Nick Westergaard

By Nick Westergaard on May 25, 2015

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Rethinking Luxury Branding with JP Kuehlwein

jp kuehlwein

“A Ferrari is more than a way of getting from point A to point B. It has a power over you that goes beyond reason.” Luxury brands can do that. However, changing consumers and media dynamics require us to rethink luxury branding in the digital age. Brand strategist and author JP Kuehlwein joined us for a discussion on this very topic.

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About JP Kuehlwein

JP Kuehlwein is Executive Vice President of Frédéric Fekkai, a New York-based prestige salon operator, hair care brand and fully owned subsidiary of Procter and Gamble. He is also an Outside Director of Smith & Norbu, a Hong Kong luxury optical frame maker. Previously, JP was Managing Director of Global Strategy & Innovation – Premium Consumer, spearheading Procter & Gamble’s capability and business development in the premium brand space.

JP is a recognized strategy expert, global brand builder, and accomplished marketing leader. He has a 20+ year track record of translating consumer and branding insights into transformational propositions that win in the market. His experience spans from introducing a new-to-the-world food wrap to the US -or- disposable diapers to developing markets in Asia, to developing a global communication strategy for the world’s leading detergent or portfolio strategies for Beauty and Lifestyle categories.

JP is a regularly involved in guest lecturing, consulting, and public speaking in English, French, or German. He is co-author of the book Rethinking Prestige Branding – Secrets of The Ueber-Brands which reveals the drivers of sustained success of modern premium brands across industries.

Episode Highlights

Luxury brands make you forget about price. Okay but how? “They do this in several ways. We identify the seven core principles in our book” including having history and using storytelling and precious materials.

How has luxury branding changed today? Kuehlwein shared with us how luxury brands need to adjust to millennial consumers. “It’s all about having a purpose, a mission.” Modern luxury brands like Aesop, an Australian skin care company, have also emerged by embracing a contrarian voice aligned with the millennial world view.

Exclusivity vs. Inclusivity. “Luxury brands used to be about exclusivity or excluding people.” Today luxury or prestige brands have to do better at including people. We have to reposition how we think about branding luxury.

What are Kuehlwein’s favorite classic and modern luxury brands? Hermes and Tesla. Get the full story on how both walk the talk by listening to the episode.

What’s one thing that Kuehlwein suggests brand builders do? “We have to re-mystify our marketing. We need a bit of mystery today.”

What brand has made JP smile lately? Trader Joes. “Did you know they hide a stuffed yeti in their store for kids?” That’s something that makes both children and adults smile.

To learn more about JP, check out the website for his book Rethinking Prestige Branding and his blog on ueber-brands.

As We Wrap …

Recently our friend Gabriel Tesser Felix gave us a shout on Twitter about our recent episode featuring Marc Hershon. Thanks for listening Gabriel!

Did you hear something you liked on this episode or another? Do you have a question you’d like our guests to answer? Let me know on Twitter using the hashtag #OnBrandPodcast and you may just hear your thoughts here on the show.

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Until next week, I’ll see you on the Internet!




Nick Westergaard
Email Brand Driven Digital

is a strategist, speaker, educator, and author of Brand Now: How to Stand Out in a Crowded, Distracted World and Get Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small. He is the Chief Brand Strategist at Brand Driven Digital, an educator at the University of Iowa, and host of the On Brand podcast. More about Nick.