January 04, 2016

Welcome to Brands We Love Week 2015!

Welcome to the second edition of Brands We Love Week! All week, we will be revealing what brands our resident brand fanatics thought stood out this year. Whether it was because of something they did, or a great experience they had with a brand, Brands We Love Week is a chance to tell our favorite brand stories! If you missed the inaugural series from last year, you can catch up here.

Additionally, we want to hear who you’d add to the list! Let us know what brands you loved in 2015, using the hashtag ‪#‎BrandsWeLove‬, or let us know directly on Twitter @AddisonWhitney.

Ashley C. 1

Up first is Ashley, who chose a trio of brands she loved in 2015 – Google, Coca-Cola and the University of Alabama!

“I love these brands because they play a big role in my life – I use Google every day, grew up drinking Coca-Cola, and spent four great years at the University of Alabama.

I also love them because they are brands that have remained relatively unchanged over time, which has created strong brand equity for all three.”

Our second brand fanatic of the week is the Qdoba-loving Kat!

“I’ve been going to Qdoba since high school, but have become an even bigger fan now that they have rebranded!

Qdoba embraces flavor and customization; they also have one thing Chipotle doesn’t – their amazing, spicy queso.  The environment and employees are always pleasant, so going there always brightens my mood (especially the queso though).”

We wrap up the first day of Brands We Love Week with Ashley and her three favorite brands of the year – Kate Spade, May Designs and Rifle Paper Co., who all have something very important in common!

“I love to be surrounded by pretty things, and Kate Spade, May Designs, and Rifle Paper Co. all make beautiful yet functional products that are backed by the highest of quality and some of the strongest brands I’ve run across.

Each of these companies has developed very specific branding strategies that appeal to an impressively wide range of women and they all offer products that make both home and work warmer and more welcoming—and who doesn’t want that?”

Kicking off day two of Brands We Love Week is Sarah, who is on board with her favorite brand, BMW!Sarah 1

“BMW has been one of my all time favorite brands since childhood. My brother introduced me to the Need for Speed games when we were kids and my favorite car to race was the blue Z3!

I love that the company has carried the history of their name to the designs and products we see today, vividly expressing the components of successful branding. From aircraft engines to luxury european automobiles, BMW really does it all.”

We had to search high and low to find our next brand fanatic RJ, but turns out he was just exploring the great outdoors for his favorite brands, REI and Adele (who, appropriately, is singing “Hello from the outside” in her REI hat)!RJ 1

“More and more, I find myself less influenced by stuff. I don’t like the idea of wanting things. When REI came out before Black Friday and said “no thank you,” it was the most inspired I’d been by brand marketing communication in years. It was fresh, bold, on-brand and authentic. It captured exactly what I was looking for this holiday season.

Adele’s brand is consistent, classy, heart-felt, down-to-earth, and I can’t get enough. Adele broke the first week album record no one thought would ever be broken with music now available online. She has sung multiple songs live from her album, not just the top single, to build her brand as a full-album artist – not just a chart-topping single writer. Side note: her album title strategy rivals Apple in its simplicity, just stating her age at album release.”

Rounding out day two of Brands We Love Week is Joshira, who didn’t have to search too hard for her favorite brands in 2015, Google, Pandora, Buzzfeed and ASOSJoshira 1

“Google is consistently innovative, from improving their search engine to creating a self-driving car. I refuse to use another search engine, as I always “Google” whatever I need to find on the internet.

Pandora – I love the name of this music app and have used it a lot this year to discover new music.

I really enjoy Buzzfeed because it provides news and entertainment in every aspect of life. It has such a wide range so there is an article/story for everyone!

I know I can always rely on ASOS.com to get unique styles of clothing and they have range from outlet to high end styles and prices. I like that they give 10% off on the anniversary of the first day you place an order and that they provide free two-way standard shipping!”

Day three opens up with Rachel, who is jumping for joy over how the brands she selected – Netflix, Luvs, Capital One, Barnes & Noble and Snickers – make her feel!Rachel 1

“One thing that is guaranteed to get me excited about a brand is a great ad campaign. I love Netflix’s recent advertisements; they are hilariously honest, and include references to binge-watching, asking shamelessly for an ex’s Netflix password, and bragging about finishing a series to friends—things all users can relate to on some level. The same goes for Luvs; I don’t even use their products, but their commercials comparing parents’ behavior with their first child versus their second child are so funny and heartwarming, I can’t help but feel an affinity for the brand!

The other brands are on this list for the feeling they give me. I recently got a travel rewards credit card from Capital One, and its sleek design is enough to make me feel powerful and worldly whenever I take it out. And whenever I’m in a Barnes & Noble, I immediately feel happy and at ease, surrounded by beautiful displays and the inviting smell of books.

But perhaps the best example of a positive brand association for me is Snickers. Not only do they have great commercials and attractive packaging, they are so good that I have an almost Pavlovian response to them, and start to salivate whenever I eat one! I have also been known to vehemently argue their superiority with Twix fans, and attempt to garner more supporters for the Snickers side; if that’s not brand loyalty, I don’t know what is!”

Don’t believe the picture – Ben is excited about his favorite brand of 2015, The School of Life!Ben 1

“An utterly fantastic YouTube channel dedicated to educating its viewers on historical philosopher, modern philosophers, and a plethora of other extremely fascinating topics.

