Questions To Answer: How Un-Sell?

Iconoclast Betones

How does your brand reach out and relate to people? In a calibrated and confident way?  Or does it just ‘sell’, hard?
Ueber-Brands don’t sell, they seduce. They communicate and connect with their targets without seeming too eager or needy. They ‘Un-Sell’, pulling us in as they push the envelope out beyond the expected. Creating proximity while keeping a distance. It’s a fine balance.

Here are a few of the questions you should ask yourself as you seek to elevate your brand by seducing its audience rather than selling to it: 

  • Does your brand exude pride and strength in its social interactions, ads, stores, events, etc.?
  • Have you ever taken a clear, if controversial stance on anything?
  • Do you leverage inaccessibility or intransigence, at times?  Maybe a dose of arrogance?
  • Are the celebrities around your brand understood as users and admirers rather than paid endorsers? 
  • Is your brand considered part of culture or – even better – a muse or source of art?
  • Does your brand stand for an ideal people buy into rather than an idea they need to be sold on?
  • Do you leverage silence and space? It’s communication and experience gold!
  • Rather than paying the media, can you be the medium? 
  • Are there customers that admire you because they do not fully understanding you but want to?

Take some inspiration from our collection of case studies that illustrate how Ueber-Brands un-sell: There are no sales pitches at Freitag it will rather tell you about how its bags are made and at Patagonia they outright tell you NOT to buy their jackets.
Ramdane Touhame is a master when it comes to art of creating products, experiences and a myth surrounding them that requires no selling, even though he calls it such. Listen to him talking about L’Officine Universelle de Buly. But it does not need to get as hyper-real as Buly. Even humble but fine sheets of paper supplied business to business can be un-sold, as we learned from Mohawk Paper in upstate New York. And Tesla’s Elon Musk hates car dealerships so much, he didn’t even consider them… and sold us on his concept.

For even more ‘Questions to Answer‘, deeper insights and answers on 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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