Interbrand launches inaugural ‘Breakthrough Brands’ report

Monday, 29 August 2016 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


Interbrand, the world’s largest and most influential brand consultancy, set out to discover the world’s leading emerging brands by activating a joint network of influencers at Facebook, NYSE, and Ready Set Rocket – those with an inherent ability to spot brilliant ideas in every region of the world. 

The Interbrand Breakthrough Brands report, entitled ‘Future Growth’, is unique in that it examines emerging companies that are brand-led – organisations that have both a unique business model or idea and a strong brand. The report complements Interbrand’s annual Best Global Brands report, now entering its 17th year, by putting a spotlight on emerging brands – especially those that are affecting change and embodying growth.

After 16 years of publishing Best Global Brands – Interbrand’s prestigious ranking of the 100 most valuable brands globally – the inaugural Breakthrough Brands report creates a platform for a new breed of startups, upstarts, challengers, problem solvers, innovators, and category creators. 

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 reshaping the market and embodying the critical characteristic of growth.

Breakthroughs reflect the times we are in when brands and businesses need to move faster than ever before – at the speed of people’s demands. It’s an age defined by the fact that people want to be in control or, more specifically, to personally design the lives they want to live. 

“While it is certainly true that exciting startups abound, Interbrand and its partners have decided to put a spotlight on those organisations that have strong business models ‘and’ strong brands,” says Interbrand’s Global CEO Jez Frampton. “From their earliest days, these Breakthrough Brands have been focused on managing their brands and delivering integrated experiences to their customers. We believe such efforts leave them well-poised to achieve significant growth in the months and years ahead.”

Start up at the speed of life

It goes without saying that agility, flexibility, and adaptability are invaluable characteristics for brands and businesses looking 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. The most successful emerging companies put people at the centre of their business. They know that people hold brands to incredibly high expectations—they’re looking for better choices, richer experiences, meaningful narratives, one-on-one attention, new form factors, and personal progress and fulfilment. 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 leads to success – 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. A great brand doesn’t mean a logo or even just 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 models or platforms 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 building a brand is not an exercise in vanity; that the brand and business strategy are one and the same. And 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 – the thing that 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 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. In doing so, they are accelerating the rate of innovation and problem solving, and are setting the pace for growth. 

Criteria and Methodology

A set of approximately 200 brands were nominated by a global network of key influencers – individuals chosen by Interbrand, Facebook, NYSE and Ready Set Rocket because of their strong commitment to (and interest in) emerging brands.

When selecting the brands to be featured in this report, these criteria were held paramount:

  • Age: Is the brand 10 years or younger?
  • Change: Is the brand driving change by responding to a unique marketplace need, generating a new experience for consumers, disrupting an industry, adopting a new business model or developing a new technology? 
  • Growth: Is the brand demonstrating its ability to grow? Is it operating as a successful business? Is it stretching into new product or service categories? Is it stretching into new geographies? Is it attracting top talent?
  • Buzz: Is the brand grabbing attention and gaining momentum?

Of the 200 brands nominated, 60 were featured in the Interbrand Breakthrough Brands report. They are not ranked, but rather grouped against 10 insights, three sector-specific categories and two additional categories (Innovation Incubators & Ones to Watch).

2016 Interbrand Breakthrough Brands Website

To learn more about these insights, and the 60 brands highlighted within the inaugural Breakthrough Brands report, please visit A downloadable report is available.