WHAT DOES IT TAKE FOR A BRAND to truly break through in today’s crowded market? Just as it has with everything else, digital transformation has upended the traditional rules of marketing. In less than a decade brands like Uber and Airbnb have attained the kind of consumer mindshare that companies used to have to work decades to create. Part of this is the simple fact that most of these newer brands are technology companies; they provide products and services that themselves can be built almost overnight, thanks to the proliferation of smartphones, cloud computing, and fast, free, and universally accessible digital tools. But many of these brands are also resonating on a deeper level with consumers. We wanted to get to the bottom of which companies best exemplified this—those brands that have attained the emotional resonance with consumers typically reserved for big blue-chip companies, but in a fraction of the time. So we surveyed 4,000 consumers and asked them to name the brands that meant the most to them, both overall and across a variety of industries. We then sorted the list by industry, category, and age to come up with our list of 10 “Breakthrough Brands”—companies that, when measured on the basis of how they resonate with consumers, sit side by side with Apple, Coca-Cola, Disney, and other mature brands despite being relative babes. The 10 names here are new and white-hot; they are all tech companies; and they have all “broken through” to claim space among the giants. All but two of them are less than a decade old.
We’ve also shared some other key findings from our survey, like the brands that received the most mentions overall—those that may have broken through decades ago but still register highly in ¬consumers’ minds. On that list, Apple trounced everyone else. But it’s the breakthrough brands of today that we find most compelling. These are the ones that are best ¬positioned to become the Apples of tomorrow.
Surveys conducted by Morning Consult and Time Inc.
创办时间：2010年 | 总部：加利福尼亚州门罗帕克市
founded: 2008 | headquarters: San Francisco
A PAYMENTS APP or a messaging service is one thing. Opening up peoples’ homes to let strangers stay in them? Well, that’s just crazy. That’s what lots of smart people thought back in 2008 when Airbnb’s founders were trying to get their startup off the ground. Some 140 million “guest arrivals” later, it has reimagined travel, building an online platform for home-based accommodations with lush, inviting photography, an easy interface, and appealing prices, all wrapped in the cozy image of “belonging.” This company has its challenges, like discriminatory behavior by its users and pushback from regulators—but breaking through has not been one of them.
founded: 2010 | hq: Menlo Park, Calif.
CANDID PHOTOS OF FRIENDS with a vintage patina, vistas with vivid hues, close-ups of fancy ¬cocktails—Instagram’s 2010 debut made everyone seem like a shutterbug—and everyone could be, thanks to the app that brought professional-grade photo tools to the iPhone-holding masses. But Facebook’s billion-dollar acquisition of the fast-growing photo app in 2012 accelerated everything. Then Instagram had 30 million users; today it has more than 500 million. What started as a faddish distraction developed into a full-blown social network. Once a serious threat to Facebook, Instagram is now a critical pillar (alongside WhatsApp, Oculus VR, and the company’s namesake service) of its $25 billion business. And you can still use it to take a great photo.
founded: 2009 |hq: San Francisco
WORKPLACE CHAT SERVICE Slack was an accidental success. Originally developed as an internal tool, the company—then named Tiny Speck—took a big bet on launching it to the outside world in 2013 after its original product, a videogame named Glitch, wasn’t paying off. Slack wasn’t the first app for chatting with coworkers—HipChat, Yammer, and others came before it—but it had a quirky design and slick user interface, and perhaps most critically, it came at just the right time: taking the tech industry by storm as it spread among the then-exploding number of new Silicon Valley startups. Today the service has more than 4 million daily active users—1.25 million of them paying—and Slack’s colorful plaid logo has become an icon in Silicon Valley.
伊隆·马斯克拥有的不是客户，而是粉丝。自史蒂夫·乔布斯与世长辞之后，没有哪个公司的产品如此紧密地跟他的发布者联系在一起。他的客户不仅赞赏他的野心，更钦佩他的理念；他让一个没有碳排放的世界的想法变得如此时尚。历经数年坎坷之后，特斯拉终于扬眉吐气，其全电动豪华轿车Model S被《汽车族》评为2013年年度汽车——这是该奖项64年来首次颁发给一款不靠内燃发动机驱动的汽车。特斯拉下一个大手笔是尚未面世的Model 3。外界预计该公司直到2017年底才会发货，但已有37.3万名客户支付了1000美元订金。
founded: 2011 | hq: Venice, Calif.
