Fast or Frivolous? How building consumer brands is evolving, accelerating, and evaporating.

Summary

For hundreds of years, the playbook for building consumer product companies has incrementally improved. There have been marginal advances, but the fundamental premise of selling goods locally never wavered.

Then the internet happened, promising to fundamentally reshape the brand-building playbook. Today, there are more brands vying for the spotlight than ever before.

But will the new playbook (and the brands that use it) be as big, successful and long lasting as those that came before it? This Special Report seeks to answer this question by looking into 13 different case studies of brands that started during the 20th and 21st centuries.

We created three different cohorts of brands for this study: Heritage Brands (Comme De Garçons, Nike, Patagonia, Ralph Lauren, and Victoria’s Secret), Digitally-Native Phase 1 Brands (Bonobos, The Honest Company, Happy Socks, Nasty Gal, and Warby Parker) and Digitally-Native Phase 2 Brands (Allbirds, Casper, and Away).

We analyzed Heritage Brands and Digitally-Native Brands across six different vectors:

  1. How did the brands fund themselves in the early days?

  2. How long did it take for the brands to open their first stores and how many stores did they have after ten years?

  3. How many years did it take the brands to reach $10 million in revenue?

  4. How long did it take the brands to become profitable?

  5. How long did it take the brands to reach $100 million in sales?

  6. How long did it take the brands to run into their first financial crisis?

The best way to understand the new brand building playbook is to look at how it has changed since the old one was written. Only then can one determine the longevity of brands in the new era.  

This article is exclusive to Loose Threads Members, who get access to forward-thinking research, events and our analysts—so they can grow the right way in the rapidly changing consumer economy.