Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

But when you’re a marketer, you can’t imitate another brand. After all, you’ve got to make your mark by establishing what makes your company unique. A successful branding strategy should focus on what your differentiator is, how you can communicate that directly to your audience, and how you can develop a distinct personality that effectively represents your business.

That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t take a lesson or two from brands that rock the marketing world.

Below, we highlight some of our favorite companies that are knocking it out of the park when it comes to exceptional branding. Find out what makes them leaders in the industry as well as the methods they use to develop innovative and engaging campaigns.

Content marketing brands we love

1. Purple

How do you take an everyday item and make it fun? Look no further than Purple. This brand provides mattresses, pillows and other sleep products, but instead of making its marketing boring enough to lull you to sleep, Purple puts a unique and entertaining spin on its products.

The company truly shines in its video content. Its most widely-known video features Goldilocks, who is the fairy tale pro at finding that “right fit” mattress:

Senior Content Specialist Eric Wendt admires the way Purple’s excellent brand personality comes through in each video. It’s presented in a humorous way that makes it difficult to just skip through it.

The video content is educational, but all the information is presented in an engaging, eye-catching way that makes you laugh,” he said. “I mean, I’m talking about a brand, but in my head, I think of Purple as someone I’d want to talk to at a party. The brand comes across as funny, well-informed and approachable.”

This isn’t the first time Brafton has highlighted the exceptional branding strategy from Purple and it probably won’t be the last. The company continues to rock not only the video marketing world, but social media, too:

 

Whether it’s providing great customer service via social media, or one of its “mascots” educating prospects on its products (Sasquatch uses Purple’s mattress protector), this brand does an outstanding job of injecting its personality in a funny, engaging and personable way.

2. Revolve

Clothing retailer Revolve has taken the relatively new – and constantly evolving – aspect of influencer marketing and made it work successfully.

Not only do the Revolve influencers upload photos of themselves on Instagram wearing threads sold by the brand, but for the month of July, they are uploading these pics from a Hamptons house rented by the business in what is aptly named #Revolveinthehamptons. Revolve invites these style bloggers to stay at the house, and it throws various events throughout the month to promote its clothing:

 

As Promotions and Engagement Associate Director Allie Stone pointed out, this strong social strategy is something that has put Revolve at the forefront of branding greatness.

Revolve is able to tap into the trust that each influencer has captured from their audience,” she said. “Their audiences love to see exactly what they’re wearing and where they can buy it. Instead of just looking at items on the website, Revolve has utilized these relationships with celebrities and bloggers to make it easy for consumers to visualize how they can style any individual piece.”

Allie added that Revolve also provides seasonal lookbooks and guides for users to browse. These resources give readers the latest fashion trends for the current and upcoming seasons, and then directs them where to purchase the items on the brand’s website.

While Revolve knocks it out of the park with its own marketing efforts, it also kills it with partnership marketing.

“Revolve is also promoting each individual brand its sells online,” Allie explained. “So not only is it advertising on behalf of its own site, but also for each brand it carries. Its network of relationships is huge and makes for some awesome marketing collaborations.”

3. Geico

Who would have thought that all it took to make the topic of insurance humorous and engaging is a little gecko with a British accent?

 

Senior Social Media Strategist Walt Clark highlighted Geico as a branding superstar because of its ability to turn a normally boring concept (insurance) into something recognizable and enjoyable. Besides the cheeky gecko, the company’s tagline “15 minutes could save you 15 percent or more on car insurance” can be easily recited by almost anyone. Geico also had success with its funny “So easy a caveman can do it” campaign a few years back.

“It cleverly buries the value proposition among the craziness that goes along with the ads,” Walt explained. “Considering the company made over $22 billion in 2015, it looks like it is doing alright for itself from these campaigns.”

Walt said Geico’s major strides in branding have paved the way for other insurance companies to develop innovative marketing campaigns that turn insurance on its head. He offered Flo from Progressive and Farmer’s Insurance Hall of Claims with J.K Simmons as examples.

“Geico and other insurance providers have found ways to stand out in a crowded marketplace and they have discovered humor to be a successful outlet to get their messages across,” he said.

4. Denny’s

This restaurant chain, which earned a reputation for serving up greasy meals that you get a hankering for after a long night out, has seen social media prosperity due to its personable and hip voice.

Social Media Strategist Courtney Charroux loves Denny’s social presence because it doesn’t try to sell its followers on its restaurants. Instead, it focuses on sharing engaging and hilarious content:

 

 

 

“Denny’s’ social success comes from not pushing its product on people,” Courtney said. “It isn’t flooding users’ feeds with specials, deals or coupons. It’s all about fun, catchy and shareable content. While it may not make me want to get up and run to my closest Denny’s, it’s definitely content that keeps me entertained on a bad day. It’s worth a follow for sure.”

On its Instagram account, Denny’s posts a combination of its own content as well as photos from others on the app. This strategy of user-generated content gives the chain a more personal touch and allows it to build a strong social community:

 

 

5. GoPro

GoPro has taken the concept of videography and made it easily accessible to the average adventurer. This is evident in the content the brand shares online.

The camera maker relies heavily on user-generated content, which can range from the exhilarating:

 

 

… to the downright adorable:

 

 

… to the straight up TERRIFYING:

 

 

Allie explained that this approach allows GoPro users to be the heros (or the bait in the case of the great white shark) of their own stories.

“The brand’s content is inspirational and inspires consumers to document their next experience through a GoPro lens,” she said. “You know exactly who its audience is, and the content and digital strategy embody its mission, which is to capture meaningful experiences.”

GoPro also works with a variety of professional athletes, musicians and travel brands, which helps it connect more effectively with its target audience.

“It speaks the same language as its audience and it is 100 percent in tune with what they enjoy,” Allie added. “After I look at the company’s page or watch a video, I can feel a sense of inspiration come over me. I immediately want to grab my GoPro and document my day at the beach or day on the boat.”

Finding the right branding voice, personality and strategy for your business should be all about discovering what makes you unique and how you can connect that aspect with your audience. But it never hurts to give credit where credit is due when it comes to great branding, and perhaps you can even take a page or two out of their (digital) books.

Tressa Sloane is the Sr. Manager of Editorial Development in Boston. Born a Southern belle, she now resides in the chilly (but wicked awesome) Northeast, and when she's not learning everything she can about content marketing, she's obsessing over Elvis, Auburn football and France.