Part 2: Collaborative Consumption Not Just for StartUps Any Longer

Perhaps the biggest shift in the sharing economy we can expect to see in 2016 is a push from traditional economy companies and governments to get involved in the age of collaborative consumption.

Last week’s $500 million GM Lyft news is followed this week by a huge announcement from Ford about their future plans in the realm of shared vehicles. Ford has developed a new leasing program that will allow “self-organized groups” of three to six individuals to group-lease Ford vehicles. It’s called Ford Credit Link and it will be available at three Austin, Texas Ford dealers beginning in February.

Showing further momentum of the blurring line between the old and new economy is Patagonia working with sharing economy Yerdle to find homes for used goods and GE collaborating  with start up Quirky to reimagine the process of invention. Hyatt’s massive investment in Airbnb competitor onefinestay and Absolut’s local distillery program round out this trend as I have mentioned in earlier posts.

What’s most interesting perhaps is how more innovative and open minded government leaders and entities are looking to embrace the new economy instead of railing against it. We have seen positive sentiment from leaders like Republican Presidential candidate Ted Cruz who has gone as far as to say we need an Uber X type of model for our government, but what is even more interesting is today’s announcement by the Governor of Arizona to transform the state into the ultimate partner to business in the sharing economy.

In his state of the state address this morning Governor Doug Ducey had this to say: “Arizona should be to the Sharing Economy, what Texas is to Oil and what Silicon Valley used to be to the tech industry.” Ducey laid out an aggressive vision of reform sure to appeal to sharing economy entrepreneurs and consumers alike. He called for an end to the current occupational licensing regime that stifles healthy competition. Ducey also called for Sky Harbor airport to lift the current ban on Uber and Lyft at the airport and introduced a Governor’s Council on the Sharing Ecomomy. http://azgovernor.gov/governor/news/2016/01/governors-council-sharing-economy

The new group has its own executive order which cites a PwC study forecasting the sharing economy as a $335 billion entity by 2025, along with a list of goals designed to make Arizona more competitive in the realm of innovation.

All this news and its only January 16! For those who continue to say the age of collaborative consumption is just a blip or fad, think again. I can’t wait to see what exciting disruptions the 2016 will bring. Perhaps a chocolate in my peanut butter moment for innovation and regulation is on our horizon after all.

sharing economy

Billee Howard is Founder + Chief Engagement Officer of Brandthropologie, a cutting edge communications consulting firm specializing in helping organizations and individuals to produce innovative, creative and passionate dialogues with target communities, consumers and employees, while blazing a trail toward new models of artful, responsible, and sustainable business success. Billee is a veteran communications executive in brand development, trend forecasting, strategic media relations, and C-suite executive positioning. She has a book dedicated to the study of the sharing economy called WeCommerce due out in Fall 2015 as well as a blog entitled the #HouseofWe dedicated to curating the trends driving our economy forward. You can read more about “WE-Commerce: How to Create, Collaborate, and Succeed in the Sharing Economy” right here!

Wecommerce book Sharing Economy

Collaborative Consumption Not Just for StartUps Any Longer

Part 1: Collaborative Consumption Not Just for StartUps Any Longer

As we enter 2016, it seems clear that the much talked about age of collaborative consumption is most definitely not a blip or fad, but rather a new economic paradigm with far reaching tentacles.

We see the economy’s power and imprint everywhere from the stages of CES this week at a global conference once focused solely on electronic gadgetry, to the campaign trail where candidates are tripping over themselves to develop platforms around the topic that will increase their poll numbers.

What’s most interesting to me however is the impact the sharing economy is having on traditional businesses. The latest shift we are seeing is with large market leading giants becoming smart enough to recognize that the new economy is a perfect testament to the old adage “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.”

A great example is this week’s GM announcement of a $500 million dollar investment into Lyft. The partnership will help the start up to develop autonomous vehicles which will definitely be a boon to the future of ride sharing models, as will the spate of short-term rental hubs the new alliance will aim to create. http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/01/05/technology/gm-invests-in-lyft.html?referer=

The GM news follows a flurry of other announcements highlighting how big business is getting into the sharing economy game. Other notable deals include the massive investment by Hyatt into Airbnb competitor onefinestay and Absolut’s new local distillery program.

