Nicole Bensen

Branding Lesson: What the duck?

If you’ve been following my Instagram stories, you know I’ve been visiting some gorgeous places in Switzerland this past week. First, I started in Zurich to teach a class on personal branding; then I headed out of the city to scope out some spots for future retreats.

Photo of Switzerland landscape.

I’ll write a blog post soon to get your take on where you’d want to go on a retreat, but since branding is fresh on my mind, I had to share this.

Lufthansa’s first class experience is a lesson on branding. In Frankfurt they have a first class terminal. Not just a lounge—a terminal. You’ve got your own check-in, security screening, shower area, buffet, sit-down “restaurant,” bar, and lounging and work areas. 

You won’t wait in line to board the plane…because you’re driven up to the plane in a Porsche. 


Porsche valet service at airport.

Did I mention the champagne and caviar once you’re on board?

Caviar and champagne on board.

And the lay-flat seats, so you can catch up on your zzz’s totally horizontal?

But that’s not the surprising part. You’d expect that level of service when your investment is in the thousands, or potentially tens of thousands, right?

So, get this. You can get a rubber duck when you visit this first class terminal (FCT for those in-the-know).

A duck (that likely costs less than a dollar to make) is a collector’s item for people flying first class.

It’s not high quality; it’s just rare.

Someone is selling the one that’s out now on ebay for $100This person and this person flew there just to get a duck. Here’s someone’s take on the history.

First-class rubber duck branding

It’s someone’s job to design rubber ducks for a luxury experience in Germany. Let me say that louder for the people in the back. Someone gets paid…to come up with ideas for DUCKS for an airline.

People ask me how to have an authentic brand without coming across as “bragging,” and yes, there are ways we can uncover and use our strengths, and tips on how to share (use data, for one!) – but it starts with being you. I know that sounds simple or maybe even cheesy, but if you build a brand that’s NOT you, you’re going to attract people and opportunities that aren’t aligned to who you really are or what you want.

I’ll share more later on the “how” of articulating your brand/story/accomplishments, but for now, remember that your personal brand should be PERSONAL. Start by identifying your individual strengths. 

Lufthansa has created a premium product with their first class experience, and then have this unique twist that has people changing flight routes and taking special trips just because they want this quirky collectible too.

So remember, someone out there raised their hand in a meeting once and said, “Hey…so hear me out…what do you think about having a rubber duck for our first class customers?”

Cheering for you to find your duck!

P.S. In case you missed it, last week I shared 10 fall ideas to increase your wellbeing. 

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Fall Joy List



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