Last year well and truly shifted the goal posts for everyone. Now as we peel the plastic off our ‘new normal’ and get comfy with how brands have repositioned themselves, our team have voted on 25 brands to watch in 2021.

1. Barney Cools

An Aussie-born beachwear brand melding fashion, music and an environmental conscience. Seriously, what’s not to love?

2. MG

An automotive icon synonymous with bringing sportscars to the masses is now doing the same with electric vehicles. MG are set to have the biggest selling EV in NZ in 2021 (as it’s under NZ$50k).

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3. Robinhood

A modern take on the ultimate vigilante archetype, this gamified trading app makes shares accessible (and fun) for a new generation of traders. It’s causing an economic revolution and some controversy along the way (See: Gamestop).

4. Uber Eats

We know it and use it. But can they stay locally relevant post-lockdown? If their Australian Open advertising efforts are anything to go by, the answer has to be yes.

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5. Signal

Privacy is the new black when it comes to tech. This one’s on Elon Musk’s watchlist (which means it’s on everyone’s watchlist).

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6. Around

Around is for all the doers, makers and paradigm shakers. This private, invite-only underground club promises to re-energize the online creative process – and they’re not shy about calling out the competition. Zoom out.

7. Placie

What does ‘Mobility as a Service’ look like? This app takes the challenge head on, seamlessly integrating 8 modes of transport in one place to save time, money and the environment. Plus, it’s one of our clients!

8. Reddit

Reddit makes the list for their crowd-sourced shenanigans (and spending their entire marketing budget on a 5 second Superbowl ad). Because why pay for longer when you’ve got an audience savvy and loyal enough to pause for you?

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9. Transcription

Transcribe Zoom meetings! Holy crap. It transcribes Zoom meetings!

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10. Blinkist

Condensing book insights into 15-minute blocks for time poor/lazy people who want to learn cool stuff in their down-time. So, like, everyone!

11. Humanitech

Harnessing technology to serve humanity. This digital wallet for volunteer credentials (like police checks and working with kids) takes the bureaucracy out of being a good person. Get accredited once, volunteer over and over.

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12. Bluelands

Cleaning products in tablet form. Just pop one into a forever bottle with water — brilliant. So simple. Yet a revolution in terms of shipping, carbon emissions and plastic waste.

13. Rivian

Backed by Amazon and Ford, Rivian produce awesome SUVs that really turn ScoMo’s attitude of ‘EV will kill the 4WD weekend’ on its head. This is the cyber truck that looks like it belongs in a sustainable future—not a post-apocalyptic nightmare.

14. Zero Co

Initiating the Great Australian Plastic Purge, Zero Co delivers incredible home-cleaning and personal-care products direct to your door minus all the single-use plastic. This year, they’ve set themselves an audacious goal to stop ONE MILLION SUP (single-use-plastic) bottles being made and thrown away. The average Aussie home uses 50 bottles per year so the more households who go Zero and refill instead, the faster we’ll get there. C’mon Straya!

15. Konfekt

Konfekt is a sharp, elegant and well-turned-out new magazine from the creators of Monocle. It celebrates a chic, understated glamour, seeks out lesser-known stories and opens closed doors. Our accountant (and published cookbook author) Susan recommends it!

16. Who Gives A Crap?

Despite the toilet roll shortages, Who Gives A Crap? managed to donate more to charity than some of Australia’s best-known brands, including Atlassian ($5.8 million), Coca-Cola Amatil ($5.2 million) and Sydney Airport and Qantas ($4.4 million each). Good shit.

17. Citroën

Our CEO, Tom, loves automobiles. He agrees Rivian are striking, though not sure he could live with that styling at the moment. Hopefully that will change. In the meantime he’s got his eye on another electric—Citroën’s take on a modern Deux chevaux.

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18. We Are Feel Good Inc

The idea for this free-from-nasties sunscreen started where all the best ideas do – around a campfire, among friends. Fast-forward a few years and those six West Australian adventurers have a brand that’s swiftly going global.

19. Ethique

This brand concentrates on beauty bars for your hair, face and body – minus the added water (and carbon costs that accompany it!) Because we’ve got taps and know how to use them.

20. Jaunt Motors

This brand has won the heart of our AlphaLab Director, Dan. Jaunt rebuilds old Land Rovers with electric motors (for weekend adventures). They’re based in Williamstown, Melbourne. Take a look. I bet you’ll want one too.

21. Mountain Ridge Wines

Mountain Ridge is a family run farm, vineyard, restaurant, café and home on the rise up to Cullungutti Mountain (about 5 minutes away from our Sydney Account Director). The winery is run by a guy who has a sustainability consultancy business and they’ve previously partnered with Jaunt (Number 20 on our list). We love it when breakout brands come together.

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22. Thankyou

The Thankyou brand is pretty darn cool. In particular, we like their philosophy: To change the world, we must change the system. And that their mission: To eradicate poverty, is so unashamedly ambitious. Thank you, Thankyou.

23. Impossible Foods

Shaking up the plant-based market, Impossible Foods discovered what makes meat taste like meat – and figured out how to do that with plants. They launched their too-good-to-be-true vegan burgers in mid-air, as a first class offering on Air New Zealand flights. Word on the street is, they’re about to touchdown in the AU soon too. Oh, snap!

24. Fellr

While it’s one of many hard seltzer brands to hit the market, this one has a good look and sassy voice to match.

25. Fortnite

2020’s go-to platform for not just gaming, but lock-down socialising. Travis Scott concert venue and pop culture cross-overs of all sorts. Will 2021 see Fortnite continue to transcend gaming and be the virtual destination of choice?

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