5 Brands We’ve Been Crushing On

Let’s talk about crushes. No, we’re not talking about Matt from your 8th grade biology class because, of duh, his dreamy eyes and the way he flips his hair. We’re talking about the kind of nerdy crushes marketers have: Brand crushes.

We’ve gathered five brands our team has been crushing on lately to see if you share our smoosh. Once the heart palpitations calm down, we look to these brands for creative inspiration and hope you will, too.

1. Owala

There just aren’t enough heart-eye emojis in all the land to express our love for this brand.

These brightly colored water bottles have an actual personality in product descriptions like “Sometimes you just need an all-around, solid water bottle. Nothing more, nothing less. Something that just twists on, twists off. Like the Karate Kid.”

The brand personality is in the hilarious made-up testimonials, and in the overt marketing transparency in their website footer urging regular folk to “keep scrolling” because “This is our SEO section. For Google. And our SEO team. It makes us easier to find for fine people like yourself.”

You don’t even have to be a web production nerd to appreciate a brand that thrives in sarcastic, acerbic copy and calling out perpetual website furniture pieces for what they are.

The products themselves are created by designers and seem starkly different in their marketing from the ones made popular by VSCO girls (is that still a thing?). Owala strikes a more approachable and conversational tone, while offering frequent discounts and even a subscription model “for people who really, really like water bottles.”

2. Baboon To the Moon

Our VP of Marketing, Justin, is a BIG fan of this brand. Right when you hit their homepage, you’ll quickly see how the bright colors, unique fonts, and lovely photography come together for a pleasant product-browsing experience. Here’s their official product description, which is informative yet fun.

“BABOON TO THE MOON provides best-in-class adventure essentials. We use the highest-grade materials and stand behind our products. Our bags are meant to survive everything from the zombie apocalypse to that guy at the airport hurling your bag across the runway.”

Oh, and did we mention their photography and bright colors? (we did, but we’re doing it again)…

3. Carhartt

How in the WORLD does a 132-year-old company (yeah, you read that right: one hundred and thirty-two years.) remain not only relevant, but one of the hippest brands — while simultaneously making us all strive to want to work physically harder?

The answer is: By thoroughly embracing their history in such a way that it’s impossible not to like what they do. Carhartt simply oozes with pride for their own story, in a humble our-roots-are-our-future sorta way.

From telling their story through the Carhartt community, their work supporting veterans, partnerships with like-minded brands, or throwing their support behind fellow made-in-America vendors, Carhartt makes it clear their brand doesn’t exist with the humans who made it happen.

They go even further, by not only sharing their own story, but by beautifully telling the stories from those who live and thrive with Carhartt products via video. And not in a shallow, pandering, “buy our stuff”-kinda way. Carhartt accomplishes this through truly capturing humanity in in-depth, relatable ways.

4. goodr

Listen. If we ever get out of this whole ABM thing, we’re for SURE shifting our gears to something as lucrative as sunglasses. Fine, maybe “lucrative” isn’t the right word? Let’s try “unabashed ridiculous fun” instead? (Not that ABM isn’t). Because when we look at what the marketing folks do for goodr sunglasses, we can physically feel the fun they have creating the branding. Seriously, their tagline is, “We are recklessly committed to fun… BLAH, BLAH, BLAH sunglasses.”

We can hear Joel in a neon windbreaker and matching joggers, sitting in a swivel chair in the goodr conference room, probably listening to old-school LMFAO, suggesting product names.

“How about ‘Swedish Meatball Hangover?’ Or ‘Influencers Pay Double?’ Oooh, or what if we made a pair of all-black glasses and named them, ‘A Ginger’s Soul’?”

Goodr’s more than hilarious product names (and the even-better accompanying origin story descriptions), though. Let’s talk about the photography. Sure, they could’ve propped a pair of glasses on some sand next to a cocktail and beach ball and called it good, but goodr instead chose to include incredibly bright, colorful, vibrant — and weird in the best way — shots of real people having fun in their sunglasses.

Toss in a podcast, an ambassador program and stories from real wearers, and you’ve got a well-rounded brand we’re crushing on.

5. Yeti

Yes, another water bottle company on this list. What can we say, these brands know what they’re doing, and we’re living for it. But Yeti couldn’t be more different than Owala’s branding in just about every way, and both strike that right tone for their respective audiences — because the Owala buyer might not be the Yeti buyer.

Yeti’s products have risen to well-known fame in the past five or so years, but their brand story is so much bigger than product marketing. Each month, subscribers get a publication sharing stories and beautifully directed videos from real customers doing super badass things.

When we say “stories,” we’re not talking a couple of paragraphs about something who had a great time keeping their water cold. No, these are well-crafted narrative pieces highlighting courage that take the time to draw you into the customer’s world. You’re not thinking about what you’re being sold — you’re inspired, and dreaming of your own potential.

The Commonality Between These Five

These brands are vastly different works of art, but they all share these three things we’re taking with us as we talk about our own branding moving forward:

  1. Revealing shared humanity
  2. Approachable, relatable brand messaging
  3. Celebrating the history and present — and where we’re about to go

What are you taking from these companies?