Brands Report: Afterpay, Atlasssian & Koala Top Aussie Challenger Brands

Brands Report: Afterpay, Atlasssian & Koala Top Aussie Challenger Brands

Brand agency Interbrand has launched its inaugural Australian and New Zealand Breakthrough Brands report, revealing the 15 local brands set to impact their markets. The report examines rising companies that have a brand-led approach to growth and many that are seeing success on a global stage.

From democratised design platforms (Canva) to purpose-led toilet paper (Who Gives a Crap), workflow game-changers (Atlassian) to footwear with a lighter footprint (Allbirds), these domestic challengers are affecting change, embodying growth, and poised to become globally influential brands. Along with the 15 Breakthrough Brands, Interbrand identified a further 11 brands on a Ones to Watch list: Australian and New Zealand brands on the verge of breaking through. Spanning categories as medical technology, alternative meat substitutes, and even space exploration, these are the local brands fast innovating their way into the mainstream.

Six key themes of innovation emerge from the Interbrand AU+NZ Breakthrough Brands 2020 Report:

Built from a cult following
Breakthroughs aren’t always mass-market designed, but expand their relevance to an ever-growing audience, through quality and perceived limited appeal.

Commodity as a status symbol
Are toilet paper and mattresses the new luxury? Breakthroughs can shift perceptions, transforming such products into things we no longer hide from the world, but proudly share.

The Rise of the B-Corp
The more that we, as consumers, demand more responsibility from our brands, the more that the B-Corp becomes a viable business model––and Breakthroughs have largely led the charge.

The old formula for many essentials was simple: sell more stuff. Breakthroughs regularly challenge that notion. What if we make less? What if we drive up quality and increase its lifespan?

Open-source generosity
The more organisations share and succeed, the more they learn for themselves. Breakthroughs understand and embrace such an approach.

Remodelling the category
Breakthroughs don’t think in category terms. They start by identifying a human problem to solve and ignore any perceived restrictions that may get in the way.

Interbrand AU+NZ’s 2020 Breakthrough Brands

Afterpay: Pay it in four

Allbirds: Maximum comfort, minimum carbon

Atlassian: Open work for all

Canva: The people’s design platform

DoseMeRx: Personalising medicine

F45: Efficient fitness

Koala: Personality-driven DTC furniture

Modibodi: Undies that undo taboos

MONA: The larrikin Louvre

Movember: Changing the face of men’s health

P.E. Nation: Stylish athleisure wear

Sweat: Female-first fitness

Thankyou: Products eradicating poverty

Who Gives a Crap: Toilet paper that builds toilets

Xero: A beautiful accounting ecosystem

Ones to Watch






Rocket Lab


Heaps Normal



Interbrand Australia CSO Paola Norambuena: “Aside from celebrating these successful Australian and New Zealand brands, and what they mean for our region, there’s also so much that brands of all sizes can learn from these breakthroughs” said Paola Norambuena, Chief Strategy Officer of Interbrand Australia, “The characteristics these brands exhibit may be what all brands need to consider in order to thrive in this new decade.”

Interbrand Australia CEO Nathan Birch adds: “This year, our inaugural 2020 AU+NZ Breakthrough Report highlights the brands that we believe will disrupt the AUS/NZ market, if not the rest of the world. The brands that will impact future generations of Australians and New Zealanders and have the potential to appeal to a broader global customer base. Encouragingly, we’ve also unearthed some gems and reacquainted ourselves with some brands doing very well on the global stage already, that we don’t hear about or celebrate enough as much as we should. These are the brands that are defining growth in particular sectors and are making it happen.”


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