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Interbrand Launches 2020 Breakthrough Brands US Report: the 30 challenger brands set to disrupt their markets

New York – WEBWIRE
  • Silicon Valley de-throned as center of start-up innovation
  • 3x more likely to have a woman or a person of color as CEO than Fortune 500 companies
  • Sustainability and community powering innovative growth

Interbrand – the world’s leading brand consultancy – launched its 2020 Breakthrough Brands report, unveiling the 30 brands set to revolutionize their markets.

From sleek, high-end digital home gyms (Mirror) and alt-meat plant foods (Impossible Foods) to bio-engineers (Ginkgo) and AI-driven lawyers (Legalist), Interbrand predicts these challenger brands have got what it takes to become household names.

This year’s Breakthrough Brands cohort follows in the footsteps of the likes of Deliveroo, Peloton and Glossier (2016) and Slack, TaskRabbit, and Flipkart (2017) tipped for success in Interbrand’s two previous reports.

Since the first report in 2016, innovation has shifted from the tech start-up epicenter of Silicon Valley and has moved away from massive software and marketplace enterprises that simply connected buyers to sellers via a digital platform.

There is also a significant shift in leadership – within the 30 Breakthrough Brands 27% have a CEO who is a person of color and 30% have a CEO who is a woman, compared with only a 10% CEO representation for either demographics in Fortune 500 companies.

Five themes of innovation emerge from the 2020 Breakthrough Brands:

Powered by community: serving thriving subcultures (StockX for sneakerheads) or nurturing community through built-in interactive options like Mirror – the sleek interactive home gym that looks like a mirror when not in use.

Sustainable consumerism: tackling complex infrastructure solutions for corporations that are too entrenched to reimagine entire components of their business – such as Loop, the reusable shopping platform from TerraCycle.

Values as status symbols: catering for the shift from overt consumption of expensive items to nonvisible, highly expensive goods and services. Brands such as dosist – the stylish cannabis vape and delivery company.

Digital first health: helping people control their mental, emotional, and physical well-being outside the confines of traditional healthcare – as seen with the wearable tech of the Elvie breast pump or Maven, offering a holistic approach to fertility, pregnancy and postpartum care.

Playful brands: Self-expression, creativity and rule-breaking design and marketing are hallmarks of many of the 30 Breakthrough Brands. From alt-meat company Impossible Foods through to millennial beauty brand Milk Makeup.

Daniel Binns, CEO, Interbrand New York, said: “We’re delighted to celebrate the 30 brands awarded Breakthrough status in North America.

“These brands are at a critical point in their journey – the stakes are high but the opportunities even greater. We’re eager to see how these brands adapt to today’s challenges and the emerging trends of tomorrow – turning just surviving into wildly thriving.”

Rachel Konrad, Chief Communications Officer at Impossible Foods, said: “Impossible Foods’ unprecedented mission is to eliminate the need for climate change-inducing animal agriculture by making plant-based foods more delicious, nutritious and convenient.

“Given the magnitude and urgency of the mission, Impossible Foods’ communications team doesn’t merely promote the company’s products or brand; we are catalyzing a mainstream, mass-market consumer movement to accelerate the inevitable switch to a sustainable food system.

“No one has ever done this before—so we reject nearly all aspects of the classical communications and marketing playbook. It’s hard work! And the recognition from no less than Interbrand Breakthrough Brand is a tremendous recognition that this unconventional approach is the right one for us.”

Interbrand Breakthrough Brands report is compiled via qualitative and quantitative research tools including social listening and financial data analysis. Interbrand has selected the 30 companies that best exemplify brand growth from a list of over 200.

Brands were selected against three core criteria – the ability to understand human truths (brands that meet and exceed the needs and desires of customers), creating exceptional brand experiences and delivering superior business results. Additionally, brands have been evaluated on their perceived potential to adapt and emerge from the COVID-19 crisis successfully.

