The Brands That Built Me

I’ve always loved brands. No matter how old I was, having a company so dialed in on what it loves has interested me. My interests changed around as I got older, and I was able to hold onto so many different personas and dreams when researching different brands and their communities. As an avid equestrian, I was obsessed with Ariat and its brand. I also had a strong captivation by the beach and surf culture, so I leaned into Billabong. No matter what point in my life, I’ve always had a brand that represented my lifestyle.


Branding to me has been such an optimistic and positive entity while a lot of my friends have more of a negative connotation relating branding to status. Brands all over the world create a narrative for themselves and their consumers to draw customers in and create brand loyalty. While branding to some is just a logo, companies that go the extra mile to create a lifestyle with their product emulate the goals of their consumers and are the most successful. I wanted to share a few brands that I love and think do a fantastic job branding their company.


Diamond Cross Ranch is a fantastic example of creating a brand. “Jackson Hole’s most iconic ranch,” Diamond Cross Ranch is a family-owned ranch in Moran, Wyoming that has shifted its brand from a family ranch to a ranch full of opportunities. With services like horse whispering, corporate events, weddings, and shoot locations for brands, Diamond Cross Ranch does it all. Marlboro Men, Stetson, Ralph Lauren, and Kayne West are a few of the big-name brands to utilize the beauty that is Diamond Cross Ranch. Diamond Cross has not only created a brand through its incredible services, but it has also created a recognizable fashion brand.


As street style and western wear have been trends the past few years, Diamond Cross Ranches' designs have been extremely successful. As a designer, I fell in love with the vintage-inspired logos on the pieces. Some are heavily inspired by cowboy work while others have a heavy influence from the iconic Marlboro Man campaign shot on the ranch. Diamond Cross Ranch is such a great example of a brand that is able to do many things and still keep them true to its core mission “to share a passion for the rugged beauty of the great outdoors.”


Another two of my favorite brands of all time did a collaboration and successfully pulled off an incredible blend of the two companies. “The secret behind the original Billabong board shorts? They were based on Wrangler jeans.” The best denim and the best swimmer have collaborated to make an iconic collection. Billabong and Wrangler are two of my favorite brands because of their loyalty to the culture they help maintain. With the collaboration based on the “soul of the 70s” and a heavy influence of western, it is my personality in a collection.


Besides the clothes, both Billabong and Wrangler did an amazing job branding the collection with their media. It is a true celebration of heritage. The media kits the brands created are complete with pictures of their athletes and models wearing the

clothes, a minute-long video explaining why the collaboration works so seamlessly, and Instagram posts with writing and branding on top creating the cohesiveness of the collaboration. Everything is so creative and it makes me wish I was in the creative team meetings listening to the decision-making. It sounds like the perfect job. Overall this branding, graphic design, and photography are quintessentially me and I hope you all love them too.


Personally, I really struggle completing tasks when I am not fully passionate about them, which is why I think finding a company to work for that I love is so important. Work is less like work when you enjoy what you’re doing. Branding as a whole is creating a lifestyle that is worth mimicking. While there are millions of brands across the world, people find the ones that speak to them. A brand that they think about going on crazy shopping sprees or curating their home to be just like the magazine ads. From your Grandpa to your younger sister, everyone has a heart-eye moment with a brand that influences their life in one way or another. Making that experience for someone is so special, and as creatives, we have an opportunity to make a difference for a brand and its consumer! As silly as it sounds to some, branding to me is not just another email in my inbox, it’s an opportunity to show how amazing a product fits into life. Next time you go into your inbox or walk into your favorite store, I hope you recognize the effort made to invite you into their brand.


Atiana Dawson is a Senior Strategic Communication major and Studio Art minor. When her laptop is closed you can find her zipping up her wetsuit at the beach or tugging on her boots at the barn. A graphic designer of five years, she spends a lot of her free time designing for her friends and family.


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