Magazine article Marketing

The Marketing Society Forum: Is the Burgeoning 'Sharing Economy' the Future for Brands?

Magazine article Marketing

The Marketing Society Forum: Is the Burgeoning 'Sharing Economy' the Future for Brands?

Article excerpt

Collaborative consumption - often using technology to facilitate the sharing of information about goods and services - is on the rise Online marketplaces, social lending and peer-to-peer platforms in sectors such as travel are thriving, but will brands follow across the board?

NO

Brands like Uber and Airbnb have combined nous, technology, funding and opportunity to develop compelling sharing propositions at scale, disrupting multiple categories. Yet this sharing economy only works where trust levels are high. Strong brands are ultimately trust marks.

So there will be opportunities for brands to benefit from facets of what has, excruciatingly, been dubbed 'we-commerce'. Though as younger, high-growth companies adapt to the PR, regulatory and taxation issues that accompany becoming big international businesses, established organisations have the benefit of greater experience in these areas.

The sharing movement is only one strand in the fragmentation and proliferation of business models accelerated by the evolution of the digital ecosystem. So the future will depend not just on this one, exciting, field, but on brands capitalising on appropriate new opportunities.

Andrew Warner, Vice-president of marketing, Monster @pubchat

MAYBE

I'm genuinely excited about the potential that the sharing economy offers. It is already opening up new opportunities that put the customer even more centre stage in the proposition - from hiring out cars, to driveways, homes and even garden tools, it's clear that a movement is under way.

My hesitation is twofold. First, will it become mainstream? Airbnb has clearly grabbed hold, but it's taken years to get there and other models and brands are many years behind with a significant investment and a significant customer mindset-shift required before they become truly mainstream. The second is whether established brands can fully play in this space - my sense is that it will take new entrants and unique partnerships for the sharing economy to take off.

So, it's an exciting time but the way forward is far from certain.

Pete Markey, Chief marketing officer, Post Office @petermarkey

MAYBE

To read the press, you'd be forgiven for thinking new sharing economy brands are the antichrist. …

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