The full report can be downloaded, here:

Interbrand’s Breakthrough Brands 2020

A24: Indie studio darling

Cadre: Digital stock market for alternative assets

Canva: The Adobe disrupter

Chime: Biggest digital bank

Devoted: Individualized health plans

Dosist: Innovative marijuana pen

Elvie: Women’s wellness for 21st Century

Flexport: Logistics disruptor

Ginkgo: Biology programmers

Impossible Foods: Meat-alts for everyone

Legalist: Tech-savvy small business advocate

Loop: Sustainable circular service model

Maven: Holistic care throughout every stage of the family journey

Milk Makeup: Gen Z’s cult makeup brand

Mirror: Sleek solution for at-home fitness

MSCHF: Postmodernist hype art brand

Neon: Risk-takers and tastemakers in film

Oatly: Mainstreaming oat milk

Rivian: True utility all-electric vehicles

Seedlip: First distilled non-alcoholic spirit

Snowflake: Cloud data superhero

StockX: The sneaker stock market

Teachers Pay Teachers: Teacher knowledge exchange

Teladoc: Pioneering telemedicine services

The Action Network: Digital-native sports betting

The Citizenry: Home goods for the responsible global citizens

The Information: Exclusive Silicon Valley content

The RealReal: Seamless, chic thrifting

ThirdLove: Bras and underwear for every body

Turo: User-to-user car rentals


Interbrand’s 2020 Breakthrough Brands list is the result of a rigorous and comprehensive evaluation of today’s emerging brands. The final list represents the 30 brands that best demonstrate the activities Interbrand believes are foundational to brand growth: understanding human truths, creating exceptional brand experiences, and delivering superior business results.

Leveraging both internal and external knowhow, Interbrand’s selection process involved analyzing 200+ brands, all with significant U.S. presence (a requirement for qualification), within this framework. Quantitative inputs to the model pulled from two key data sources: Infegy social media metrics and PitchBook valuation data. With regards to the former, the team mapped specific KPIs to the “brand experience” metric. Centering around emotional analysis, the inputs to this metric included Infegy’s “trust” and “love” data points, as well as total post volume and post volume growth in the past year, gathered for all brands, which were ranked according to their performance on these dimensions. Within the “business results” metric, PitchBook valuation and funding data informed a similar ranking. 25+ cross discipline senior Interbrand New York staff then conducted brand experience audits, determining the brands’ ability to understand human truths. Additionally, each brand was qualitatively assessed to determine the degree to which Interbrand feels it will emerge from the COVID-19 crisis a strong, healthy, breakthrough brand. These human truth, brand experience, and business results inputs were synthesized and weighted equally within a framework that informed the final list, showcased via a “heat map” of three concentric circles on the top of their respective pages (the redder the tenet, the stronger a brand adheres to this tenet). Senior Interbrand staff then combed through all data points and identified the 30 top performing brands within the framework.

The final list thus represents the output of a process marrying quantitative performance measurement with expert qualitative evaluation. Collectively, the 30 Breakthrough Brands express Interbrand’s point of view on today’s most promising brands—companies that we hope to one day see amongst our Best Global Brands.

About Interbrand

Interbrand has been the world’s leading brand consultancy, for over 40 years – having pioneered iconic work and forged many of the brand building tools that are now commonplace.

We know that in an age of unprecedented abundance of choice and speed of innovation, customers’ expectations are moving faster than businesses. While incremental change is still essential, it’s no longer sufficient. It takes bold moves to leap ahead of customers and competitors. We call them Iconic Moves.

In collaboration with many of the world’s leading brands, our global team of thinkers and makers are pioneering the future of brand building. By turning customers into active participants, we help our clients strengthen their brands on an ongoing basis – our approach gives them the confidence to make Iconic Moves that spark desire and create utility, driving extraordinary results.

Interbrand is part of The Brand Consulting Group of Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE:OMC). For more information, please visit

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