Gaming is no longer a stereotyped, niche activity: Interbrand Report 2021

interbrand breakthrough brand report 2021

Interbrand Breakthrough Brands Report for 2021 outlines the 30 brands that are challenging their respective categories and breaking through in the US market along with the key trends that are shaping the future & more.

Interbrand has launched its latest 2021 Breakthrough Brands report, searching for the next generation of icons, and unveiling this year’s 30 brands set to revolutionize the US market.

From mobile banking developed specifically for Black and Latinx customers (Greenwood Bank) and mental health treatments (ATAI Life Sciences) to secure messaging services (Signal) and plant-derived coatings for produce (Apeel), Interbrand predicts these challenger brands have got what it takes to become household names.

This year’s Breakthrough Brands cohorts follow in the footsteps of A24, Oatly!, Snowflake (2020), Instacart, Slack (2017), Square, and Glossier (2016) tipped for success in Interbrand’s previous reports.

The brands also reflect the broader context of a tumultuous year, with businesses required to experiment and be resilient in response to a global pandemic, social justice movements, and a highly contentious election cycle. These growth-stage companies have a new set of challenges to contend with as we enter a ‘new reality’ post-pandemic.

Five themes of Innovation from 2021 Breakthrough Brands

  • Power in Representation: The impact and momentum of Black Lives Matter has had ripple effects on the corporate world and given the momentum behind companies who focus on increasing representation and diversity in different categories. Brands like Greenwood Bank, Omsom, SpringHill Company, and Bread Beauty Supply are changing the conversations around how these communities are spoken to, represented, and empower
  • Flipping the Focus on Preventative Health: Even in spite of COVID, new brands and technologies are democratizing healthcare – making monitoring and diagnostics available to those on lower incomes, with less comprehensive insurance and the time-poor., Butterfly Network, and Owlet are key to fixing this critical aspect of the healthcare lifecycle, helping lift the pressure and impact on the entire healthcare system.
  • Tackling Taboos: A long time in the making (Thinx is a 2016 Breakthrough Brands alumni), we are seeing an explosion of brands in the personal care space bring empowerment and acceptance of our very human issues. With the likes of Starface, Megababe, and Frida Mom, taboos have never been more mainstream.
  • Easing Parenthood Anxieties: Thanks to Covid, the lack of intergenerational networks providing support and wisdom means millennial parents feel like they are alone in this new phase. Young start-ups including Frida Mom, Owlet, and Lovevery are taking on this role, helping navigate this vulnerable transition into parenthood and providing reassurance throughout childhood.
  • Gaming Everything: Gaming is no longer a stereotyped, niche activity – it is bleeding into different industries and impacting the design aesthetic of brands. We are seeing playful characters, 3D illustrations, and immersive brand worlds, from Discord and Dapper Lab’s ‘gamification of communication and blockchain respectively to Zwift’s game-like landscapes and Revolut’s graphics and brand identity.

Also read: 98% of CIOs in India report expanded responsibilities during COVID-19: Adobe Survey

Daniel Binns, CEO, Interbrand New York, said, “We are thrilled to be unveiling Interbrand’s 2021 Breakthrough Brands. Following a tumultuous year for business across most sectors, this year’s brands really are something special. In increasingly difficult circumstances, these brands have launched, pivoted, survived, and even thrived. They are more than ready to follow in the footsteps of the Breakthrough Brands alumni.”

Naeiri Zargarian, Associate Strategy Director at Interbrand New York, said, “This new class of Breakthrough Brands give an indication of the themes that will shape a post-pandemic world. The past year surfaced cultural tensions that will continue to be opportunities for brands and institutions; the realities of modern parenthood, inclusivity, and representation across categories and a willingness to tackle historically taboo topics.”

You can access the complete report here:



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