Brands Thrive In The Pandemic’s Aftershock

In 2020, companies braced for upheaval, navigating a century-defining pandemic through a fog of uncertainty. What followed in 2021 was a series of aftershocks: a tumultuous year of vaccines and variants, hope, and despair that shredded any semblance of normalcy. 

In an incredibly challenging year, these brands exemplified the kind of brand performance that delights the customer as well as the CFO:


The brand’s remarkable success derives from many factors — breakthrough innovation, charismatic (albeit polarizing) leadership, and totemic appeal. But most of all, it empowers consumers to do things they couldn’t do before — buy into a sustainable tech revolution.


A brand with pricing power in a commoditized category, YETI’s secret sauce is the authenticity of the people and the products. The story of YETI is rooted deep in the hunting-fishing community and is told by guides and fishermen serving as brand ambassadors. 


At a time when we can’t stop talking about digital experiences, Target put the store at the center of those omnichannel experiences. And it delivered breathtaking results, well over its rival Walmart (which had a pretty strong year, mind you). 

Direct-To-Consumer Fintech Brands

In a category that is marked by a differentiation deficit, these precocious insurgents are teaching the old guard a thing or two. The brand experiences that companies like Chime, Lemonade, and Root have forged are reshaping the nature of financial services. 

Common Themes

Each of these companies invested in their brand with confidence and used the investment to focus on the end-to-end experience. They adapted their brand strategies to address their unique circumstances some pursued aggressive acquisition, while others nurtured existing relationships. Most of all, these brands deepened their relationships with customers by amplifying their roles in people’s lives.

To learn more about these brands, read our new report: Brand Spotlight: The Pandemic Persists, And So Do Successful Brands.

Finally, a great debt of gratitude is owed to our panel of experts from Accenture Interactive, BAV Group, Huge, Lippincott, Material, VMLY&R, and WPP for their insights and contribution to this year’s brand spotlight.