The loves of our branded lives...

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Some people are quite open about it. Some shout it from the rooftops. Some deny it and remain in the closet. But, I know that everyone has a brand they love, and what fascinates me most is the reasons why. Is it the product? Is it the Service? Is it the way they make you feel? We all have our reasons. 

With this in mind and with Valentine’s Day fast approaching I decided to ask the Truth team which brands they are feeling the love for this year. Here is what they said.

Darren loves Tesla

I am a sucker for the next big thing, and particularly products or brands that utilise smart design and technology to enhance our lives. 

Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s goal is to ‘change the world and make the future better for all humanity’. This sounds like a bold claim, but Tesla are an innovations company, and they are really doing it. 

What I really really love is about Tesla is they are giving away their hard earned electric car patents for free as open source, allowing their ‘competitors’ to benefit from their advancements and accelerate the advent of sustainable transportation. This selfless and counterintuitive act of open collaboration will allow a leap in technology that will potentially solve the world's energy crisis. In 2015, Tesla Energy announced a suite of batteries for homes called Powerwall that store electricity for domestic consumption and backup power. 

Elon Musk is also the CEO of other innovation companies like SpaceX and Hyperloop, Founder of PayPal, and he is pioneering solar technology with SolarCity

Tesla cars are a bit out of my price range (for now at least), but when they’re not, I’m in.

Jo loves Illy

Ground Espresso Roast Coffee. The can-opening-whoosh, the scent of roasted coffee aromas, the freshness… For coffee-lovers the world over, Illy gives you a little-smidgen of barista in the comfort of your own home. I would (in typical style) say that the brand is critical, but the packaging is more so. What Illy has done, is use its take on protecting the coffee’s vital aromas through a pressurised tin. Yes, there’s a very strong argument that almost seven quid for a can of coffee is a little indulgent, but for me? It’s worth… Every. Penny. There’s a controlled branded experience here – like no other, and that’s what makes me swoon.

Packaging-gush over, and add the GAGGIA machine, the Illy-branded espresso cup and the finished crema to boot, and my valentine really is coffee like an Italian would. Oh, and not forgetting the all important brand red. The colour of success. Italian style.

Chris loves Air bnb

For me this brand showcases how great and methodical design can elevate a company. Transforming what used to be (at least in my opinion) a pokey way to find a bnb – something of a last resort – into a household name to discover rare travel gems.

For me the worst element of travelling is finding a destination, it can be a monotonous trawl through web pages leading to an overly complex booking process, what I love about this brand is that it has taken what was an arduous process and through great design transformed it into a service that not only delivers but also inspires, quickly tapping me into new locations to discover and then delivering a simple journey through to purchase.

Ant Loves Channel 4 

4creative in collaboration with DBLG, SQUA, Brody Associates and Jonathan Glazer recently served us up a new identity on air package for Channel 4. From the simplified iconic logo, controversial Horseferry typeface to the clever deconstructed logo pieces that captivate as they bounce around the screen, this will and has split opinion. What it does do though is reaffirm Channel 4's continual position the innovative and experimental channel.

Rosie loves Les Mills

Les Mills is an international provider of group fitness classes that are distributed to health clubs and gyms, including Lifestyle Fitness Manchester – my local gym. 

Throughout my adult life (which isn’t long) I have been to a variety of gym classes with varying levels of enjoyment. However, I have been an active member of the Les Mills programmes for over two years, helping to improve my fitness and gain strength. 

Unlike most, these classes are very short (30—45 mins) but consist of highly intense and specialist workouts. My favourite being BODYPUMP and HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). 

I love this brand because it does a simple job extremely well. Exercise classes are not new but LES MILLS has brought something new to the world of fitness, allowing me to train in a short space of time.

Ruth loves Green & Blacks

Working in an office full of sweet tooths, it seems obvious to turn my mind to confectionary when nominating a brand that I love. The sheer variety of sugary snacks that come through our door at Truth could make for a not-so-short 'short list' of amazing confectionary brands but for me there is one that really stands out, one that through its brand positioning has created the ultimate in sweet treats – a guilty pleasure without the guilt.

Beginning its life as Britain’s first winners of the fair-trade mark, Green & Blacks set its stall out from the off with its ethical stance and this really makes me admire their brand. Even the environmental origins of their chosen name ‘Green’ win my heart and as a huge advocate of substantiated CSR policies (and as a consumer of vast quantities of chocolate and coffee) I find myself drawn to brands that trade fairly on commodities grown in developing countries. Of course, it would be naive of me to expect that CSR should be more important to a business than its bottom line but Green & Blacks are a fine example of how CSR should be engrained in a brand right from the start.

Helen loves Sofar Sounds

In a world where mainstream music rules, Sofar offers a welcome reprieve from the commercial sound we’ve become accustomed to. The basic premise of the business is to offer up and coming artists an intimate platform in which to showcase their music. ‘Intimate?’, I hear you ask. ‘How?’ Sofar is on a mission to bring us closer to live music around the world in a very unique way. The business calls on like-minded music lovers to host gigs in their homes, on their rooftops, or wherever else they see fit, in a revolutionising musical venture. The location of the gig is kept secret until 2 days before the event. The talent is promising. And it’s BYOB. What’s not to love?! 

