Questions To Answer: How Manifest Brand Through Product?

Maison Plisson – groceries put on a pedestal

Here is another installment in our little ‘Questions to Answer’ series, which is designed to help you think through how to elevate your brand.   They are taken from the more complete set of questions in our book.  But note: Ueber-Brands* need to be ‘beyond compare’ and that means beyond following rules or applying standards. So your questions – and certainly some of our answers – need to go beyond the norm, the predictable to … take your brand ‘ueber’*.

Only a product and service that is unique, substantial and superior (at least as experienced by your core audience) is good enough to elevate a brand and support a lasting brand myth. Ueber-Brands put their goods and services at the center of attention and on pedestals (at least metaphorically speaking) so they are paid tribute to and receive the respect they deserve.

Here are a few questions you should ask yourself as you seek to create a product or service that truly manifests your brand: 

  • Does your product exceed expectations in areas that are central to your myth?
    (see our case study on Patagonia and ethics or Porsche and performance.)
  • Have you transformed your ‘Reasons to Believe’ into a ‘Story to Believe’ to romanticize your proposition and allow consumers to bond with it?  (Freitag and its tarps)
  • Do you visibly revere your product or service in ways that reflect and inspire respect? (Hoshino resorts’ unique ambiance)
  • Do your products feel like they have a soul? Do you tell their stories?
    (In the book we talk about The Laundress’ personal testing; Icebreaker’s Baa Code.)
  • Are there rituals associated with your brand? (La Mer ‘warming’ cream between fingers, Singapore airlines attendants kneeling down to listen to seated passengers.)
  • Have you developed assets that make your brand unmistakable beyond a logo? (Bottega Veneta weave, Aesop stores, Bully packaging ritual)
  • Did you consider appropriating codes and languages of other (higher) categories or of your own? (Maison du Chocolat – jewellery; Nespresso — Grand Crus)
  • Did you or could you allow for customization – at least on certain lines? (MyMINI)
  • What is your iconic product and is it always part of your plans? (Chanel No.5.)
  • Do you regularly update those icons to keep them current?
    (Louis Vuitton monogram bag limited editions)

The ultimate question: Is your product or service considered the ‘holy grail’ of its own myth – and your category?

But wait, there is more!  Take some inspiration from our collection of case studies that illustrate how to manifest a brand through its product and services

To get a broader overview of what ‘Ueber*-Branding’ (aka brand elevation) is all about, you should read our book “Rethinking Prestige Branding – Secrets of the Ueberbrands” and look at the Ueber-Branding model and method of application.

* ‘ueber’ = German for ‘above and beyond’ – just like the ambitions of brands we are talking about.

Want us to help you elevate your own 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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