Last week I stumbled upon an article entitled “10 Brands That Changed the World”  by Ad Week. They were the following:

1. Amazon
2. Facebook
3. Gap
4. HBO
5. McDonald’s
6. Starbucks
7.  iPhone
8.  Visa
9.  Viagra
10.  Walmart

I looked at this article and wondered – what brands have personally changed MY life significantly? What would be MY top 10 list? After thinking about it I’ve come up with a list and broken down why they have influenced me the way they have.

1. Starbucks – Starbucks shaped my high school years. I became addicted to the Carmel Frappuccino and a lot of my minimum wage paycheck on the sugar/caffeine crazed addition. It was the place to meet up when you didn’t want to be at your parents house – but weren’t old enough to go out for drinks. As an adult, Starbucks is still in my life, but in a different way. It’s a drive through for my coffee fix in the morning before work. Did you read that? Coffee. I’m an adult now.

2. Apple –  It all started with the 3rd Generation iPod. I was the first person at my high school with one and thought I was the coolest for getting it. Unfortunately, my PC had other plans because it didn’t support Firewire. I carried around the iPod, playing snake, until I finally was able to utilize it for it’s original purpose – easy music listening. No more big CD player – it was awesome. With my love of the iPod, I was still a little hesitant to get a Mac computer. After 3 PCs that I broke within 3 year of me having them, it was time to try an Apple. I was hooked in immediately. No viruses, no slow start up, ease of use. After the Macbook Pro came the iPod Touch, then the iPhone, and lastly, the iPad. I’m all Apple-d up these days.

3. Amazon – Amazon has served many purposes in my life, but the main role Amazon has is as a money saver. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been to stores and brought up Amazon on my smartphone to compare prices on items, to see what’s most cost effective. Amazon wins almost every time. It wins SO often, in fact, that numerous stores are forced to price-match to keep up. Suckers!

4. Adobe – Did you ever have the desire to bring something to life, but lacked the artistic ability to make it happen? Adobe helped me with this with software programs including Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator. I’ve put together countless advertising storyboard, magazine, billboard and brochure mockups together with the help of the software – and even had the privilege of having some of them come to life. I know, hands down, that none of my designs would have been possible without the software. It has been a life-changing brand for both my academic and professional career.

5. Garmin – Although the GPS software I utilize now isn’t Garmin, it was the launchpad to me being able to navigate without the fear of getting terribly lost. I have no clue where I am going. I don’t know how the heck to use a map, printing out directions is no help – but my handy dandy Garmin has been a lifesaver. When I was a sales representative for my college newspaper, I’d plug in wherever I needed to go and could get there with breeze. Being new to Indianapolis – it’s also beneficial to find my way back to my home from places I’ve never been at before. GPS takes the fear out of exploring and opens me up to limitless adventures.

6. Facebook – Okay, this one is easy and doesn’t necessarily need to be explained. Facebook does it all. It allows you communicate, share and learn new things. It’s has opened up communication and probably provided a platform to keep a lot of my friendships going. This could be a good or bad thing. Did I also mention it has ruined high school reunions?..I mean I now know everything about my high school crush, Bobby, because we are “friends” and I can stalk his page whenever my little heart desires. *sigh*

7. AT&T – Back in the day I thought that long distance walkie talkies were the coolest thing ever. I got super stoked when my dad got his first AT&T cell phone (which was the size of a brick I might add). I was heartbroken when my older sister got a cell phone and I didn’t. I like talking. I also love technology. Luckily, my mom isn’t a quick adapter and at the age of 15 I obtained my first cell phone. (Isn’t it sad these days that kids are getting them at 5? NOT FAIR!) Having a cell phone meant one thing to me at that day – freedom. I was able to have a later curfew, got out of numerous note-writing sessions to my parents telling them where I was, and also chit chat with my friends into the wee hours of the night. My parents probably had a love/hate relationship with me having a cell phone, but what did I care? I was free and continue to be on AT&T.

8. AIM – American Instant Messanger was what texting and Facebook chat/Gchat is to people these days. It was the way I’d be able to talk to all of my friends throughout my day with just a few buttons. Want to talk to your friends about weekend plans? Get on AIM. Want to talk to you school crush after school hours? Get on AIM. Want to feel old when writing a blog post? Write about AIM.

9. Target – Unlike the Ad Week article with the Walmart mention, my life has been shaped in the retail world by Target. (It was closer to home for me.) With every new paycheck I’d get from my high school job, I’d immediately go to Target to stock up on whatever new CD came out that week. I’d buy junk food, shop for clothes and get the everyday essentials. On Black Friday I’d always make a point to check out the $5 DVD section and usually got every Christmas present in one quick trip. Being raised on Target, I still have a fondness for it years later. It reminds me of home – plus it’s Target – and a heck of a lot cleaner than that “other” place. 😉

10. WordPress – With my job working at a website design company, Nextfly, I use WordPress on a daily basis. It has helped me understand the ins and outs of coding CSS, HTML and SEO significantly. It makes web design and maintenance make sense. I’ve worked on other content management systems before and they are decent. When it comes down to it, however, WordPress can do so much more than stripped down content management systems that other website design companies offer and then force you to utilize them for updates. It’s the best out there.