It’s Independence Day. Time to salute our founding fathers and mothers and take a moment to celebrate the birth of our great country…and of course consume way too many hot dogs and too much coleslaw and beer.

But while enjoying these important festivities, I think there is something else we should salute.


Not just Brands in general, but Brands that give us freedom. Products and services that allow us to do more, roam freely and achieve a certain level of independence and control over our lives.

Here are  my top 5 “Freedom Brands”, I’d love to hear yours.

(Cue the fireworks please)…

#1 Blackberry

#2 TiVo

#3 Google

#4 Kindle

#5 Spanx

#1 Blackberry:Like many of my BrandTwist readers, I also have a love/hate relationship with my “crackberry”. However, I have to give credit where credit is due. No other brand in my life has given me such a degree of flexibility and freedom. It has completely re-defined the notion of “office” as I can be in touch, sending emails, making calls, reading and creating documents anytime and anywhere. The downside of this of course, is the work emails I get on a Saturday afternoon (and am expected to answer). The upside is being able to leave the office in the afternoon, keep working on the train and be home in time for my son’s early soccer game.

 #2 TiVo: Ok I admit it, I like TV (some TV that is). And I also think that people in marketing and branding should keep up withcertain shows, trends and stars (both high brow and low). But who has time to be in front of the set at exactly 9pm? TiVo let’s me watch on my terms. I can finish my dinner, attend my evening Hebrew classes, put my kids to bed etc without rushing through everything afraid to miss the beginning of Modern Family. It also allows me the freedom to watch an hour program in 37 minutes by skipping over the terrible commercials and only watching the ones that appeal to me.

#3 Google: Honestly, what did we do before Google? Did we just know less or did we spend all of our time constantly running to the encyclopedias or libraries to look things up? Google gives me the freedom and peace of mind to know that I can find the answer to anything, anytime, anywhere.  Which also means I can finish the NY Times crossword quicker (with a few select searches on the clues I just can’t get) and have the freedom to get on with the rest of my day.

#4 Kindle: I love to read, it’s one of the few things that can help me wind down and relax.  And I have an almost irrational fear about being caught with some unexpected downtime and nothing to peruse. I used to bring a separate suitcase full of only books every time I went on vacation. I was always worried that I would go through all my selections too soon and find myself with a week left of prime relaxation time with nothing to help me escape. Now with my Kindle I am literally lighter (one suitcase and about 20 pounds of novels). I can bring 100 books with me if I want and I have the freedom to buy on demand. If a friend is telling me about a “must read” historical fiction book (my genre of preference) I am free to download it right away. I also love the added advantage of being free from prying eyes on the subway since no one can see the cover of my latest Phillipa Gregory bodice-ripper…I mean historical novel on the kings and queens of England.

#5 Spanx: this is the only brand on my fab 5 that it is not driven by technology. For some unfamiliar readers out there, Spanxis a sort of super miracle fabric under-garment that is worn to help tuck in the tummy and all the other bits that tend to roam as we get older. With the risk of sharing perhaps too much…Spanx gives me freedom from worry about those 5 extra pounds that tend to come and go. It helps me feel confident when I’m wearing my best work dress and allows me to concentrate on the lecture or presentation I am giving instead of obsessing about forgetting to my sit ups the night before.

Those are my top 5 freedom brands. Looking back on this list I realize that “freedom” for me has a lot to do with control over time, increased mobility, and access to information on my terms.

That’s my point of view. What’s your twist?

What brands help you feel independent?

Happy 4th of July!

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Julie is the Founder and CEO of BrandTwist, a brand consultancy that helps entrepreneurs and corporations build stronger, more profitable brands.


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