Best in Class 2020: Brands for the People, Culture-Driven Products

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Isaac Lee

This year has shaken the foundations of life for many people around the world. In a time where it’s hard to know what to believe in or who to trust in, it was key for brands and stars to earn trust or prove once again why they are worth following and supporting.

The Coolest Kids of 2020

Ben & Jerry's was in the midst of their highly-anticipated collaboration with #client Nike for their Chunky Dunky shoe, when George Floyd's death made headlines. In light of this horrific news and other stories of police brutality and racial inequality, many brands halted their normal posting and remained silent. Ben & Jerry’s leaned into that moment and made their stance clear by posting educational infographics and posting bold text statements such as “We must dismantle white supremacy”. Although this was not their first time making a political statement, it felt significant seeing a major brand with a huge release still highlight and speak to relevant issues and continue to do so by collaborating with Run the Jewels and Colin Kaepernick in future campaigns.

The “Travis Effect”

In the era of artist/influencer marketing, Travis Scott arguably had the biggest year, even having the phrase “Travis Effect” adopted by formal news outlets and street culture blogs alike. Travis made history having the first full artist experience in Fortnite with his Astronomical event and a limited Nike collaboration with Sony for the release of the Playstation 5. On top of that, every Nike Dunk Travis wore on social media saw a minimum 30% increase in value on resell websites such as StockX and GOAT.

The Luxury Street Wave

The wave of streetwear and luxury fashion remain strong and has fully manifested this year with major collaborations and releases happening despite the pandemic slowing down many other industries. Nike made monumental strides by creating the most coveted sneaker release in years with the Dior Jordan 1 collaboration as well as creating a special Louis Vuitton x NBA capsule. Other major brands such as The North Face, Onisuka Tiger, and Vans had special collaborations with luxury brands such as Gucci and Valentino making the fusion of high fashion and street fashion the new norm.

Tiny Desk, Big Heart

A lot of brands have learned to pivot and re-strategize to meet the needs of a troubled nation, but what’s comforting to see is a brand continuing to demonstrate integrity as they have been doing prior to the multiple crises of 2020. NPR has doubled down in providing content that entertains, educates, and empowers by supplying a consistent flow of content from artists across the world ranging anywhere from the positive, self-love promoting BTS to the stylish, passionate Flatbush Zombies and the Louder Than a Riot podcast series that intentionally empower black culture and speak on several important political and musical topics.