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IAB unveils annual '250 Direct Brands to Watch' list

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) – the US trade association for the digital media and marketing industries – has named its 250 direct-to-consumer brands to watch for 2019.

Described as fast-growing companies that are redefining the relationships between brands and customers, the list includes a large proportion of fashion and apparel businesses expected to set the consumer agenda in the months ahead. Companies from beauty, personal care, grocery, drinks, home and hobby sectors are also included.

In what is the second annual "IAB 250 Direct Brands to Watch" report, which was released as part of the IAB Annual Leadership Meeting currently taking place in Phoenix, Arizona, there are renowned companies such as Glossier and Warby Parker, alongside new upstarts such as Brandless and Oars & Alps.

“We are in the midst of a seismic change in business practices, enabled by the growth of digital media and driven by a new generation of digitally native entrepreneurs,” explained Randall Rothenberg, CEO of IAB.

“Collectively, the IAB 250 are models of the best practices and trends that are overturning and revolutionising consumer markets in the US. They are setting the competitive standards by which the world’s largest incumbent brands are beginning to base their strategies and investments.”

Included in this year’s list are businesses seen as disruptors, such as Stitch Fix and Allbirds in the apparel and fashion sector; Seesaw and The Honest Company in baby care and parenting; and Drizly and Winc in beer, wine and alcohol.

Each organisation included in the list has seven common characteristics. According to IAB, they are centred around individual consumer relationships and the data they provide; web-native; socially closer to the consumer; “maniacally focused” on consumer experience; use content as a differentiator; define content more broadly than incumbent brands and partners; and their mission is central to their story.

Rothenberg added: “The 250 brands to watch has evolved from a list of identified logos to a brand tracker indicating momentous change, made possible by the walls broken down by digital media, metrics, and eCommerce."

All companies included in the list were founded no earlier than 2010, and IAB works with Dun & Bradstreet and Rival IQ – using various social, financial and competitive analysis – to identify which companies should be selected.

Read the full report, and see which businesses made the list.

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