I'm a branding fanatic, thankfully not a brand addict or I'd go very broke very fast. You would think that unless you're in marketing, you wouldn't care much about brands and the philosophy that goes behind them, but we're all parts of brands whether we know it, want it, or can't care less about it!
In my daily interactions with brands as a consumer (or usually an observer, depends on how much cash I have), I've come to think of brands as people: they can be funny or serious, interesting or boring, stupid or smart...
I thought it would be fun if I made a list of brands that I think are smart, whether seriously or sarcastically. Try to figure out which is which since I still couldn't buy the SarcMark.
It has come a long way since 2007 with over 400 million users as per its latest statistics. It's a brand that managed to convince over 400 million people worldwide of the "necessity" of belonging to it, and coming in interaction with it by using it for 55 minutes a day on average. It started as a closed network for Ivy League University students, grew into a wider network for family, friends, colleagues, and classmates, and now it has developed into a book of records where the world posts its status updates, photos, videos, links, and others, and basically lay your life out there for everyone to see. How smart is it really? Well I recall getting to know someone on Twitter and asking him to connect on Facebook, to which he said he doesn't have a facebook, to which I replied: "OH MY GOD! Who doesn't have a Facebook in these times?! It's a MUST!". He asked why it's a must, I couldn't give a satisfactory answer in 140 character, and that's why Facebook is ranked 5.
Why is it smart? Apparently because it has convinced over 80 million people that online farming is so cool and irresistible that they have to spend hours every day tending to it, and making it bigger and bigger as if the end prize is actually a real farm of its equivalence. I find it smart how 80 million people find it more enjoyable to make a hundred clicks a day at a cold screen than to buy a small plant, water it every other day and actually see it and feel it grow. Why is it smarter than Facebook? because I suspect that those users spending 55 minutes on Facebook spend that time farming, harvesting, milking cows, finding stray animals and sending them as gifts to those who haven't converted to "FarmVillism" yet.
Twitter started in 2008 as a means for people to update their statuses in 140 characters or less with personal information (where they are, what they are eating, what they are doing, etc.) for their family and friends to read. However, now, that's practically the one reason you won't be using Twitter for! Now, Twitter has an army of 3rd applications supporting many uses to make it much more than just a 140 characters status updating tool, and 10 Billion tweets are there to prove it. It's becoming much more like Facebook but without the annoyance of having to ignore requests from friends and strangers that you don't really want to connect with, and also very useful if you just want to connect to someone without giving them the choice to ignore you. Yeah, it goes both ways! So it's smarter than Facebook because it became huge with out actually putting forth much effort, you gotta appreciate that!
Why is Google smart? Seriously? Just google that question and you'll definitely get an answer! Oh, hold on, let me try it. Ok, I got 119,000,000 results but none of them really answers the question so let me do it. Google basically has become the equivalent of internet. Can you actually think of internet without getting the image of Google as the homepage?! That's just from the personal perspective. On the business level, all websites are fighting and competing for Google's attention as if nothing exists beyond it. Not to mention all the services that Google has (Google Docs, Google Maps, etc) that basically you'd find it hard to function without. So with such huge signficance why isn't it number 1?! Well have you seen Google Buzz!
Why is it smart?! Ask any Apple user, but get ready for a 30 minutes enthusiastic monologue on the greatness and awesomeness of Apple products! There's just something about Apple that turns its users into fanatics whose answer for ANY problem is "Get an iPhone/Mac/iPod...". Try it. Strategically distance yourself within an earshot of an Apple user and complain about something random like "I had trouble waking up early today and my coffee was too hot", they'd hurry over to you and excitingly suggest you get an iPhone, because, after all, there must be an app for that! So, yes, Apple is the smartest brand of all time because of its effortless ability to turn every consumer into an annoying persistent sales representative, and that not only without paying them to do so, but by even overcharging them for products!
So those were what I consider to be the top 5 smartest brands. What are yours? And in what order?