Report Names Australia’s Best New Challenger Brands

Report Names Australia’s Best New Challenger Brands

Interbrand AUNZ has launched the region’s third Breakthrough Brands report, featuring the most interesting and innovative challenger brands across Australia and New Zealand.

The list of seven Breakthrough Brands – those deemed the region’s strongest, most successful challengers, making an impact in their categories and beyond – includes the world’s best beach shelter CoolCabanas, cabins company Unyoked, luggage brand July, and carbon neutral, Web3 gaming company Immutable.

B Corp Sendle helps small businesses send parcels whilst being 100% carbon neutral, Mable is a disability and aged care platform shaking up the sector, and NZ-based UBCO is the world’s most accessible electric bike.

They join esteemed company; past Breakthrough Brands include Canva, Modibodi, Heaps Normal, Bluey, and Go-To Skincare.

2023 Breakthrough Brands (in alphabetical order)

  • CoolCabanas
  • Immutable
  • July
  • Mable
  • Sendle
  • UBCO
  • Unyoked

2023 Ones to Watch (in alphabetical order)

  • AirRobe
  • Beem
  • Fellten
  • HNRY
  • Mr Yum
  • Ovira
  • Sprout Organic

The list of seven is shorter than the two previous reports. That is not a reflection of AUNZ’s entrepreneurial spirit or knack for punching above its weight – in the 2022 Global Innovation Index, New Zealand and Australia ranked 24th and 25th, respectively, among the 132 economies assessed.

Rather, Interbrand poses the tighter list of Breakthroughs is reflective of current economic headwinds and COVID, which have driven down company valuations (by 29% on average in 2022) and dampened an appetite for risk.

Interbrand AUNZ CEO Nathan Birch said: “It’s been a tough year for brands to truly break through. But we know that extraordinary times reward bravery, not neutrality, and each brand on the list is a shining example of how to build a brand that doesn’t just sell things, but a brand that also shows leadership.

“The lesson here for other brands is to double down on brand leadership, especially through a recession. When incumbents choose to hunker down, there’s no better time for challengers to stand out through what they stand for. I know the start-ups of our region are up for the challenge.”

CoolCabanas CEO Mark Fraser said: “Recognition as a breakthrough brand is a huge motivator for CoolCabanas as we travel along our path of innovations and expansion. In times of uncertainty, it’s fantastic to see so many families taking time out relaxing under a CoolCabana.”

July Co-Founder and CEO Richard Li said: “It’s such an honour to be named a Breakthrough Brand. In the past year, we’ve grown the team, opened new stores and repeatedly smashed sales targets; the resurgence of travel has truly driven our growth to unprecedented levels. It still seems surreal at times considering that we only launched in 2019 and have now been the luggage partner for the Olympic Games and have seen our cases on the arms of celebrities like Chrissy Teigen and Harry Styles.

“All throughout COVID, even when our revenue was down 95%, we were still focused on innovation and product development, because ultimately having a good product is the core of our business. Our mission is to become an iconic Aussie brand and export, and we’re well on our way to achieving that goal.”

UBCO Chief Revenue Officer (Brand, Marketing, and Sales) Phil Harrison said: “Being a Breakthrough Brand this year, of all years, means a lot to us. Despite economic challenges, we’ve kept focused on the fact that the world’s hunger for adventure continues to grow – and our farming-origin bikes perfectly serve this need.”

Interbrand also pinned a further seven brands as Ones to Watch: Mr Yum helps hospitality businesses grow; Beem makes receiving, transferring, and splitting money easy; Ovira has an innovative pain relief product for people who menstruate; Sprout Organic is changing the game with plant-based baby formula; AirRobe and Fellten are protecting the planet by giving clothes and cars, respectively, the circular treatment; and Hnry alleviates accounting stress for sole traders.

Birch added: “I’ll be keeping a particularly close eye on our Ones to Watch over the next 12 months. They have an opportunity to continue to make their mark both locally and internationally, and get closer to solving the gaps in the market they’ve identified. 

“Across both the Breakthrough Brands and Ones to Watch list, each brand empowers us to thrive in some way, helping us live well on individual, community, and global levels. Each show what it takes to build a brand through a pandemic, and in the face of a recession.”

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