I2m_passionbrands Everyone has brands that they are passionate about.  Yahoo’s dedication to launching 100 "Brand Universes," the success of marketing concepts like "Lovemarks" and the rise of consumer generated media are just a few of the symptoms that would point anyone towards this conclusion.  Yet we all know that there are levels of brand enthusiasts.  There are the Apple-kind of enthusiast/fanatics that believe their hero brand can do no harm and often dismiss those who "don’t get it."  There are the employee enthusiast/evangelists whose loyalty stems mainly from being employed or having a close family member or friend employed by the brand.  Then there is the third kind of brand enthusiast.  The one that is just that … an enthusiast.  They like the brand, they believe it maps to their lifestyle, and where there is an opportunity, they are likely to convert this affection into a purchase – 99 times out of 100. 

I am that kind of enthusiast for the brands I like.  The only problem is, I don’t get enough chances to talk about them.  So in an effort to give myself and others a way to do it – I’m going to do my best to start this thread of conversation with fellow bloggers by asking a simple question: What are the 3-5 brands that you are most passionate about?  These are the brands that you would recommend to others and purchase as many products as they made – if money were no object.  If you had to be defined by a brand that you love, these would be the ones that you would choose.  To get the ball rolling, here are my five:

  1. Briggs & Riley – I admit it.  I’m a luggage-hound.  As almost everyone that knows me well would agree, I can’t resist a good piece of luggage.  It probably explains why I have tons of bags in the basement that I have since outgrown or discovered weren’t actually as great as I first thought.  But the bags that I use all the time are from Briggs & Riley.  Their catalog almost makes my mouth water … they’re just that cool. 
  2. Moleskine – There are many other folks that swear by these notebooks, and I would count myself among them.  The iconic books are marketed as the "legendary notebook of Hemingway and Van Gogh" and they have a full range of sizes including a new city series that I can’t wait to come out in a few months.  There are strong brand enthusiasts for Moleskine, a well regarded fan blog, sites devoted to what you can do with your Moleskine, and even some great citizen marketing.
  3. Nikon – Having used Nikon since my very first SLR camera in high school, when it came to looking for a new digital SLR to upgrade before my trip to India, the Nikon D80 was an obvious choice.  Aside from loving the products, as a photographer I appreciate how they have continually tapped into the amateur photographer community through their smart marketing programs such as the Nikon Stunning Gallery and many others for several decades now.  I think they are the default choice for the amateur photography who is secretly a pro-wannabe.  That sounds about right.
  4. Thinkpad – Almost everywhere you look, you can get a great deal on a laptop computer.  Prices are falling, new competitors are entering the market everyday, and each one is trying to carve a niche out for themselves.  Despite changing owners from IBM to Lenovo* – the Thinkpad remains the category defining business laptop machine.  From it’s easy to use features like the ThinkLight to the signature trackpoint and feel of the keyboard – once you use a Thinkpad, it really is impossible to consider anything else.  Sure, it might be a bit more expensive, but for a brand enthusiast like me it’s easily worth it.
  5. Umbro – As any kid growing up playing soccer will tell you, Umbro is the soccer player’s company.  From their brand story of two brothers founding the company based on their common love of the game, to their popular soccer shorts that were the standard on any soccer field, they are still one of the few athletic apparel companies to just focus on one sport.  As a result, they have a huge base of brand loyalists around the world that will only wear Umbro gear.

Those are some of my favourites.  Looking forward to reading some of yours …

* In the interests of full disclosure, Lenovo is a current client of Ogilvy Public Relations.  As I noted in this piece, my relationship with Thinkpad machines predates my role at Ogilvy and this post is not related to any current work or incentives.