When most think of brand, they think of a logo, color palette and a marketing position. Brand is much more than that, but I’m not going into the details here. You can read plenty throughout this site about how we practice brand for our clients.

But I have to admit. Sometimes, there’s a little magic involved that’s difficult to define and often takes years to develop.

For that reason, it came as little surprise that Volkswagen sported a 28.4% increase in sales last month in the US from May of 2010. There’s something about the Volkswagen brand that has a kind of retro cool yet modern feel that can’t be solely explained into its “people’s car” image.

The brand’s in everything, from its famous “Think small” and “Drivers wanted” ad campaigns to the look and feel of the cars, along with different touches (such as the spot for a flower in its Bugs).

It works, and has an identifiable position in the market that’s different from its competitors. Detroit’s Big Three might be doing better now, but they are as undistinguishable from each other as lettuce to cabbage.

Even Volkswagen’s recent foray into online videos – subtle, but amazingly detailed send-ups of classic movies such as Jaws, Taxi Driver and Silence of the Lambs – is something only Volkswagen would try and succeed.

So, when Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn says his aim is to pass Toyota as the world’s largest automaker by 2018, I believe he just might do it.