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Fast Company’s Brands That Matter: Don’t miss the application deadline

If your brand turns consumers into fans, we want to hear from you. Here’s how to apply for Brands That Matter—and how to make sure your entry stands out.

Fast Company’s Brands That Matter: Don’t miss the application deadline

Brands are increasingly a significant lens through which we all experience culture. And since Fast Company‘s tagline is “The Future of Business,” we wanted to reflect on and recognize the brands that are making the biggest impact in that regard. So last year, we launched Brands That Matter, an awards program honoring businesses and nonprofits that are making an impact in business and culture in new and innovative ways.

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Now the final deadline for the second annual Brands That Matter program is here—May 6 at 11:59 p.m. PT—so it’s the perfect time to apply. The idea is to go beyond corporate vision statements or management talking points; the brands we’re looking for have achieved relevance through cultural impact and social engagement, and their branding authentically communicates their mission and ideals.

Think your brand fits the bill? Tell us about it!

Different brands exist within and influence culture in different ways, and it’s not just the biggest names in consumer goods that do it. That’s part of the reason we’ve expanded the program, adding 13 new categories this year. By drawing a more specific line for areas like sports, fashion, health and wellness, finance, and education, the goal is to cut down on apples-to-oranges comparisons when looking at so many different brands, and evaluate them in the context of how they matter in the category in which they compete for people’s attention and loyalty.

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To give your entry the best shot, here’s a bit more about how to put together a top-shelf application, and what we’re looking for in entries.

RELEVANCY

Tell us what your customers get from you that they don’t from anyone else in the marketplace. What are you most proud to be known for? We want to know about the connection you have built with your audience, how that relationship has evolved over the last year, and how your audience expresses its support for your brand mission.

CULTURAL IMPACT

We want to know about the positive impact your brand has had on your industry, and the culture at large. Tell us about the work you’ve done that has influenced, impacted, or informed culture. That can range from pop culture, entertainment, and tech to how your company’s brand mission connects to larger societal issues.

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INGENUITY

We want to give credit to projects that exist at every stage of completion. While we do ask that entries be limited to brand actions in the past 12 months, those projects, strategies, or ideas can range from conceptual to just-launched to fully operational, as long as they’re bold, new, and innovative. Just keep in mind, while the context of your brand’s history is important, this isn’t a Lifetime Achievement Award. Keep it to the last year or so.

BUSINESS IMPACT

This is where the style meets substance. We want to see the numbers, data, and performance indicators that demonstrate how your unique approach has affected your business, industry, and product category. The key is to share not just what your brand is doing to sell more product or connect with the culture, but also the metrics that prove how you are increasing revenue, winning hearts and minds, or other data that help illuminate your brand’s success.

The Brands That Matter ranking will reach millions of readers, and our hope is that we can support the growth of positive brand innovation by celebrating the best examples. Winners will be featured in the November 2022 issue of Fast Company, as well as on FastCompany.com. Apply now!

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About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity.

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