as a designer that runs her own business, and has helped design brands/identities for other companies in the past, i find other business branding stories extremely compelling. what works, why, how to implement it... these are all great questions to be answered by some of the world's best brands.
a marketing professor and dear friend, david vinjamuri, has written a book on this topic. "accidental branding" covers such companies as burt's bees, craigslist, and j. peterman -- ordinary people creating extraordinary brands.
"accidental branding" is due to launch in late march. you can pre-order it now on amazon.com. and don't forget to check out david's blog at thirdway. it's a fabulously educational read.