PLENTY OF PARENTS are still thoroughly confused by the mobile ephemeral-messaging app, but that doesn’t matter to Snapchat, which has achieved the holiest of holy grails: capturing the fickle hearts—and precious time—of teenagers and young adults the world over. It now has 150 million daily active users, numbers that have prompted attempts by Facebook and Instagram to copy some of Snapchat’s most popular features. The ambitions of parent company Snap have grown in lockstep with Snapchat’s scale as it moves beyond mobile apps for sending photos and reading bite-size news from media giants like ESPN and People: In the fall, Snap unveiled its first pair of video-recording sunglasses, called Spectacles.
founded: 2006 | hq: Stockholm
SPOTIFY HAD ITS FIRST BREAKTHROUGH MOMENT back in 2011, when a Facebook partnership introduced the Swedish streaming service to the U.S. market and it went from a little-known cult favorite to a popular service. But it’s not until you tangle with Taylor Swift that you really hit the big time. When the pop superstar pulled her music from Spotify’s catalog and penned a critique about its artist compensation practices in 2014, she inadvertently lent her celebrity to the brand. Since then, the company has ballooned from 12.5 million paying listeners to the 40 million it has now, nudging millions of would-be song pirates into the paid-subscriber camp. Apple Music and others are on its heels, but Spotify’s early lead—and Swiftgate—¬solidified its position in a competitive market.
founded: 2009 | hq: San Francisco
JACK DORSEY’S other company, Twitter, gets all the ¬attention—good and bad. But Dorsey also runs Square, the company whose little white dongles changed small business forever. The idea was simple enough: Give away small credit card readers that connect to mobile phones and tablets and charge the same rate for each transaction, regardless of the type of card. Square was the first to make that easy, and along with its user-friendly accounting services, it fast became a tool of economic empowerment for tutors, dog walkers, and shingle hangers of all stripes. Dorsey may or may not remain Square’s leader, but he has already made a lasting imprint on the way we pay for—and sell—goods and services.
founded: 2003 | hq: Palo Alto
ELON MUSK doesn’t have customers. He has followers. Not since Steve Jobs has a company’s product been so closely aligned with the person who brought it to them. In Musk’s case, his customers admire not just his raw ambition but his ideology: He has made it cool to want a carbon-emissions-free world. After several rocky years, Tesla began to hit its stride when the Model S, its all-electric luxury sedan, was named the 2013 Car of the Year by Motor Trend—the first time in the award’s 64-year history that its winner was not powered by an internal-combustion engine. Tesla’s next act, its upcoming Model 3, isn’t expected to ship until the end of 2017, but 373,000 customers have already plunked down $1,000 to reserve one.
创建时间：2008年 | 总部：加利福尼亚州山景城
这家体育巨头因“Just Do it”系列广告永远被世人熟知。该广告开始于1988年，和它的飞钩标识一样，至今仍然是其品牌的核心要素。
founded: 2009 | hq: San Francisco
FEW COMPANIES EVER SEE their name become adopted as a verb, but for Uber it happened almost out of the gate. The ride-sharing startup quickly grew from a fun way to summon a black car with a mobile app to a business currently valued at nearly $70 billion. Though Uber has competitors around the world, its “win at all costs” attitude—including often rattling local lawmakers—helped it establish dominance in many markets, including the U.S. Today it operates in more than 70 countries and isn’t limited to shuttling people around; it also delivers hot meals, is developing autonomous-driving technology, and dreams of a future with flying cars.
founded: 2009 | hq: New York City
FROM JUNE to September last year, nearly $5 billion was sent through popular payments app Venmo for everything from sending in rent to your landlord to paying your friend back for covering for you at dinner the other night. PayPal inherited the popular app—which lets people send money to one another instantly from their phones —¬as part of its $800 million acquisition of Braintree. Venmo first drew a cult following among younger users, who liked its mobile and social elements and distrusted “bigger” brands like PayPal. But it’s now becoming the shining star in PayPal’s portfolio of digital-wallet apps, on track to process $20 billion a year—and to never let anyone mooch from his or her friends again.
founded: 2008 | hq: Mountain View, Calif.