Richard loves Levi’s

I recently went through a traumatic experience and one I wouldn’t wish upon anyone… buying a new pair of jeans. An impossible, joyless task and one I had continually put off. Eventually, with my old reliables unravelling, I plucked up the courage and headed into town. I hadn’t been shopping for a while and had forgotten that the majority of high street stores are awful places. Terrible music being blared out in an under lit, over heated changing room. The staff were miserable, I was miserable and I wasn’t having a good time.

But when I thought all hope was lost, I stumbled into the Levi’s shop. I don’t know what led me to those hallowed gates; I’d never owned a pair of Levi’s before or had any previous with them. Whatever the reasons were I’m glad I did. As soon as I walked in, I knew I was in the right place. The relaxed atmosphere, the genuinely helpful staff, the quality of the products; everything felt premium. It was actually enjoyable and within a few minutes I wanted them to take my money. (They didn’t even have my size in stock, instead tailored a larger pair to my size. In store. All within an hour!) I only needed one pair of jeans but came out with two, blowing my budget out the water…

Basically, to sum up, if a customer has a good experience with a brand, they’ll love them, they’ll shout about them and ultimately, they’ll spend more. From having no real connection with Levi’s, I became an advocate and I’m looking forward to the next time I need to buy jeans

Jack loves Tinder

I fully appreciate the ironic notion that this conjures up in a blog looking at brands the team love in the run up to Valentine’s Day… I stagger in, eyes squinting at my phone, dating app open and a thumb that’s gained a repetitive strain injury. However, I love Tinder.

Here’s why. I refused to join this app for a very long time and I only recently converted. I’ve come to realise that it’s a great way of meeting new people, especially working in a profession that can be particularly hectic at times. It’s also a more socially acceptable way of meeting new people (who knew simply talking to someone face to face by way of introduction wasn’t?) 

I haven’t tried any of the competitor apps, happn particularly freaks me out due to the potential for stalkers (cue the ‘you should be so lucky’ line) but Tinder’s original dating app status and the recent updates which allow you to communicate with GIF’s mean that I probably won’t stray. I love a good GIF.

What else do I love? It’s simplicity, ease of use and speed. It’s damn efficient as well and y’know; ‘time is money’ and all that. Only down side is probably the increase in spend on social activities and dates as a result. Perhaps in this way it’s a love/hate relationship with the brand.

Looking at the bigger picture; 9 million matches worldwide, examples of marriage and some general fun and tom foolery for many, what’s really not to love about this little app?  

Jas loves Inner City Music

Whether it’s jazz, funk, reggae or electro, music is a universal language that’s celebrated from every corner of the globe. Performance is a fine art, and nothing can compare to raw talent.

This is what Manchester’s Inner City Music brings to the cultural table. The non-profit organisation heads up a variety of eclectic musical events throughout the north, and is the backbone of the Northern Quarter’s legendary Band on the Wall venue.

Whilst I love nothing more than to ‘Keep it Unreal’ at Mr Scruff's Swan Street residency, I can’t help but admire the charity’s wider goal of nurturing emerging talent. Working within the community and at local schools, the charity’s dedication to budding musicians is evident through its exciting education programme, which features some of the regions most talented tutors. 

The venue itself is a notable part of the city’s history and, judging by its work within the local community, Inner City Music will continue to play a huge role in Manchester’s notorious music scene.

Lisa loves Head Over Heels

As a mum to a very energetic toddler, finding an environment / experience that entertains both me and son is like stumbling upon gold dust. My beautiful boy likes chasing after footballs in the pouring rain or climbing up and down colourful foam-stuffed-plastic in a cold and soulless warehouse. Meanwhile, I like cocktail bars, spa days and watching / playing tennis – and for some reason, my little cherub isn’t a fan of any of those. I know, I can’t believe it either!

That is why I am such a huge fan of Head Over Heels Play Centres. They have got the brand experience bob on – for both children and parents. The play areas are interesting, interactive, bouncy - everything my son loves. Whilst also being absolutely spotless and in pristine condition - everything I am reassured by as a (sometimes) anxious parent. They are also warm and cosy, well decorated AND they serve really high quality food and drinks. And by food, I mean well balanced, nutritious meals for my son. And by food, I mean mouth watering, delicious cakes for mummy. 

Furthermore, the staff are very friendly and clearly love children, taking time to interact with them even if it’s not specifically their job. They are also very security conscious. You practically have to take a DNA test to prove your child belongs to you before they let you out the building. 

I’m not a huge fan of the brand mark but the brand values are evidently clear through all the customer touch points and very engaging. It’s impressive. I actually think I’d live there if I could. 

So unless anyone creates a venue that hosts high profile tennis matches that you can watch whilst eating a muffin, drinking a margarita and having a back, neck and shoulder massage, whilst also meeting all my son’s expectations - you'll find me at Head Over Heels

Terry loves BBC FOUR

BBC FOUR for me for the Friday night music programmes, great variety, looking into all areas.

Taking on a particular music style of a band or individual in a particular era, 60s 70s 80s, usually unseen footage with the story of their rise and inevitable fall. in a documentary style followed usually by a concert performance of the band, very nostalgic and great viewing… and listening.

Always leaving me saying…I didn’t think it was that long ago!

What brand has caught your eye this year, let us know?