Crisp lettuce exclusively from Marco, the guy we went to school with and who now grows organic vegetables. And ski socks, a freshly knitted pair each year, only from Milena, the art student with the enormous pair of horn-rimmed glasses. Today, in just almost everything we buy, what really counts is authentic provenance or even better, a personal connection. Where previously, internationality and the global lifestyle were the name of the game, we are now very aware of local provenance and familiarity. Tomâ€™s Bike Shop, the local Niederdorf Deli or Simonaâ€™s Sewing Shop. In keeping with this trend, for example, Zimmerliâ€™s The Worldâ€™s Finest Underwear slogan recently changed to Zimmerli of Switzerland. Todayâ€™s consumer wants to know where â€œtheir productsâ€ come from and who made them.
In some places, this quest for localness and authenticity has generated some weird illusions. Berlin serves as a perfect example of this phenomenon. â€œEverybody is creative!,â€ you can almost hear them thinking it aloud; all those incredibly authentic kids, who, despite living in their parentsâ€™ pockets, perceive themselves as free spirits drifting about in the creative microcosm they have created for themselves. Yet they canâ€™t afford anything, because they arenâ€™t willing to make an effort. Everyone is an artist and, at the very least, a (so far not under contract) model or undiscovered photographer - everybody is oh so independent. Possibly this has led â€“ along with a number of governmental grants â€“ to the establishment of an environment which has produced a few promising startups. Itâ€™s grating on the nerves all the same, this collective bubble of excessive self-esteem in which everyone is desperately creative and mistakes themselves for the next Eames, just because theyâ€™ve given a friend a few good hints on how to furnish a flat. Not that this is only happening in Berlin. Here, too, you are almost the exception if you donâ€™t have your own fashion blog by the time youâ€™re 24 â€“ underpinned by the conviction that the world has been waiting for your opinions. Donâ€™t get me wrong. I like Harvey Specter, I like people with a strong sense of self-esteem. But only those who actually put in some effort, not those who feel wronged because the world simply hasnâ€™t discovered their talent.
Still, the writingâ€™s already on the wall. I believe change is coming: and though the demand for real stories and authentic people will continue to remain important â€“real creators are so much more satisfying than those impersonal, often bloodless and anonymous business models and CEOs â€“ at the same time, we may soon see a fusing of the demand for localness and globalness. This could lead to an increase in global platforms of local brands and suppliers; global communities that focus on and consume local products. Harbingers of this phenomenon already exist: DIY platform Etsy, travel guide Nectar & Pulse or kinfolk, a magazine that regularly organizes events across the world. Is this tomorrowâ€™s â€œnew lifestyleâ€? Could well be: In branding as in everyday life, why not first collect the best at source and then combine them uniquely?
This article also appears in PUNKTMagazin. The Swiss magazine combines economics, investment and lifestyle and is published every two months. Branders CEO RenÃ© Allemann writes a column for the publication. You'll find more information on PUNKTMagazin here: www.punktmagazin.ch
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Born in Zurich, RenÃ© 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