A Day in the Life of ...




Picture this: You, one-of-kind you, are promenading along Zurich's Bahnhofstrasse. It's a beautiful day. You feel fantastic, unique – and you look it. People turn their heads to get a better look. Some even stop to stare. You, of course, don't acknowledge the commotion despite the obvious whispers, stares and finger-pointing. You know that everybody wants you, but that only the very few will ever have you.

You know that everybody wants you, but that only the very few will ever have you. Your appearance reflects this, and people's reactions are predictable: the occasional hand, virtually trembling in anticipation, reaches out to stroke you; noses that dare move in close enough to inhale your fragrance. You are an enchantress in every respect, casting a spell over all who come near. Extracting oohs and aahs from your admirers, you intoxicate all who surround you and bestow a pitying smile on the look-alikes that feebly attempt to copy you.

You don't put up any defense, though, because the differences are so laughably obvious. After all, they are not playing in your league. Taste, class, style ‒ these qualities speak for themselves. And anyone you associate with is inescapably a person of refined elegance. So what if others attempt to imitate your matchless style? Let them have fun trying while you have a good time with Giselle Bündchen, Jennifer Lopez and Uma Thurman, and get portrayed once in a while by Annie Leibovitz or Steven Meisel. Your protection against competitors is the distinctive monogram your mother chose for you to underline your uniqueness. There's absolutely no reason for you to worry about your exclusivity. Mother will take care of protecting her pride and joy.

Until, all of a sudden, you begin to notice. The protective effect intended by the monogram seems to have engendered an unwanted side effect: the pattern labeling you a status symbol is copied more and more every day. Since the middle of the 20th century, your mother has increasingly been forced to fight plagiarism originating in Asia and Russia. Your name ranks at the top of the list of globally faked brand names. Naturally, Mother does what she can: a special department tracks down productions sites of counterfeit goods worldwide and takes legal steps to combat them. Yet, it is not just the increasingly skillful imitators that tarnish your exclusive reputation. Of late you have been portrayed and lauded so often in the hip blogs published by young fashionistas that you have ceased to be a goodie sought after exclusively by the very well-to-do. Suddenly, the younger generation has discovered you for themselves as well. And, however incredible this may seem to you, they also appear to command the necessary funds. For her part, Mother is delighted by the metamorphosis from exclusiveness to mainstream and cheerfully produces more offspring in order to put more money in the family till. Although that doesn’t bother you too much, what you do mind is that nowadays you are dismissed with a cursory glance in Bahnhofstrasse because 19 others have just paraded along the street before you.

And so it goes in branding as in real life: everything must come to an end. Even the good things.


This article appeared in PUNKTMagazin. The Swiss magazine combines economics, investment and lifestyle and is published every two months. Branders CEO René Allemann writes a column for the publication. You'll find more information here: www.punktmagazin.ch

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René Allemann

René Allemann

Born in Zurich, René Allemann founded the consulting firm Branders in 2005. With 20 employees, the branding agency creates, maintains and manages brands. The Brander journal is published by the Branders Group.

The Brander is a publication of the Branders Group