DNA Stand

Search the dictionary and you’ll discover that the traditional definition for “brand” is that of a mark or symbol—in essence, a label.

But in 2013, branding means way more than that! It's your DNA- it's what makes you who you are.

All companies want to leave their mark on their industry, no matter their size. But how do you do that in the Internet age when every other company under the sun is trying to do the same thing you are? Well, branding might help you out!

Let’s take a look at three companies that have pulled ahead of the pack with their awesome branding strategies.

Whole Foods: In Order to Expand, Sometimes You Have to Invent

Whole Food Market Logo

Whole Foods Market is probably familiar to you-- it might be where you get your food! And even if you don't shop at Whole Foods, you know what they're all about! Throughout  the 21st century the company has had firm footing as a brand advocating natural, healthy, and sustainable foods.

In fact, Whole Foods had done such a good job at associating its brand with healthy and natural eating that it found itself cornering the market—and limiting its potential for future growth in the process, since there was nowhere else to expand. Whole Foods decided to rethink its brand strategy and advertise to a new market with a campaign aimed at “foodies” with the tagline “passionately picky.”

Suddenly, Whole Foods was advertising to passionate gastronomes, not just health nuts—and the sales grew along with the brand itself. The lesson? Sometimes to expand, you have to re-invent yourself, even if you’re already successful.

Expedia’s “Find Yours”: Marketing by Word of Mouth

Expedia Logo

The best way to get new customers is through other customers that gush about you. If you want people to spread your brand for you, you might have a difficult time convincing them to do so with traditional marketing and sales-y tactics. If people think that all you care about is making money, they won't want to tell their friends about you.

In order to inspire your customers to talk you up, you have to show that you care about them. Strive to create real connections and positive experiences. If you get customers jazzed up, your brand message will spread via word of mouth!

Just check out Expedia. The company's “Find Yours” campaign is a great example of a brand seeking an emotional connection with their would-be customers without trying to sell them anything. The result? Marketing that doesn’treally resemble marketing. Your audience will have no trouble spreading your message as long as you're authentic and inspiring.

Southwest Airlines: When Getting Personal is a Good Thing

Southwest Airlines Logo

You likely recognize Southwest Airlines by their blue-red emblazoned airplanes, but that’s not the only part of the brand that's distinctive. Some airlines feel corporate and boring, but Southwest goes the extra mile to be fun and cool.

They’re also very in touch with their customers, posting their pictures to social media accounts, offering air traffic updates on Twitter, and even promoting a viral video of a flight attendant rapping the announcements.

The lesson? People might want you to deliver service like a company, but they don’t always want you to act like a company—sometimes they want you to act like the fun-loving people you are.

An Unforgettable Brand

Creating an unforgettable brand can help you connect with your customers, pull ahead of your competition, and set you apart. You want to be a company that people remember, not just another corporation!

What brands are unforgettable to you? How do you go about building an unforgettable brand?