Happy Birthday ‘Murica: Our 5 favourite American companies
Wet Hot American Summer: It was a big weekend for the states. Fourth of July celebrations were extended when the U.S. Women’s soccer team won their third World Cup title becoming the first women’s team ever to win three. Woot woot. We wanted to do our own celebration of the good ole’ US of A by highlighting five companies we’re admiring lately.
How we picked our winners: We develop crushes on companies for other reasons than size or market cap. We love companies that don’t let their size (big or small) stop them from innovating, companies that harness new technologies, and companies that use what’s out there to really sell themselves to investors. Here are our 5 favourite American companies, public and private, in no particular order.
1. Under Armour: the one putting socks on the game changers
Branding, branding, branding. Under Armour has developed some of the most viral ad campaigns of the past year, especially their ‘I Will What I Want’ campaign which featured ballerina Misty Copeland and model Gisele Bündchen kicking ass and silencing their haters. The Washington Post wrote that Under Armour “is unusually brand-obsessed, and…c[a]me from nowhere to establish itself as a household name alongside industry titans like Nike and Reebok”. The company makes sure that the athletes representing them also represent the forward-thinking, innovative aspect they want to capture. Under Armour’s CFO Brad Dickerson said to the Baltimore Sun, “This isn’t about putting a product on a speedskater and sales go through the roof…it’s more about the long-term perception of the brand being innovative.” They’re doing pretty darn well with that lately. Their latest two athletes are the most marketable ones in the world right now: Jordan Spieth and Steph Curry (with the shot). Casual.
2. IBM: the one who wants to harness the world’s data
If you’ve been hearing the phrase ‘big data’ around lately, you’re not the only one. The idea of big data, while complex, is what a lot of companies want to be moving towards in the next few years. IBM is determined to be the one spearheading this change. They’ve already released a string of ads like this one and this one explaining a little bit about how compiling data can help change the world and how they’re determined to help. The tagline for their big data campaign is, “What do we know today that we didn’t know yesterday?” IBM wants you to Meet Watson, their cognitive data interpreter system, and the #IBMThink campaign distills the complex idea of big data into concepts people can easily understand and will readily participate in. The massive campaign IBM has built is already positioning them as the thought leaders when it comes to compiling the world’s data and putting it to use. That’s a good place to be.
3. T-Mobile: the one using new technology to stick it to the norm
If you didn’t realize T-Mobile would grace our list, then this must be your first time on the Blender blog. Welcome! (Half kidding). We’ve dedicated a full blog post to the brilliance of T-Mobile’s investor homepage and how we wish every public company would try what they’re doing when it comes to IR. Instead of shying away from elements like live Twitter Q&A’s, behind-the-scenes webcasts, and a branded investor factbook, T-Mobile showed us that adding some new colours to an age old industry isn’t such a bad thing. They’re starting with hot pink. And we’re into it.
4. IEX Group Inc.: the one who wants to shake up the stock market
There’s sort of a theme going on here, isn’t there? We like the people who aim to shake things up in their industry. The IEX Group is a perfect example. If you’re not familiar, IEX is an alternative platform for buying and selling stocks founded by Brad Katsuyama. The Globe and Mail writes, “IEX was built to thwart the advantages that high-speed traders enjoy elsewhere and to offer a more transparent place to trade”. The company’s main website announces their determination to “institutionaliz[e] fairness in the markets”. IEX is proudly owned by a collection of mutual funds, hedge funds, and family offices. Why else do we think they’re fly? We love the ‘Don’t like it? Change it’ mentality the company was born out of. Katsuyama said in an interview “our intention from day one was to challenge the status quo by building a market that prioritizes the needs of traditional investors”.
5. Airbnb Inc.: the one who got you to trust them
Any startup company whose business model consists of asking customers to allow strangers into their homes has to have a pretty solid plan. We’ve been admiring Airbnb for awhile now (shoutout to their awesome site redesign of last year). They’ve transformed a small rented-lodging website into an empire that connects the world’s travellers and hosts. What else are they good at? Adapting. They’ve gotten into some hot bathwater recently, with many cities imposing tighter restrictions in order to prevent the company’s rapid growth in more urban areas (think: affordable rent getting all screwed up as landlords would rather Airbnb to vacationers than take on full-time tenants). The company’s solution? Expand more and become a professional vacation-rental business. They’re going slowly at first, but hope that this shift will make things cozier at home when it comes to local-government relations.
Loved what you read? So why stop now? See how our 5 favourite Canadian companies compare.