More class, please!




Bona fide class is rare. Immediately apparent, it still shows even when nobody is looking on. There's nothing that impresses me more than people who are inherently considerate, and treat themselves and those they interact with, thoughtfully; the kind of people who send you a hand-written thank-you card. And when this attentiveness is coupled with a good sense of style, that rings of class to me. Chanel and Brioni are not essential, more an instinct for the right balance between too much and too little. A knack for coordinating colors and unobtrusively highlighting an attractive feature; carefully manicured hands in women, polished shoes in men, and essentially a basic appreciation of manners.

Real class – I feel it’s something we can’t have enough of. Yet, all too often, the opposite is true. Or can you explain to me why we aren't capable of standing in line civilly in this country? Why executives and politicians boarding a train to Bern behave like testosterone-charged bulls in their struggle to get in first? Or what to make of the following exchange I observed while waiting for the train a few days ago? Two young women greet each other enthusiastically. After exchanging hugs, they step back and take stock of their respective appearances. "Hey, what's up with you? Why’re y’all dressed up?" one of them says. It’s almost a reproach, and the other girl stutters a reply that sounds suspiciously like an apology ¬–¬ something about a special occasion at work. As if she has to justify the fact that she’s better dressed than her friend. That same evening in a bar I involuntarily eavesdrop on a loud conversation between two friends. She appears to be telling him a story about a man in her life. To which the confidant reacts with: "Wow, so you really made a play for him! Let's hope he didn't realize, otherwise you can forget it right away. Too needy!" The woman gazes guiltily into her cocktail glass.

Nowadays, dressing up appears to be more of a crime than being underdressed. And so does showing another person you find them interesting. Doesn’t that seem all wrong? To be penalized for being attentive or making an effort? Doesn’t sound right to me! Nowadays, being laid-back is in because it implies you're extremely cool and authentic, and that you can afford to ignore social norms. Though, in reality, you're probably just too lazy or simply incapable of putting in the effort.

Should it be a crime to be thoughtful when this simply demonstrates you’re making an effort, for yourself and for other people? That should be a reason for a bit of kudos, not disapproval. And all the more so if that effort goes beyond outward appearances and is reflected in an attentive character. Putting in some extra effort has never done any harm: neither to people, nor, incidentally, to good brands.


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