While it’s clear that the line between traditional and sharing economy companies is blurring, what seems to be in question is whether keeping an uber niche focus or pushing into larger conglomerate service type structures is preferred.

With companies like Uber branching off from just transportation to everything from food delivery to courier services, the question that lies ahead is how to create scale, while still remaining small enough in focus to achieve the levels of agility and innovation required to compete in today’s ultra competitive marketplace.

I for one believe that the too big to fail mentality most definitely applies here. As we move further and further from the hubris that drove the 2008 meltdown, we must not forget the Jobsian wisdom that pioneered our new world order. Be good at one thing and do that one thing better than anyone else.

Collaborative Consumption Not Just for StartUps Any Longer

With sharing economy “purists” popping up in places like Berlin with initiatives like borrowing shops, shared refrigerators, and community gardens on the rise, it seems clear that maintaining a crystallized definition of what collaborative consumption is and is not, and what the critical factors are for success vs. failure, will be essential to ascertaining the potential and longevity of our We-Commerce world. http://www.irishtimes.com/news/consumer/berlin-s-sharing-economy-a-glimpse-of-the-future-1.2475033

The Lyft GM news seems like a step in the right direction. Two transportation innovators coming together with a rifle shot vision to imagine the future transformation of the sector. Let’s hope that other leading sharing economy companies retain their humility and keep their focus so we don’t harken back to the days of the late 1990s tech boom and find ourselves in another pets.com type of bubble.

Billee Howard is Founder + Chief Engagement Officer of Brandthropologie, a cutting edge communications consulting firm specializing in helping organizations and individuals to produce innovative, creative and passionate dialogues with target communities, consumers and employees, while blazing a trail toward new models of artful, responsible, and sustainable business success. Billee is a veteran communications executive in brand development, trend forecasting, strategic media relations, and C-suite executive positioning. She has a book dedicated to the study of the sharing economy called WeCommerce due out in Fall 2015 as well as a blog entitled the #HouseofWe dedicated to curating the trends driving our economy forward. You can read more about “WE-Commerce: How to Create, Collaborate, and Succeed in the Sharing Economy” right here!

Wecommerce book Sharing Economy

Sharing Economy

Singular Focused Innovation

This week Proctor & Gamble sold off 43 beauty brands to Coty for 12.5 billion. This comes on the heels of them disposing of their pet and soap brands as well as Duracell batteries earlier this year.

GE made a similar move divesting of all of its financial services assets a few months back, leaving just their industrial focused business engines in place to power the behemoth forward.

What’s with all the dumping of assets by two of the world’s leading companies? It’s certainly not about financial failings, but rather about one of the key driving forces of the sharing economy and world of we, singular focus.

When Steve Jobs helped pioneer the age of total experience management we are living in today, not only did he flip the script on the age of total quality management that came before it, he also changed the game in the realm of niche focus. The new Apple went against the GE prevailing notion of doing as many things well as possible, to being driven by the idea of being the best in the world at one thing and one thing only.

In Steve’s world, doing one thing and doing that one thing better than anyone else, was the guiding mantra, and the key to much of Apple’s second act success. For example, Jonny Ives had a laser focus on design only, which is probably why the elegant white ear buds he invented for the iPod not only helped ushered in a new era of fortune for Apple, but also helped launch the 8.5 billion headphone industry of today and the audio Renaissance that is upon us.

startups quote

This is the reason GE shed its financially focused skin to go back to “its industrial core” as Jeff Immelt put it and likely why AG Lafley has decided to focus P&G on a portfolio of just 65 consumer focused household brands, all sharing a common thread and focus, to drive the company’s growth in the future.

If you look at the companies driving our new world forward you will see the very same niche focus driving their success. Uber does just transportation, Postmates does just on demand delivery, Fancy Hands does just all things administrative, Handy just does all things home repair and so on.

