Why are some of us willing to spend thousands of dollars on a Birkin bag and wait months to get it?  Why are we behaving like kids in a candy store upon entering Barney’s in New York or Collette in Paris?  What magic is it that allows marketers and brands to seduce us into becoming irrational accomplices in the construction of dreams?

Over the past years, JP Kuehlwein and Wolf Schaefer have studied what drives the success of prestige brands and premium priced brands across industries.  They dug into how Cirque Du Soleil or Grey Goose succeed despite foregoing the conventions of their categories like showing life animals or having an eastern/cold country provenance.  They found why and how Nespresso’s approach to marketing has many things in common with that of LaMer or MINI (the new and old).  How Freitag is a gritty, eco-industrial version of Hermes.  And they got closer to an answer as to why some people pay a small fortune for niche Renova toilet paper or Aesop detergent even though they don’t seem to have any functional advantage over much cheaper supermarket  alternatives – and have not even been ‘seen on TV’.

Wolf and JP studied over a hundred brands in the premium space and interviewed as many analysts and practitioners in the field, gathering a wide array of psycho-social and cultural insights.  They extracted what looks like a common set of underlying success drivers that even the experts interviewed lauded for its precision and completeness. Having been asked many times to share, they decided to start to capture some of their knowledge and case study illustrations in the blog in 2012.

The blog is meant to be a stimulating dive into the enticing world of brands – and our collective obsession with them.   JP and Wolf seek to eschew marketing jargon in favor of a conversational, essayist language and visually attractive form – educational yet also entertaining for marketing experts as much as all the rest of us premium connoisseurs.

Wolf and JP published the book “Rethinking Prestige Branding – Secrets of The Ueber-Brands” in 2015, which provides an in-depth look at the drivers of sustained brand success.  While the focus is on modern prestige brands, the many, diverse examples given illustrate that any brand that wants to compete beyond price and performance alone will benefit from applying their Ueber-Branding  principles.

If you are inspired and need help taking your own brand ueber‘:


Book beauty shot with marble vertical