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Fastest Growing Brands: Who Will Make the Best Partnership Prospects?

A few weeks before the new year, research firm Morning Consult released its Fastest Growing Brands report for 2022.

The in-depth look at which brands have increased purchase consideration the most is always fertile ground for finding sponsorship and partnership prospects. But this year’s report offers a reminder that there are two schools of thought when it comes to what makes a brand likely to say yes to a sports and entertainment proposal.

Fast-growing brands are often fueled by marketing budgets that can accommodate new efforts, making them natural candidates for sponsorship pitches. But plenty of rights holders also have found success targeting products and services that don’t appear on lists of the hottest, biggest spending, or fastest growing brands, calculating that they are the ones most in need of the boost a partnership can provide.

Consider a key takeaway from Morning Consult’s report, which defines “fastest growing” by the increase “in the share of consumers who said they would consider purchasing from a brand over the course of the year.” Consumers exhibited “record-low purchasing consideration” in 2022, meaning that, on average, purchase consideration atypically declined between the company’s January and October survey periods.

Given sponsorship’s proven ability to increase purchase consideration among targeted fans and followers, sponsorship salespeople might want to inquire about the names at the bottom of the list of the nearly 2,000 brands Morning Consult studied.

As for those that were able to pique interest among consumers despite inflationary pressures, some of the brands highlighted in the report appear primed to take advantage of the benefits offered by partnerships, including two very different products:

Crocs. More than just a trendy brand, the line of shoes is generating greater cross-generational appeal than any other except Meta, the brand that beat Crocs for the top spot on the fastest-growing list.

Long popular with Gen Z, Crocs increased its purchase consideration among Millennials by three points to 31.7 percent; among Gen X by six points to 27.8 percent; and among Baby Boomers by 4.6 points to 18.4 percent.

This widespread appeal, combined with the brand’s affinity for partnerships with celebrities (and other brands), makes Crocs a natural target for sports and entertainment sponsorship.

Zelle. The peer-to-peer payment network was the sixth fastest growing brand last year, as its category continued to accelerate beyond its hot start during the height of the pandemic.

But beyond being a major player in a key sector, Zelle is ripe for sponsorship picking given that its popularity is concentrated in the older half of Morning Consult’s survey.

Overall, Zelle’s brand consideration grew 2.7 points to 25.4 percent last year, including growth of 6.3 points among Gen X and 4.3 points among Baby Boomers. It does not appear on the lists of Gen Z and Millennials—the most common users of P2P payment networks and which favor competitors Venmo and Cash App, according to the report’s authors.

As many brands before it, Zelle could change the perception of its brand as one for the older crowd via association with properties that appeal to younger consumers and having the hip and cool attributes of those events, artists, teams and personalities rub off on it.

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