NAVIGATION SYSTEMS existed long before Waze came onto the scene in 2008. (If it isn’t obvious by now, a brand need not be first to be a breakthrough.) But its unique community-driven navigation service helped it stand out by making it fun and social for drivers to ¬contribute road updates, like alerts about construction or accidents. By the time Google—which already had its own popular mapping app—beat out other companies to acquire the Israeli startup for more than $1 billion in 2013, Waze had 50 million users. Now based in Mountain View, it’s growing its influence in the ride-sharing space, via a partnership with Lyft and its own nascent carpooling service in the Bay Area.
AS PART OF OUR METHODOLOGY, we asked respondents to name one company in any category that best exemplified a breakthrough brand. Apple topped the list—and got more than three times the mentions of the runner-up, Walmart. Here are the top 15.
Perhaps no brand has the emotional resonance of Apple, whose branding has been as innovative as its products and who tops our list for most mentions, crushing all others by a mile.
It tops the Fortune 500 with revenues of close to $500 billion, and it registers high among consumers as a superbrand (higher, as the folks in Bentonville will surely be pleased to see, than Amazon).
The parent company may be Alphabet, but it’s the search giant that became a verb way back in the late 1990s that’s king with consumers.
It strikes fear in the heart of any retailer that competes with it, but consumers seem to have only love for the Everything Store.
The South Korean consumer electronics brand has attained notoriety—not the good kind—for its exploding and subsequent recall of its Galaxy Note 7, but the overall brand still ranks high on consumers’ minds.
The 41-year-old once-lumbering tech giant is newly ascendant under Satya Nadella, and its brand still rates high among consumers.
What crisis? The company’s mass recall in 2009 related to unintended acceleration seems to have receded in the rear-view mirror in car-buyers’ minds as the company consistently rates top among global brands.
The 103-year-old company is an iconic American brand and has been a leader in sustainability. Its popular F-150 truck, introduced in 1948, is the best-selling vehicle of all time.
Despite increased competition and a major credit card hack in 2014, Tar-zhay’s quirky personality, user-friendly stores and website and low prices still hold a soft spot (or should we say a bullseye) in American shoppers’ minds.
What brand is more classic and iconic than Coke? Its Coke Is It! And other campaigns over the years are still modeled by aspirational brand-building companies today.
The sports juggernaut may forever be known for its Just Do It campaign, formed in 1988 but still, along with its Swoosh logo, a core component of its brand.
It’s not exactly as sexy as the Swoosh, but Verizon has gained admiration among its cell phone and broadband service customers—and, increasingly as it has transitioned into a major media conglomerate, by the business world.
Hack or no hack, Sony is the dominant entertainment brand among our survey respondents.
It may not be as sexy as some of its competitors, but its workhorses the Accord and Civic loom large in many drivers’ minds (and driveways) and it’s staked out impressive claim of the crossover space.
One of the best-known names in telecommunications, AT&T is also making its mark as a corporate star with its unexpected pending acquisition of Time Warner.
TRADITIONAL BRANDS AREN’T DEAD—far from it. Consider Apple, which got more mentions than any other brand in our survey. Or consider these three brands that made our list—legacy names by any definition that are having a resurgence.
Disney is in the midst of a hot streak that kicked off the moment Princess Elsa appeared on-screen in 2013’s Frozen, its 53rd animated feature.
America’s most famous denim brand has won plaudits both for its sustainability principles and for barring customers from bringing guns into its stores.
The retail giant is one of the industry’s top performers and is beloved by its affluent clientele. Now it’s finally turning its focus toward e-commerce.