It's a fact of our modern economy that some industries grow better, grow faster, and do better. It all depends on current events, government goings-on, and cultural trends.

But what about companies that defy expectations, disrupt industries, and forge an indelible presence? These are the companies who are growing at a breakneck speed. Here are the three types of companies that are pulling it off.

Companies that do content marketing better.

Content marketing is all the rage, because it works.

How does it work?

Create value (in content form) for the right people to see. As they engage with this content, it brings them closer to a conversion.

For some companies, the content is the product, as in the case of Buzzfeed. Who would have thought that this website with its list-driven articles and proliferation of gifs would become a go-to news source for twenty-somethings?

But it's not just twenty-somethings anymore. It's, well, everyone. BuzzFeed is the number one most popular viral site, according to eBizMBA. It has 150 million unique monthly visitors, and it's in the 111th most popular site in the world.

Buffer App is another example of a company who knows how to do content marketing. Buffer is an app to streamline social sharing, but a lot of their clientele salivate over Buffer's content, not just the app.

Buffer has the most-shared article on the topic of "content marketing." Their content isn't clickbait vis-a-vis Buzzfeed. Instead, every blog article is full of charts, graphs, and stats. But this exactly what their readers need and want, which is the whole idea behind content marketing.

Content marketing is a modern marketing must-have. But now, order to do it successfully, companies have to do it even better. You may not be able to pull off a Buzzfeed ouster, but you can at least grow your content, improve your traffic, and deliver the information that your audience wants.

Companies that solve big problems.

Climate and energy are among some of the biggest problems facing the planet.

Tesla is one of the most notable companies trying to solve that problem. Founder Elon Musk was standing in the shower when he identified "5 areas that will have the most important effect on the future of humanity." One of them was energy. Today, his company is making the solution, just not fast enough for everyone who wants to buy it.

Although Tesla's svelte electric cars won't stop climate change in its tracks, nor weaken our reliance on fossil fuels, it does represent a trend towards companies that solve big problems. Tesla is a company that's growing, and their growth looks a whole lot faster than any of the other vehicle manufacturers, whose cars have combustion engines and exhaust pipes.

Another good example of companies that solves problems that matter is Curemark. Founder Joan Fallon identified the rise of autism and the absence of a critical processing protein in patients. Fallon found a problem that mattered, and went about solving it.

Other companies are solving the problems of urban transportation, homelessness, educational disadvantages, and urban food production.

Companies that solve problems are up against challenges--against companies with deep pockets, long histories, and influential leaders. But companies that solve big problems are also on the way to big growth.

Companies that are doing good.

For most companies, business as usual is all about quarterly growth, going public, bigger profit margins, and huge fat bonuses for everyone at the top.

Some businesses are saying "No, thanks." They recognize that a growing contingent of people, including millennials, are disenchanted with an acquisitive and self-serving economic model.

Instead, such companies are focused on doing business while doing good. One of the most notable of these companies is TOMS shoes, which gives a pair of shoes to someone in need for every purchased pair.

It's a hard row to hoe. It's hard for people to fathom the idea of a company both doing good while also making money. To deal with the cognitive dissonance, they either have to romantically think of such companies as charities, or accuse such companies of gimmicky sales techniques or misguided solutions.

The do-good model does have its risks. In order for a company to truly do good, it has to do both business and charity correctly. Most organizations can't get one of those right, let alone two.

Growth trajectories for the do-good companies may look a little different, but maybe that's okay. For such companies, revenue growth is only half of the growth equation.

Adapt, innovate, and grow.

Most companies want to grow. It's possible to grow, yet not follow the business-as-usual methods and models. In fact, it may be that the new path to growth is by embracing new methods and models.

What are some other characteristics of companies that grow at breakneck speed?

Published on: Oct 23, 2014