Born: Zurich, Switzerland
Worked in: New York, London, Switzerland
If René Allemann had to choose a favorite quote, it would be from Bernard Shaw: "You see things; and you say, 'Why?' But I dream things that never were; and I say, 'Why not?'" That simple expression has been a motivating force for René, who founded the Zurich-based consulting firm Branders in 2005.
With 20 employees, the branding agency creates, maintains and manages brands. He characterizes his staff as “a team of economic, psychology, and of course design specialists providing consulting for small, middle-sized and large companies.” Branders is currently working on projects in Switzerland, the US and China.
René Allemann believes that every brand is unique and tells its own story. He encourages his Branders team to approach each project with candor, accuracy and a clear objective. Attention to detail is one of the many ways in which he respects the differing needs of brands as they face challenges in markets beyond their home country. Branders is also responsible for two international branding hotlines which encourage marketers throughout the world to discuss various branding topics and enquire about guidelines to insure a consistent brand appearance in every country.
Intrigued by powerful brands and the people who create them, René recently extended his company’s offerings to what he describes as an emotional branding magazine called The Brander. “Strong brands stand for a clear idea that they communicate across all touch points.” Found online, The Brander highlights the people and the story behind a brand.
“We are surrounded by global, anonymous brands. Often nobody knows who the people behind a brand actually are. At the same time there is a growing trend towards authenticity and identification. And this is gaining importance in brand management.” In describing the mission of The Brander, he says, “Therefore we are lending a voice to brands and their creators - the entrepreneurs, the CEOs, the designers, the inventors, the driving forces behind it all. What characterizes these people? What drives them? What is their recipe for success? We take a look behind the scenes and give the brands a face.”
Name an innovative idea or business solution for which you are most proud. The Swiss luxury brand Titoni ranks amongst the most popular watch brands in Asia. In its key market, China, Titoni looks back on a very long tradition when it was one of the sole western watch brands. After deregulation of the Chinese market, Titoni considered itself to be exposed to intense competition. Branders developed a new, international branding strategy to combine Swiss tradition with the trends and needs of China. Thus, the attributes “of Switzerland” became an inherent part of the logo, together with a Chinese plum blossom. The repositioning included the creation of a contemporary brand identity which unified the company’s rich tradition and timelessness of the products. The Results? Titoni has increased its market share and profits.
Any other interesting aspects to your international background? The benefit of living in a relatively small country like Switzerland is the ability to interact with other cultures. The country’s population consists of a German Swiss majority, French Swiss and Italian Swiss minorities, a small group of Romansch living in the Engadin valley, and others. The German, French, and Italian parts of the population all share traits with these respective cultures.