Airwallex, Linktree and Heaps Normal among Breakthrough Brands for 2021

Heaps Normal

Heaps Normal co-founders Andy Miller, Ben Holdstock and Peter Brennan. Source: supplied.

Global brand consultant Interbrand has released the second edition of its Breakthrough Brands list, chronicling Australia and New Zealand’s booming brands of 2021.

In alphabetical order, the breakthrough brands are: Airtasker; Airwallex; Bluey; GO1; Go-To; Heaps Normal; Linktree; Lyre’s; The Oodie; and Sharesies.

The big theme for the year is wellness — between non-alcoholic spirits, informed sexual health, and cruelty free skincare — with the fast risers leveraging a global interest in health.

As Interbrand chief executive Nathan Birch notes, “When else in recent history has wellness weighed so heavily on people’s minds?”

Interbrand senior writer Dan Steiner puts it another way, “The vagueness of wellness has allowed multiple sectors to grab the idea and run with it, giving us new and compelling narratives built around an irrefutable truth: We all want to feel and be well, whatever that might mean to us on an individual level.”

The other two themes were personal empowerment — the consumer expectation that brands should make their lives easier — and substitutes changing the perceptions of what’s ‘normal’.

Alcohol-free beer brand Heaps Normal captures all three themes clearly: switching from alcoholic beer is a substitution that helps empower a person to live an alcohol-free life and improve their health.

Linktree turned an Instagram limitation into a business with 12 million users in under five years, tapping into themes of self-empowerment. Born out of Instagram’s one link rule for bios, Linktree allows users to display all their online content under one ‘link tree’.

Airwallex is another high-flyer for growth, with its founders having to make changes to manage hypergrowth throughout the pandemic.

The Breakthrough Brands are complemented by Ones to Watch, smaller brands which are quickly making a name for themselves.

These included (in alphabetical order) Halter; Karma Cola Co; Method; Minor Figures; Normal; Nura; Sonder; Spalk; Superhero; Up; Vow; and Zero Co.

Airwallex, Sharesies, and Heaps Normal made 2020’s list of ‘Ones to Watch’ before becoming Breakthrough Brands in 2021.

“Whether it’s a beloved blue dog or an award-winning 0% beer, our small corner of the world is capable of creating some amazing brands” says Birch.

So what are the takeaways for SMEs? 

You should be adding the dimension of wellness to your marketing to create a powerful and distinctive story, according to Steiner.

“Wellness also makes sense on an engagement level. It’s tough to court consumers’ attention, let alone stand out, at the best of times,” he says.


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