Brands that don’t think about sharing will be left behind

Brands that aren’t thinking about the sharing economy are going to get left behind, said Rachel Botsman, founder of Collaborative Lab, to an audience at the Mumbrella360 conference.

“Our kids – the concept of ownership will be completely different to them,” Botsman said. “It’s this convergence of social, mobile, location that enables us to create trust and efficiency… in ways that had never been possible.”

collaborative economy

L:R Bruce Jeffreys, GoGet, Andy Taylor Yatango Rachel Botsman, Collaborative Lab, Jordan Condo, Uber, Vanessa Liell, n2n Communications

Botsman argued that trust in big institutions is broken, especially in areas like banking and insurance, but she said brands can get involved in three key ways, noting Westpac’s investment in SocietyOne and Google’s investment in Uber.

“The first is investment… the second is partnerships… the third thing is, companies are now actually saying – this is a completely new way to think about assets; this is a completely new way to think about how consumers can access the benefits of our company.”

Jordan Condo, Asia Pacific Head of Public Policy at Uber, said their most successful marketing promotion last year was on-demand kittens, where citizens of New York City were able to request 30-minute sessions to play with them.

“We found that to be hugely successful. It’s something consumers want, and they’re spontaneous about, and they want it within five minutes,” Condo said.

Along with these demands for instant access, Rachel Botsman said the changing meaning of community is building a sense of loyalty to brands.

“People describe themselves as an Uber user, they describe themselves as part of the Airbnb community.”

She also pointed out, “I never said – I used Silver Service today, powered by CabCharge!”

Botsman argued that for entrepreneurs to be socially minded, “It doesn’t mean that they’re hippies and they live in communes, but they do think about communities in a really powerful way, and that gets into the DNA of their brands.”

Fellow panel member, Bruce Jeffreys, Co-founder and Director of GoGet, said this means “a real transformation for how you view what an agency does. They become enablers for transitioning businesses into new spaces.” Jeffreys said the critical challenge is to break out of the marketing budget within the business, so “it becomes not just a marketing activity… but it then gets extended to the rest of the business.”

Andy Taylor, CEO and Founder of Yatango and Co-founder of SocietyOne, said agencies need to become change agents – but this has to be driven culturally through the CEO. “There has to be a change in the thinking of how they service the customer, and it’s about putting the customer in control. And brands are scared of that,” Taylor said.

“They’re used to telling the consumers how they will sell to them. The power is now in the consumer’s hands… That’s pretty hard for a corporate to get their head around.”

Saimi Jeong


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