If you take their well written and incredibly informative videos coupled with their aesthetic website that’s littered with a healthy amount of brainwashing nick-knacks without a doubt makes this brand not only one of my favorite brands of the year, but a brand with a strong cult like following sure to insight and excite. Drink the Kool-aid. It’s delicious.”

Kathryn can’t wait to run and talk about her favorite brand of the year, Amazon!
Kathryn 1

“One of the main reasons that I like the Amazon brand so much is that they are constantly sacrificing short term profit in the interest of their customers.

Amazon is also a brand that is very trustworthy, they have exceptional product accessibility and customer service that create this strong brand that consumers can trust. Through their customer reviews and recommendations based on passed purchases, I know that when I go to Amazon that I am going to find exactly what I am looking for.”

The start of day four is a perfect time to showcase the tasty, thirst-quenching and life-altering La Croix, the favorite brand for Lizzy!

“Dare I say this tasty beverage changed my life? Ok that might be a little dramatic but it has kicked my soda habit and that is pretty life-changing. I’ll admit i was very skeptical of the brand and the sparkly beverage, i had tried it on a few occasions and just wasn’t sold.

But that all changed this year after I tried the Peach-Pear over ice. I was hooked and now I am a guilt-free La Croix addict of all flavors. In addition to enjoying the product I love their social media presence. It is fun, engaging and all about enjoying life while enjoying their product. It resonates very well with me, and I can’t wait to see this brand continue to grow. Maybe in 2016 we’ll start to see La Croix vending machines pop up. One can dream, right?”

Dan continues day two with a great way to keep your cool with the brand he loves, YETI Coolers!Dan 1

“Because of the marketing “geniusrey” they have pulled off. The company opened in 2006, and most of us have heard of them. But other companies have been making the same coolers for 40 years, many of which are very similar and almost look exactly the same as a YETI cooler.

Now many people even buy the mugs, Tervis products and other accessories, making them everyday tools instead of coolers for outdoor adventures, as they were originally designed for.”

Jennifer is showing off some awesome home-state pride with her favorite brands of 2015, the Tar Heel State-based inkWELL Press and 704 Shop!

“When you say you “love” a brand – what does that mean? For me, when I find myself engaging others in conversation about a particular brand (sometimes more times than they want to hear), that brand has reached the “love” status with me. As is the case with inkWELL Press and 704 Shop. As a native North Carolinian, it’s a bonus that both of these brands are based out of my home state!

As a project manager, mom, wife and daughter, it is paramount that I am organized. Before I found the right planner I did a lot of research, comparisons, listening to recommendations and watching YouTube reviews. I’m not sure how I stumbled upon the gem that is inkWELL Press and their liveWELL Planner – but my life has forever been changed! Tonya Dalton, IWP founder, and her team of expert organizers have successfully built the brand on empowering women to break the superwoman myth and doing what matters for the way we want to live. My liveWELL is the perfect mix of form and function – with beautiful fonts and color palettes for each month. The 2016 planners were released in November and it’s been sitting on my desk, beautiful in its soft wood chevron pattern, just waiting for a fresh start in 2016. I love that every aspect of this brand is personal; it’s simple and functional design allows me to organize the planner for how I want to run my life, not messily squeeze tasks in or leave things out altogether.

704 Shop was founded by three UNC Charlotte graduates, with an undying passion for their hometown. I found them through a friend’s Instagram account, quickly made my first purchase, recommended them to friends and have given a few of their shirts as gifts. These guys are making a name for themselves by filling a void in the current market by building a brand that represents Charlotte – for those native or transplanted to the 704 area code. When searching for unique Carolina Panthers gear that I’m not going to see on every corner before a home game, 704 Shop surprised me with its #LUUUKKE shirt. The shipping was lightning fast and the communication and service was astoundingly personal when I had to return for a smaller size. They bent over backwards to make sure I was happy with my purchase. I love shopping local and 704 Shop’s #stayclosetohome is one I am proud to support.”

Sadly, it’s the final day of Brands We Love Week, but definitely not sadly is that we have Wendy to kick off the day with her favorite brand, Microsoft!Wendy 1

“Microsoft is a brand I admire for several reasons. It is ubiquitous in your life if you use a computer. Behind the scenes in the B2B world, Microsoft software is in the cloud, on servers, and as an embedded operating system, and prominent on many connected devices from ATMs to automobiles. They have built a brand that stands for the same values whether targeting a CEO of a trillion dollar company or a high-school gamer.

All without needing to neutralize their meaning in an attempt to be everything to everyone. They have found a way to blend the “branded house” and “house of brands” architecture models to create stand-alone sub-brands that can be competitive in their respective marketplace (think X-box or Bing) and yet still accrue value to the Microsoft master brand. And the culture of philanthropy thrives within Microsoft.”

Betsy keeps the day rolling as she catches a ride with Uber, the brand she loved in 2015!Betsy 1

“I used it for the first time in November (I KNOW, I’m way behind the curve.) and it was such a great experience and made me excited about arriving at my destination!

I loved the interactive nature of the app and how easy it was to quickly feel “part” of the Uber club.”

Last but not least, Matt is here to help close out Brands We Love Week with his favorite brand of the year, Publix!Matt 1

“I had little exposure to the Publix brand prior to this year, but I am definitely on board now!

From the quality of the products to the extra effort that is made to ensure that each experience in the store is a great one, Publix has entered the Charlotte market with a confidence and strategy that proves why it’s so popular everywhere it’s been so far. Not to mention, their subs and green tea are second to none and a regular on my lunch rotation!”


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