The products in the first category have none or only a very weak link with the natural imagery being used: Lacoste is not about crocodiles, Linux is not about penguins, Bacardi is not about bats and Apple is certainly not a fruit company. The natural reference is mainly employed for aesthetic reasons.
The placement of a cell phone antenna mast in a natural resort can be sold to the public much easier once the mast is dressed as a pine tree. Artificially created islands in Dubai are more attractive and have a higher market value when created in the shape of a palm tree.
The reasoning of the marketers is as simple as it is effective: People are familiar with natural phenomena and typically think positively about them. How convenient for products to hitch hike along on with the existing perception.