10 Great Branding Examples

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Not all brands are created equally, but those with the most success have a few things in common. Paying attention to what makes them successful will help you grow your own business.

Here’s a quick rundown of what great branding does:

• Solves a problem for the customer|
• Invites the customer to become part of the story
• Incorporates a charitable cause
• Turns a negative experience into a positive one

Great Branding Examples #1: Uber

Uber has been the subject of controversies in several countries, and yet they’ve managed to not only maintain but grow their business by embracing their rebellious nature.

Why it works

Uber has not only challenged the status quo in transportation but also helped further the evolution of the gig economy. They serve two groups of customers: the drivers and the passengers.

What you can learn from it

The (misattributed) Gandhi quote: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

Great Branding Examples #2: Airbnb

Airbnb started as a site that let tourists and travelers find affordable accommodation by renting private homes for a short period. Today, their platform is the go-to place for experiencing new locations from the locals’ point of view.

Why it works

Like Uber, Airbnb focuses on two groups: the hosts and their guests. The hosts earn money by creating local experiences for their guests, who in turn get a good deal on accommodation and unique adventure.

What you can learn from it

Focus on more than one group of people, and create a win-win situation for everyone.

Great Branding Examples #3: GoPro

The initial premise of GoPro was to provide athletes with a practical way to capture themselves in action. They have since built an entire community around sharing experiences using their camera.

Why it works

GoPro has already fulfilled their initial promise by delivering a fantastic product. They have then used the same strategy as social media sites like Instagram to grow their brand by focusing on sharing footage.

What you can learn from it

Cultivate a community centered around your product or service.

Great Branding Examples #4: SoulCycle

“Find a job you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life” is a good analogy for what SoulCycle has done. By redefining what it means to work out, they have changed people’s perception of fitness routines.

Why it works

Framing a cardio workout as a “party” not only appeals to the gym rats but opens up SoulCycle to all those who dread the thought of going to the gym.

What you can learn from it

Turn a negative into a positive by changing the framing of it. This technique can be used to make any product or service interesting.

Great Branding Examples #5: Virgin America

Virgin America has taken the same approach as SoulCycle by reframing a negative experience. Flying is often uncomfortable, and Virgin aims to solve that problem by creating a relaxing luxury experience.

Why it works

Busy people are willing to pay extra for comfort, so their energy isn’t depleted. Virgin has even made the safety video pleasant to watch.

What you can learn from it

Many small streams make a big river, and your customers will love the attention to detail.

Great Branding Examples #6: Beats By Dre

The headphone company has built a brand fuelled almost exclusively by celebrity. Dr. Dre is a pioneer in the music industry, and Beat By Dre brings the experience of his recording studio to the listener’s ears.

Why it works

There was not a single music video that didn’t feature Beats By Dre when the headphones were first launched.

What you can learn from it

Your product doesn’t have to be the best, as long as you can make people believe that it is by using social proof.

Great Branding Examples #7: Chipotle

Chipotle has taken a similar approach to Toms Shoes and Warby Parker. The chain combines fast food and fine dining by providing quick service and cooking with quality ingredients. They top it off by emphasizing animal rights and environmental care.

Why it works

Chipotle has managed to do good for three groups all in one go: the customers, the farmers, and the animals.

What you can learn from it

Show people how their custom not only benefits themselves but others as well.

Great Branding Examples #8: Under Armour

The athletic clothing company Under Armour has focused on solving the problem of keeping athletes cool and dry during their performance. They’ve developed a cult following by focusing on this simple premise

Why it works

Under Armour has concentrated on a narrow niche, and have enlisted the help of Dwayne Johnson AKA The Rock to endorse their solution.

What you can learn from it

Sometimes keeping your brand message very simple is the best way to secure a following.

Great Branding Examples #9: Toms Shoes

The premise of Toms Shoes is ‘one-for-one.’ The official website details how the founder Blake Mycoskie traveled through Argentina and witnessed how many of the children couldn’t afford shoes. Every time Toms Shoes sells a pair of shoes, they will donate another pair of shoes to a child in need.

Why it works

Toms Shoes combines good story-telling with a charitable cause. The story sets up the premise for buying the shoes — not for fashion, but for charity.

What you can learn from it

Create a personal story that resonates with people, and then allow them to finish the story by contributing to a purchase.

Great Branding Examples #10: Warby Parker

The glasses made by Warby Parker are promoted in a similar way to Toms Shoes. The founder couldn’t afford to replace a pair of broken glasses during an excursion as a student and has now pledged to match every purchase with a donation to someone in need of glasses.

Why it works

The overall premise of Warby Parker glasses is to provide an affordable solution to students and other people in need. The charitable cause invites customers to become part of the story.

What you can learn from it

Create an exciting story people can become part of by becoming a customer.

Brandon Stapper

Brandon Stapper is a self-made entrepreneur and investor residing in San Diego, California. He is currently the CEO of the sign and printing company, Nonstop Signs.