Keep the Pace




No mistake about it: I enjoy speed, the thrill of acceleration – living and working at a rapid pace. People who take decisions and live their life proactively, have fascinated me for as long as I can remember. Whereas the procrastinators, the indecisive, those who spend their life waiting for something to happen, have always baffled me.

Until, suddenly, summer's here – always a wonderful occasion. No matter what the weather’s like. Whether it’s raining or pouring, or the sun actually starts shining, July and August are the months when I receive the greatest number of vacation auto-replies, a circumstance that has its own peculiar charm. For example, the sparsely-populated mailbox when I check my e-mails. Then, the resultant slice of prescriptive calm and a feeling of playing truant for a brief spell from that never-ending stream of information. In fact, why not go the whole hog and ignore the BlackBerry for an entire day. Turn a suntanned back on being permanently available and go down to the lake for a swim at 5 o'clock. Wonderful!

But what to do with all this newly won time? I find myself enjoying things that I never imagined I would ever consider worthwhile, a luxury even, when I was younger. "I'll sleep on it", "I'll take a look at it tomorrow in peace and quiet," or simply having the time to think something over a third time. In this era of endless appointments and deadlines we risk losing sight of the foundation upon which real quality is based. Our hectic everyday life creates a huge amount of pressures and stress. Stressed-out people make mistakes. And are not exactly inspiring. Or have you ever been positively affected by the aura of someone under lots of pressure? I, for one, am more impressed by people who are calm and in control; who are consciously aware. Concepts conceived and decisions taken under too much pressure rarely receive the necessary level of care and attention. So my personal motto for now is: Accelerate in a relaxed state of mind, take the time to inhale and exhale properly. Get off a tram one stop earlier and stretch those legs. Take in your surroundings. Enjoy that summer air. Actually look at the buildings you usually rush by. Let your thoughts wander and then after a while rein them in again and step up pace and alertness.

In branding as in everyday life it's all about achieving the right balance between braking and accelerating. Branding is not something that can be rushed – a good brand is not built in one day. A brand needs time and care to become strong and enduring. The challenge is not to kowtow to short-term quarterly figures, not to chase every trend; instead calm assurance and patience are called for without losing sight of the objective. Yet skilled brand leadership also requires a high degree of flexibility, the ability to respond rapidly and decisively in the face of sudden events. To do so, and then being able to return to a normal state of affairs, it is important to deal with matters in a clear frame of mind. Being consciously aware. And, being mindful of one's own needs – braking, accelerating, braking again – allowing us to remain alert and actually realize our dreams, not just hurtle down the fast lane at breakneck speed.

I hope you've enjoyed your summer break as much as I have. And now, full of vim and vigor: back to work!


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 on PUNKTMagazin here:

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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