A Few of My Favorite Things
Brands and branding. We talk about them a lot in this business. A song by Taio Cruz called “Dynamite” has a line that says, “I’m wearing all my favorite brands.”
So what is it that attracts us and keeps us in the grip of a brand? Some of my own brand loyalty goes back to my youth. With others, there’s some association with an experience, perhaps. I was thinking today about my favorites, and then I started asking myself why they made the list.
Here are a few (not an exhaustive list by any means and in no particular order):
- Apple – the best designed, best made, easiest to use technology products on the planet. Oh, and their computers power our entire industry.
- Starbucks – my favorite fuel for the day. Has powered our office for at least 10 years (when we threw out the nasty Folgers. Sorry, Folgers.).
- Coca-Cola – there’s only one soft drink company for me. I don’t drink a lot of soda, but when I do, make mine a Coke Zero.
- Davidoff – a nice cigar with a glass of whiskey. They make a nice cologne, too.
- Woodford Reserve – speaking of whiskey… this bourbon just can’t be beat around a crackling fire.
- Delta – airline travel is a lot different than it used to be, but when I think about the flights I’ve taken since I booked my first flight to New York on Piedmont, Delta has been my overall fav.
- Patagonia – a rain jacket I bought twenty years ago is still my favorite.
- North Face – from my indestructible gym duffel to my 2-man backpacking tent to my sleeping bag. A lot of great camping memories.
- Mad River Canoe – same thing. A lot of great memories in my 15-footer.
- Litespeed – maybe it’s because they got started in and stayed in Chattanooga (where my wife and Mom are from), but I know a lot of folks who agree that Litespeed makes the best-performing road bikes in the world.
- Bosch – maybe it’s because I loved their platinum spark plugs that I put in my ’83 Rabbit GTI, but I also love their sexy front-loading, high efficiency washers/dryers, too (though I don’t have one).
- Volkswagen, Audi, BMW, Porsche – yeah, I like German engineering.
- Wall Street Journal – the best newspaper in the world. Period.
- McKinsey & Company – a management consulting firm that has some of the best thinkers and research I’ve read.
- The Pew Charitable Trusts – I truly respect the good in the world that Pew does on a daily basis.
- Four Seasons – I’ve never stayed at a Four Seasons, but I’ve read about their business model, and it’s one I aspire to. Their service is legendary. Some day…
- Craftsman – my Dad has a thousand Craftsman tools “because of the lifetime warranty.” I do, too.
- Kohler – great bathroom stuff. I love the style and have found myself buying it over and over.
- KitchenAid – gotta love that industrial strength mixer!
- Baldwin – not the piano — expensive lock-sets and bath hardware — and worth every penny. When I’ve skimped, I’ve regretted it.
- Girard-Perregaux – the nicest wristwatch I’ve ever owned I received as a gift. I wear it daily, and its a favorite part of my wardrobe.
- Cole Haan – shoes to billfolds, I keep buying their stuff.
- Brooks Brothers – don’t have much, but what I have I love: a couple ties, a dress shirt, two polos, one suit and an overcoat. Good stuff.
- Levenger – ever since I was a kid, I was attracted to pens and paper more than toys. This company gets that kind of weird romance.
- Folio Society – based in London, this publisher makes the most beautiful books.
- Onkyo – a receiver/amp I bought 20 years ago still sits in my living room spinning jazz.
- Ralph Lauren/Polo – for the most part, it’s been a timeless brand I’ve enjoyed since I bought my first polo in high school. Love their bedding, too.
- Waverly – beautiful fabrics, wallpaper, bedding.
So, who cares about my list, you may be thinking. Well, probably nobody but me, but that’s precisely the point. We all have our own list, if only subconsciously, and we may not even own or have an experience with some of the brands we like (though we likely have the intention of owning/experiencing them in the future). So much of what defines a brand in our minds is a “composite feeling” that comes from all kinds of places, only one of which is advertising.
Think about the brands that you find yourself attracted to and ask yourself, “Why?” In a lot of cases, it’s more than the thing itself; it’s the emotional attachment. As marketers, if we can tap into that emotional core, we can build successful brands.