• Transform magazine
  • July 17, 2019


The most disruptive consumer brands blend community building and experience, report shows


Ranging across several consumer industries and categories, a new report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) shows the most disruptive 250 US brands and uncovers the bonds tying them together.

The most disruptive US direct brands are web-native, content-focused and unparalleled storytellers. A new report from the New York-based Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has uncovered the 250 direct-to-consumer brands driving positive change in the US consumer economy, with a list including businesses across a number of different sectors.

The list blends familiar brands with newer fast-growing upstarts, all ranging from apparel to personal care, from food to baby and care parenting. What these brands seem to have in common is an interest in storytelling, positive customer experiences and community building, along with a focus on individual consumer relationships and the use of content as a differentiator. 

According to the IAB, brands like Billie – in the personal care category – lead the way through storytelling and relentless attention to customer experience. Choosing not to be confined to the web, these brands aim at creating buzz-worthy experiences in the physical dimension as well and are increasingly community-driven. Their impact on social media has been examined too, showing growing interest in social attention.

Furthermore, the list shows notable amounts of diversity among the 250 featured businesses. Although New York and California still appear as the hubs of digital disruption, nearly 100 of the brands come from a broad range of other locations. Nearly a quarter of the list is led by women, and nearly one-third showcases a business model based on subscriptions.

“This report illustrates the impressive diversity of the direct brand economy,” says Sue Hogan, senior vice president at IAB’s research and measurement. “The influence of direct brands in the market is clearly evident. They are marketing in breakthrough ways and driving traditional brands to rapid innovation. [They] are a roadmap forward.”