In the sharing economy, brand experience is critical and in order to not just succeed but lead, a singular and niche focus on innovation is the must have strategic imperative, and it’s clearly not just a guiding mantra for startups any more.

Billee Howard is Founder + Chief Engagement Officer of Brandthropologie, a cutting edge communications consulting firm specializing in helping organizations and individuals to produce innovative, creative and passionate dialogues with target communities, consumers and employees, while blazing a trail toward new models of artful, responsible, and sustainable business success. Billee is a veteran communications executive in brand development, trend forecasting, strategic media relations, and C-suite executive positioning. She has a book dedicated to the study of the sharing economy called WeCommerce due out in Fall 2015 as well as a blog entitled the #HouseofWe dedicated to curating the trends driving our economy forward. You can read more about “WE-Commerce: How to Create, Collaborate, and Succeed in the Sharing Economy” right here!

 

 

Sharing Economy Tips

4 Tips For Startups In Weconomy

In the sharing economy the idea of creating businesses that harness the notion of “we” has never been hotter. By creating innovations that leverage technology and the unique passions and expertise of individuals, new successful businesses are cropping up at a blistering pace with the ability to change daily life.

Whether it is Postmates, the delivery app that blends the best of Task Rabbit and Seamless to reimagine on demand delivery, or zTailors which marries the best of the Uber model and my suit.com to extend the possibilities of bespoke tailoring, the sharing economy holds no limits on who can become an artist of business and a successful entrepreneur.

By following just a few quick guidelines, anyone with a unique passion that has scale, can share it with the world in ways that create new innovations and pockets of profitability.

1) Create a clear and unique story.

In today’s environment storytelling must become a business competency. Develop a concept and transform it into a story that immerses consumers in the idea. For example, Whistlepig is not just a whiskey, it’s the dream of two guys who moved to Vermont to fulfill their destiny of making bespoke spirits in a way that helped launch a renaissance for dark liquor. Clearly the brand is far more than a beverage.

Sharing Economy & Storytelling

Photo Credit: Pexels

2) Combine your passion + the power of we

Develop an idea that seeks to follow the winning formula of passion + the power of we. Postmates would not be nearly as successful as it is of it didn’t have a legion of businesses participating, and “Postmates” signed up to make the on demand deliveries they imagined a reality.

3) Small is the new Big

Remember that in today’s environment small is the new big. Success today is predicated on the idea of not being all things to all people, but rather finding one thing, and doing that one thing better than anyone else. For example Airbnb is a lodging company only. It has bridged over to media to help deepen and expand the experiences they offer, but they have not extended into travel transportation or travel booking agent in an attempt to create new profit centers. Keep your focus niche to survive and thrive.

Sharing Economy Tips

4) Act global but think local

In today’s environment the flip side of the original act local think global mantra is true. Today, if you have a winning idea, the democratizing power of technology can easily catapult your business globally. However, remembering that local communities both online and off are the spark for growing any business is critical. Most successful sharing economy businesses such as Uber, TaskRabbit and Neighborgoods started in target cities to perfect their offerings before becoming global powerhouses. Hone your idea, customize it in ways that can be scalable on a local level, and then view the entire globe as your canvas of creation!

Sharing Economy

In the world of the sharing economy the most critical point is that if we remember that today’s innovations are powered by the we and not the me, there is nothing that we cannot imagine and create together.

Billee Howard is Founder + Chief Engagement Officer of Brandthropologie, a cutting edge communications consulting firm specializing in helping organizations and individuals to produce innovative, creative and passionate dialogues with target communities, consumers and employees, while blazing a trail toward new models of artful, responsible, and sustainable business success. Billee is a veteran communications executive in brand development, trend forecasting, strategic media relations, and C-suite executive positioning. She has a book dedicated to the study of the sharing economy called WeCommerce due out in Fall 2015 as well as a blog entitled the #HouseofWe dedicated to curating the trends driving our economy forward. You can read more about “WE-Commerce: How to Create, Collaborate, and Succeed in the Sharing Economy” right here!