The Consumer Intelligence Blog - Infegy

Social conversations reflect how past Breakthrough Brands continue to shape their space

On June 21, Interbrand published their Breakthrough Brands 2022 – a report celebrating top companies that challenge categorical and cultural norms, innovate to meet new challenges, and demonstrate a deep understanding of human truths. Interbrand, a leading brand consultation company, uses social listening insights from Infegy Atlas while compiling their list of honorees, and to conduct retrospectives of the brands that have earned the Breakthrough Brand title since their inaugural report in 2016.

We activated Infegy Atlas to lean into conversations surrounding some past winners, and found six brands that stood out. Although they operate in different sectors, each of these brands are united by their paradigm-shifting success at orienting tech and business imperatives in such a way as to cultivate wellness, collaboration, and community. And while financial growth is a given for a Breakthrough Brand, here we share some social listening revelations that demonstrate how these six continue to create exceptional brand experiences.

In the health & wellness space…

2016 alum, Headspace’s mission to democratize mental health and well-being took them from a $40 million brand (2016) to $216 million. Regardless of financial success, online conversations around brands generally diminish with time, however, the volume of conversation around Headspace has gone up a massive 54%.Their guided meditation stream, an excellent partnership with Netflix during the early days of the pandemic, contributed in part to the increase in volume. Social listening analysis revealed that 81% of the social conversations around Headspace remain positive, with 21% of the total volume demonstrating the Joy, and large portions of the remaining conversation pointing to consumer Trust and Love for the brand.

Also shaping the wellness space and culture is Maven Clinic. Making our list in 2020, we saw them ascend to statistical rarity of unicorn status in August 2021, with a valuation of $1 billion. However, it’s the massive 275% increase in Trust, as shared in online conversations from January 2020 to date that really caught our eye. This impressive statistic speaks to Maven Clinic’s continued cultural vitality and reliability as a brand.

In business and entrepreneurial spaces…

Late last year, Square became “Block” through a series of mergers, and went public. The online conversation around this 2017 Breakthrough Brand doesn’t reflect the rebrand quite yet, but it does reveal a massive 119% increase in Love since its inclusion year. In fact, relatively high percentages of posts convey consumer Joy and Trust (30% and 29% respectively), which are indicators of strong brand health. Even today, small and medium business owners name the brand in posts simply to assure customers of safe and convenient online transactions – indicating that Square, now Block, continues to be an icon for trust and reliance in entrepreneurial spaces.

Similarly, trends for conversations around 2021 winner Miro show that it continues to prompt positive and joy-filled conversations. Most of these tout its integration with Zoom, and its superiority as tech that flourishes collaboration, remote hybrid work, and online workshops. Miro also made tremendous financial strides, going from $76.3 million last year to $476 million this year, and is currently valued at $17.5 billion.

In the food and beverage space…

Another 2021 finalist, Athletic Brewing reaffirms its rightful place as a Breakthrough Brand by proving that you don't have to be an iconoclast to be revolutionary. Clearly, the quality of the product has a large part to play in the success of this brand (we saw a $24.2 million increase in funding this year alone), but their relational capacity is what we’ve come to admire. Rather than burn bridges with the alcoholic beverage industry, they’ve forged their unique brand identity from within the community of brewers, distillers and alcohol retail – a stance that has tethered them to a large social conversation, and high-profile strategic partnerships.

For example, Dry January 2021 prompted a significant uptrend in social conversation (#dryjanuary) for the brand as traditional suppliers and brewers promoted Athletic Brewing’s non-alcoholic craft brews as viable alternatives for the month. Their collaboration brew with Boulevard Brewing Company also earned some buzz online. Fueled in part by these brand-defying partnerships and community engagements, 30% of the online conversation volume indicates Trust in the brand, while 26% speak about it with Joy.

In the arts and entertainment space…

Finally, we found that since independent film company A24 made our 2020 list, it has remained a brand that inspires everything but ambivalence. They went from seed funding in 2020 to a $2.5 billion valuation in 2022. The online conversation during the same timeframe also shows 49% increase in Surprise, and a passion score of 99 out of 100, indicating an extreme intensity of feeling, opinion and sentiment around the brand. While the responses to A24’s various films and documentaries might vary, 78% of the total volume of conversation remains positive. Furthermore, A24 forged co-distribution partnerships with Apple TV, Showtime, and Amazon and in doing so, grew in relevance in the social scene: conversational trends show huge spikes of anticipation (November 2020), and Love (August 2021). With each of these surges in conversation corresponding to releases of in-platform distributions, A24 illustrates how “independent” doesn’t have to mean solo.

Though a small subset of the past Breakthrough Brands, these six are exemplary models of Interbrand thinking, and we see their iconic status reflected in the quality of the social conversation surrounding them. Click here to learn more about how you can use Infegy Atlas to analyze linguistics, sentiment and emotions in online conversations.

You can access the full Breakthrough Brands 2022 report here.