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Brand Reviews

Funky city brands: Berlin01 Sep

Berlin graffiti by MetroCentric on Flickr


I’ve just read a good article about Berlin by Martin Bryant on The Next Web. To be more precise, the article is about the beautiful apps that are made by Berlin-based web and tech start-ups.


Even if you are not into web and tech startups, but into building brands in general, I’d still recommend to read the article. It gives good reasons why Berlin has evolved into a funky city brand.  Scroll down to “Why do apps from Berlin look so good?” to see a good description of Berlin’s artistic spirit.


But let’s go back to the apps for a moment. The author’s main point is that if your startup is in the business of making web and mobile apps, then you’d need to be ready to compete on the global level right from the start.


According to Bryant, apart from launching something that has a solid business model and good technology, you need to think what your apps actually look like. In order to stand out from the crowd, they have to be not simply okay looking. They have to be stunningly beautiful. So beautiful, that, paraphrasing Steve Jobs, you’d “wanna lick them”1


No wonder then that good looking web and mobile apps would come from places where design and art have become important elements of local lifestyle. Such as, London, for example.


Berlin — one of my favorite cities in Europe — is becoming another such creative hub. If you’ve had a chance to explore Berlin, you’d know what I am talking about.  Endless galleries full of stunning art, funky fashion shops, artsy shopping guides to help discover them, The Red Dot award (which I mentioned in my interview with Senz umbrellas), affordable top-quality theater performances (if you speak German, of course :) ) — all of this makes Berlin a truly funky city.


Beyond just being artistic, Berlin has been gradually turning into a technology hub as well, as the article points out. Interestingly, some of the tech startups from Berlin have realized the positive associations that the city brand of Berlin can give to their products. If you scroll down to thevery bottom of the home page of Wunderlist, an online task manager (which I am tempted to try out), you’ll see this:


Move it up, guys, to make it more visible — it’s good to be from Berlin.


Another startup mention in the article, Readmill, prefers the “Made in Europe” label. Read my previous blog post about the role of “Made in” labels in shaping your brand image. “Europe” sounds great, but I’d certainly go for “Berin” if I was Readmill.


It’s certainly a far more funky way to brand.

  1. See Steve Jobs’ quote on  []

Related posts:

  1. nhow Berlin: a funky museum where you can live
  2. Funky brands from around the world: Germany
  3. Astonishing spatial design & funky brands
  4. Funky brands need funky spaces

5 Responses to “Funky city brands: Berlin”

  1. Alan 'Brand' Williamson Reply

    Hello Olga

    I would be interested to know whether you believe that the cultural tensions (that still exist) between Berlin’s Ossies and Wessies have played a major role in the city’s design/tech development? And if so, could you provide some concrete examples where these cultural collisions have led to design innovations.

    As a Destination Brand Developer, I spend much of my time looking for big brand ideas hidden deep within cultural collisions, conflicts and contradictions.

    Many thanks

    Destination Brand Developer

  2. Marion Reply

    Naturally, could not agree more ;-) Berlin has come a loooooooong way indeed…

  3. Jess Erickson Reply

    Love this post. Thanks and greetings from 6Wunderkinder;) Made and staying in Berlin!

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About Olga

Olga Slavkina is an international brand and marketing strategy expert based in Brussels and managing partner of SCHMOOZY FOX. Originally from Latvia, Olga was educated in the United States, where she was a Fulbright student at The Fletcher School (Tufts University), and Spain. She holds an MBA from IE Business school in Madrid, which holds the No. 1 position in the 2012 Financial Times ranking of European business schools.

Fluent in several European languages, Olga works with companies around the world to help them launch new products and services, reposition existing ones, and make them relevant and meaningful to their customers.

Olga’s expert opinion on branding and marketing has been featured in Financial Times, TechCrunch, Personal Branding Blog and other publications. Olga’s concept of Funky Brands™ has been nominated for the Accenture Innovation Award 2011. Olga tweets as @schmoozyfox.

Get in touch


SCHMOOZY FOX is based in Brussels, Belgium and serves customers internationally.


Email: olga (at) schmoozyfox (dot) com