touch-points and time.

Here are some key questions you should ask yourself as you seek to elevate your brand and make it ‘authentic’:

  • Is your brand led by a visionary Artist and a precise Operator? – Are they one or act as one? Do they project passion and pedantic precision?
  • Are structure, processes, culture, and ethics proof of a mission fully embraced?
  • Is your work environment reflecting and inspiring the brand mission and myth?
  • Do you make tough choices to support your beliefs? – Choices that ‘cost you’?
  • If part of a bigger group: Does your brand benefit from ‘ring-fencing’ unique aspects and the protection of a high-ranking management mentor?
  • Do you control brand creation and experience all the way into the hands of the user to make sure nothing essential gets ‘lost in translation’?
  • Can perfectionism, passion and view of the world be felt in your execution?
  • Do you go beyond the expected or known – at least occasionally – to let organization and customer keep dreaming?
  • Are you as clear about what you are not doing?

And, the ultimate question: Rather than needing to ‘recruit’ your employees and ‘sell’ your customers, can you choose among a group of soul mates and disciples who long to join?

Take some inspiration from our collection of case studies that illustrate how Ueber-Brands are “Living The Dream” here.  The case on Swiss accessories brand Freitag illustrates well how a strong mission is expressed through the organization, the manufacturing  and selling process as well as its stores. The Vanguard Investment case shows how a customers rally around a cause and become disciples – or ‘Bogleheads’, as they call themselves in the case of Vanguard.  You can get deep and philosophical listening to the podcast about Brunello Cucinelli, study how failing to evolve the expression your myth leads to misery with the Abercrombie example or see how others thrive on a fresh interpretation of a very similar myth at Joe and The Juice… at least for now.

And, for more ‘Questions to Answer‘ and even deeper insights into what drives the success of modern Prestige brands and more detailed questions to guide you there, you can read our book “Rethinking Prestige Branding – Secrets of the Ueberbrands” and look at the Ueber-Branding model and method of application.

Want us to help you elevate your brand? Write to us at


About JP Kuehlwein

JP Kuehlwein is a 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. Principal at ‘Ueber-Brands’ a New York consulting firm, he now helps others to elevate brands and make them peerless and priceless. JP also teaches brand strategy at NYU Stern and Columbia Business School and leads the Marketing Institute at The Conference Board, all in New York. Jp previously was Executive Vice President at Frédéric Fekkai & Co, a prestige salon operator and hair care brand and lead brand- and corporate strategy development and execution at multinational Procter & Gamble as Brand Director and Director of Strategy. JP and Wolf Schaefer have co-authored the best-selling books “Rethinking Prestige Branding – Secrets of the Ueber-Brands” which lays out what drives the success of modern premium brands and "Brand Elevation - Lessons in Ueber-Branding" a guide to developing and executing a brand elevation strategy. Find the books here:
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