Interbrand CEO Jez Frampton introduces Breakthrough Brands on Beet.TV. Thanks to Andy Plesser and the Beet.TV team for the footage.
Welcome to the inaugural Interbrand Breakthrough Brands, and the Future Growth report. Its purpose is simple: We’re celebrating a new breed of upstarts and challengers, the next generation of brands who are reshaping the market and embody a critical characteristic—growth.
Growth is a natural, human force that compels us to push, disrupt, challenge, and change—to drive humanity forward. And as inherent as it is to people, it’s critical for brands and businesses. Whether it’s about upping the bottom line, expanding reach, connecting to more people, building stronger cultures, solving a critical problem, or even gaining investment that propels an idea forward, Breakthrough Brands are all about growth.
Breakthroughs reflect the times we are in—the Age of You—when brands and businesses need to move faster than ever before. That’s because they are expected to move at the speed of people’s demands—at the speed of their lives. It’s an age defined by the fact that people want to be in control or, more specifically, to personally design the life they want to live. And people are using brands to do it, because brands are the vehicles through which things happen.
Start up at the speed of life
It goes without saying that agility, flexibility, and adaptability are invaluable characteristics for brands and businesses to grow. Breakthrough Brands are built on that premise—often because the restlessness of their founders led them to a new breakthrough—and they demonstrate it daily. They build it into their very culture: rejecting bureaucracy, discovering and fostering new ideas, and accelerating decision-making so they can race to market. Breakthrough Brands set the pace for the market—and for all other brands—particularly when they reflect the pace of people.
So the most successful emerging companies put people at the center of their business. They know that people hold brands to incredibly high expectations—for better choices, richer experiences, meaningful narratives, one-on-one attention, new form factors, and personal progress and fulfillment. They understand how data and technology change the definition of service and connectivity and the demand from people for greater and more nuanced choices.
Brand begins in incubation
From the moment a brilliant idea is born, a Breakthrough knows its brand and understands that it’s not just a unique business model that helps them succeed—it’s the fact that it’s developed in tandem with the brand. That they are inseparable. Because great brands grow great businesses, which in turn grow great brands.
That doesn’t mean a logo or even the name (although they often have an early idea of both and more): it’s about purpose, the experience it delivers, and how that connects very deeply to people. That’s the definition of brand—and it’s coded into Breakthroughs’ DNA. Founders of emerging companies that build a business and a brand together, from day zero, are the ones that pull ahead of the pack—they are the standouts, the leaders, and the fastest growing, even when their offerings may be comparable to others. They are the ones that people embrace and hold up as the benchmark—and even as the original.
The brand is the experience is the brand
One does not precede or compete with the other. Great experiences are born as Breakthroughs translate their unique model or platform into experiences that catch the attention of the public. The brand, and its core purpose in the world, guides the creation of that experience. In turn, as it resonates with people, the experience builds value and equity back into the brand and business.
Breakthrough leaders understand that brands are not an exercise in vanity. That the brand and business strategy are one and the same. And that the brand is the experience is the brand.
Focus breeds excellence
Breakthrough brands cut to the heart. Whether the ambition is to be better than others, or completely different from others, they are ruthlessly focused on a clear goal, on a core purpose, and are often brilliant at one thing. Even as they expand, or even acquire, what they offer, everything they do reflects that focus. They don’t try to be all things to all people, because they know they can’t do that without sacrificing their authenticity—what made them a breakout hit with people in the first place.
Breakthroughs manage their growth by balancing strategic and on-brand decisions with ambition and a little fearlessness. That doesn’t preclude unusual moves or surprising new ventures—it just means that everything they do is tied to a core idea and purpose.
Working with the co-petition
The rules, in the Age of You, have changed. There’s no one model for success, no one way to make an impact, no limit for experimentation and growth—and no slowing down. That has bred a generation of leaders who want to do it their own way—without compromise—which in turn has yielded an unprecedented number of startup brands. Some will push ahead, some may simply pave the way for others, but as more and more emerge, the competitive landscape continues to change.
That’s led to a new type of collaborative competition—or co-petition—where partnerships and affinity lead the way. Breakthrough Brands are setting a new standard of how to work with others for mutual success.
So help us celebrate brands that are accelerating the rate of innovation and problem solving, and are setting the pace for growth. And congratulations to all the featured 2016 brands.