Brands And The Collaborative Economy: 25 Best Case Studies (SlideShare)

The collaborative economy is an evolution of social media, with consumers working for each other to earn money. But brands also can adopt this approach.

Brands And The Collaborative Economy: 25 Best Case Studies (SlideShare)

“Uberisation” was probably the most talked about buzzword of 2015, but what do people really mean by it?

When we look back, the web has always been focused on collaboration. Social media were always a means for consumers to be empowered, to help each other by sharing content, tips, and experiences.

As people moved away from the classic hubs of online magazines—for example, platforms like Yahoo—brands followed their lead and saw an amazing opportunity to push their content in social media.

That was a bad move. The social web is structured on relationships, it should not just be considered as a medium.

Expectations from large companies were huge (“we’re going to have fans grouped in a brand community”), but the results were poor; mostly because the goals, the method, and the KPIs were not the right ones.

Collaboration Is Evolution

The collaborative economy is a natural evolution of what social media brings. The difference is that now consumers can work for other consumers, earn money and skip the large corporations which are usually more expensive.

Uber is definitely a great example. Anybody can drive anybody during their free time and make money out of it.

Obviously the industry is fighting against this, but it will eventually loose. Experience has shown us that whenever a service is better and frictionless for a consumer, it will win. Uber is now the leader in its market, and yet it doesn’t own a single car. Airbnb is built on the same model.

In Europe, Blablacar enables people to share their car for longer travel, which disrupts the classic means of transportation like buses, trains or planes.

It’s better for the environment, it’s cheaper and it’s much more fun, as you will probably talk to the people you are meeting in the car. Why would you choose another option?

Uberisation Is Not Fatal

You can integrate the collaborative economy into your models. Some brands are doing it successfully, which I demonstrate in a presentation (at the end of this article), structured in six parts:

1. Marketing

BMW created a partnership with Sixt to start renting cars.

It might seem weird for BMW to accept that its entire business model will not be based on selling cars, but it’s a smart move.

Ownership is not as important today. A car depreciates; most of the time it’s parked, and it’s bad for the environment.

BMW listened to its customers and is trying to bring them the best service. Being first on the market is also a game changer, because people totally trust the brand.

2. Communication

It’s more common to collaborate with people (User Generated Content), bloggers or with other brands when it comes to communication.

The latest partnership that H&M built with fashion house Balmain is a win-win-win proposal.

H&M looks cool and edgy, Balmain is developing its notoriety, and consumers can access a highly fashionable brand.

3. Retail

A car is very expensive. Sometimes people can afford the car but not the accessories. Dodge has copied services like Kickstarter to enable people to ask their friends and family to participate in the purchase of a car.

Co-funding is very popular nowadays and Dodge bringing those principles into its model is a very interesting move.

4. Customer Service

Brands usually consider customer service to be a cost. As such, finance departments try their best to reduce it. But at the same time, marketers know that consumers are their most important asset.

Brands like Swisscom offer consumers the opportunity to help other consumers and to get paid for it. Again it’s a win-win-win situation; the client gets faster service by someone who is dedicated and trusted by the community, the customer that helps earns some cash, and the brand has both a happy consumer and a happy financial department.

5. Internal Collaboration

Within organisations, the Internet is often about horizontal management, but in most companies, this is still an unexplored concept.

At French car repair and accessories company Norauto, it is a reality. Anyone can be involved on different projects. The brand culture has been completely changed to encourage anyone to feel engaged and to propose new projects.

6. Sales

Anyone knows that in-store sales people are key.

You need people that are really passionate about your brand; but they aren’t always easy to recruit. At the same time, there are customers online who really adore your brand. Wouldn’t it be great if some of those customers, who are brand advocates, became your in-store sales people too? American Apparel, for example, has done just that.

The collaborative economy is here to stay and it’s a gold mine of opportunity for brands.

If you’re interested in more examples, please feel free to click and discover the presentation below, available on SlideShare.