This awesome Director's Commentary focuses on the thinking behind the reworked BMW 7-series. Narrated by BMW design maestro Adrian Van Hooydonk, it's important on two levels.
First, it's amazing to hear an expert take us through the intricacies of making a car look good. Cars can be magnificent works of scuplture, but rarely does success come by accident. As we listen to Van Hooydonk describe the interior and exterior design details, we get a glimpse at the extreme amount of attention to detail required to pull off a product experience as complex and multifaceted as a car. Such is the state of technology and design process at BMW, even a rear tail light has become a sophisticated mechanical-eletronic subsystem, and one designed to the hilt. What a far cry from the incandescent-bulb lit taillamps of my old 1969 1600-2!
Second, once again we see the importance of having a clear point of view to guide design decisions. Listening to Van Hooydonk, it's clear what is important when it comes to the design of a 7-series: power, sport, elegance, strength, authenticity. Staying on brand means designing to those parameters and throwing out everything else. Which sounds a lot like the art of strategy making to me; perhaps the most important aspect of designs informed by a strategic point of view is that the design does come to embody that strategy and as such forms the basis for a completely coherent brand identity. In my experience it's much easier to have effective marketing communications if your offering actually is designed in manner that's congruent with your messaging.
I consider organizations such as Apple, BMW, Zappos, and Pixar to be part of a select few capable of nailing a complete and compelling user experience. They each do so by betting on the talent of their designers and creators. Clear and compelling vision, coupled with quality execution, does in fact win over the long haul.
I’d add personal favorite Trader Joe’s as well. A different spin is that they bet on the talent and the human-centric focus of their store clerks. The brand exists at the level of the lowest employee (the same for the ones you mention).