Cologne is a magnificent city, with a history spanning from Roman times. During my latest trip, to this beautiful citadelle located on the shores of the Rhine, i gathered a few strong impressions, picked not only from it’s ultra-famous touristic hot-spots, but also from the various artful-architectonic details spread across the facades of the historical buildings and most importantly, through several old brands created and developed through many years/centuries here and perpetuated through years of existence, consistency and increased value. This is a city with a booming commercial activity throughout the centuries, being a port on the Rhine, having a strategic geographical location, in the vicinity of Netherlands, France and linked to Switzerland through Germany’s biggest (longest) river. Here, in Cologne there a few emblematic brands worth mentioning: Farina Gegenüber, 4711 and Cölner Hofbräu Früh.
The most interesting fact about Cologne, personally, is that this city is the scene of a very intriguing branding story.
Numerous crests, emblems, ornaments and old typographic samples bear the deep imprint of Cologne’s rich cultural past. Cologne has not only monumental diverse architecture and one of oldest universities in Europe- Universität zu Köln (founded in 1388), but also one of the oldest brands in the world: the world’s oldest fragrance company – Farina Gegenüber, founded in 1709 by Johann Maria Farina, the initiator and creator of the “Eau de Cologne” or commonly known today as “cologne” .
This brilliant man has put Cologne on the map of branding and cosmetics, but despite this, today, it’s biggest rival, the company 4711 has become a bigger brand with a lot more recognition value, a world-renowned brand and a huge business, implicitly.
Being the first in a business doesn’t guarantee the fact you’ll be in absolute hegemony on the market in the near or distant future. The showcase I’ve pointed out previously is extremely evocative.
Take a look.