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JP Kuehlwei

JP Kuehlwei

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TRENDSETTERS: JP Kuehlwein Advocates Brand Elevation—the Success Drivers Behind Brands Considered to be Peerless & Priceless

The Internationalist Trendsetters is written by Deborah Malone, founder of The Internationalist.

JP Kuehlwein has worked throughout the world in a variety of brand, marketing and innovation roles that range from leading the P&L for Pampers in much of Asia to providing premium brand strategy for Procter & Gamble in 16 country and category combinations to becoming the CEO of Frédéric Fekkai and turning around the hair care brand.  Five years ago, JP created the Ueber Brands Consultancy and is also now an author and marketing professor.  His latest book, Brand Elevation: Lessons in Ueber-Branding, is winning great industry praise as it explains the success drivers behind those brands he considers "peerless and priceless." 

Brand Elevation highlights examples, case studies and interviews from brands as diverse as Airbnb, Berlutti, Chanel, Dyson, Everlane, Fortnite or FRoSTA to Lakrids, Starbucks or YouTube.  JP, with co-author Wolfgang Schaefer, address business challenges that range from taking e-commerce from convenience to experience, to building an omni-dimensional presence for a brand, to moving from standardization to personalization.

To hear more from JP, tune in to our Trendsetters podcast as he shares his thoughts on current trends in the business of marketing, as well as exploring some of the new principles in his latest book.  CLICK HERE

In our conversation, we discuss the following:

  • Given your breadth of experience throughout the globe, how has our increasingly digital world shifted the responsibilities of brands?
  • What about consumer attitudes and expectations?  Are they at the center of driving brands to think differently about their goals and their behavior?
  • Your first book talked about Rethinking Prestige Branding… however, in your current book, Brand Elevation, released in April 2021, you talk about how any brand, regardless of price-point can become a modern prestige brand.
  • You often say about how you believe that brands should be peerless, priceless, and profitable.
  • Many companies and brands today are working hard to being purpose-driven, while working to incorporate what we call "the ambition of sustainability."  You have a different way of talking about purpose given the term's "over-use" factor.
  • One of the many buzzwords we're hearing now is "cultural agility"…does that factor into your thinking? 
  • You talk a lot about building brands in times of crisis. How is that different?
  • Are brands forgetting about being profit-driven considering so many social concerns?
  • What do you see ahead for brands in this emerging world of stakeholder capitalism?  More partnerships with non-profits or NGOs?  With competitors?  With governments?  With local communities?
  • What's next for you?  Any predictions about what's next for brands?

In their bestselling book, Rethinking Prestige Branding, Wolfgang Schaefer and JP Kuehlwein provided a fascinating framework for driving the success of modern premium brands – creating meaning beyond the material and how to seduce – rather than sell. Now, in Brand Elevation, the authors put these principles into practice, offering a step-by-step guide to developing and executing a premium brand strategy.

JP Kuehlwein is Principal at Ueber-Brands, a consultancy focused on making brands peerless and priceless. He is Adjunct Professor of Marketing at NYU Stern and Columbia Business School, and leads the Marketing Institute at The Conference Board think tank. He is the former Executive Vice President at Frederic Fekkai & Co and Executive Brand Director at Procter & Gamble. 

Wolfgang Schaefer is CEO and Founder of zwoelf consulting, where he focusses on developing narrative brand strategies. He is Guest Professor at the XU Exponential University, Potsdam, and lectures at many institutions in Europe and the US. As a chief strategist, he has worked with some of the world's top marketers at LVMH, P&G, Miele, Swarovski, Estee Lauder, Unilever and more.