Sharing Economy Trends: Change or Die

Photo via Startup Stock Photos

Photo via Startup Stock Photos

Constant reinvention has always been the name of the game in business, but in the current environment, pushing ones self to a point of discomfort is critical. To succeed today, one must innovate in a way that creates a new market by applying a different set of values, which ultimately (and unexpectedly) overtakes an existing market. In the sharing economy the guiding mantra is simple: change or die.

How did Justin Timberlake go from a Mickey Mouse Club inspired boy band star in decline, to a top of the charts trans-media icon who has reimagined what today’s musical experience could entail?

How did a macho, muscle car, made in Detroit Ford Motors emerge from the ashes of the collapse of the American auto industry as a best in class luxury ride, with pioneering telematics and in car innovations that led to the greatest turn around in history?

How is New Corporations new company Amplify aiming to reimagine education through disruptive technology?

How has YouTube disrupted the media world to usher in a new age of platinum television worth billions?

These and other leading brands today have recognized that the sharing Economy demands that everyone strive for the insurgency of a challenger, even if they are the established incumbents.  Wecomonics favors those who are not only able to survive periods of disruption, but seek it out in order to remain vital, relevant, innovative, and competitive.

You can read more about “WE-Commerce: How to Create, Collaborate, and Succeed in the Sharing Economy” right here!

Book Cover

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.

 

Sharing Economy

Sharing Economy: Stay Small but Include All

The sharing economy has brought with it many trends but none has perhaps been felt more acutely than the new era of small as the new beautiful. Today, as a result of technology’s great power of equalization, anyone can be an entrepreneur and creator. As a result, consumers have ushered in a new age of craftsmanship marrying the best of the artistry of old, with the unfettered reach procured by the Internet of All Things.

From the Smorgasbord small batch empire erected nearly five years ago in Brooklyn, to its slew of imitators globally, artisan is the new chic and bigger is no longer better. Today, without question, small is the new big.

Sharing Economy

Warby Parker, a small eye wear company started by four young college friends, and dedicated to addressing the one billion people worldwide who lack glasses is now commanding a big market share of their industry, providing lower cost, better looking prescription eye wear at the expense of larger, more expensive brands.

Airbnb.com, a room rental service started by a RISDE grad who couldn’t pay his rent, has grown so large so quickly that it is rivaling the major global hotel chains like Hilton, even though they don’t own a single bed.

How have these small brands, started by a hand full of individuals on a shoe string, or in some cases a deficit, manage to succeed so quickly, rivaling the reach and profits of their big brand competitors?

Because in the sharing economy, bigger is better is dead, and smaller, more agile companies capable of adjustment, evolution, innovation, and custom co-creation are winning the day.  In this chapter I’ll take a look at the “think small but include all” strategies that today’s most competitive small brands have employed to take on the super powers in their industries and succeed against all odds.  I will also look at the emerging sharing economy and the principles of collaboration driving it.

You can read more about “WE-Commerce: How to Create, Collaborate, and Succeed in the Sharing Economy” right here!

Wecommerce book-billee-howard

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.

 

The Internet of Everything

Physical & Digital Worlds Collide The Internet of Everything

The Internet of Everything

In the era of #WeCommerce no trend is as pervasive as the Internet of All Things. I like to just simply say the Internet of Everything, as wherever you are and with whatever you are doing, the line between the physical and digital worlds is slowly but surely evaporating.

Whether it’s the founders of the smart home like Google Nest, or players like Bluebite who partnered with Samsung to enable Out-of-Home advertising media with NFC to promote its new Galaxy S3 phone and create Samsung-envy for non-NFC handset owners, many of today’s boldest innovators are heading us quickly towards a world of limitless immersion.And celebrities aren’t too far away from beginning to capitalize on the trend. Despite the will.i.am PULS Internet of Everything device that received mixed reviews, it’s highly likely that the new celebrity product craze-one that has even Ellen Degeneres selling branded housewares, will soon make its way into the wearable world of physical and digital mashups.Perhaps what’s greatest about the Internet of Everything is the irony of it. Why? Because at its heart it truly isn’t tech overload, but a bright new way for us to remain connected while also being untethered. Technology perhaps at its finest.

We will increasingly seek opportunities that make us less tethered to technology and more empowered by the freedom it provides-making us less isolated and communicative. As a result the worlds of the physical and digital will begin to increasingly coalesce. Additionally, technology that succeeds will likely emerge as wearable; capable of offering technological discovery, while doing so mobiley.  Wearables will take over every part of the landscape, infiltrating itself into industries ranging from technology, to health, to retail. And what we will see with wearables, is one of the first industries to be driven forward by celebrity brand entrepreneurs. Just as Wil.iam went from being chief creative officer of Intel to chief x of x, to creator of the first celebrity fit-bit device…Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Alba, Drew Barrymore,Ellen Degeneres and the other litany of celebrity brands gestating, will leverage this new area of technology, which is in essence the next phase of the website or app, to lead a new frontier forward.The combination of underserved industries like healthcare, with the might of power celebrities, will serve to demonstrate the power of accessibility that empowers and unites, in the new House of We.

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!

I'm Loving KSwiss Again

Why I’m Loving KSwiss Again

Photo: Courtesy of K.Swiss

Everyone in the above 35 and sneaker junkie crowds no doubt remembers the classic white on white silver hooked beauties of the late 80s and 90s. Just looking at the white knight like KSwiss brings a Say Anything smile to mind and puts a little bit of Wham! “go go” back in your step.

Beyond the warm nostalgia the iconic shoe inspires, their new brand re-ignition campaign called The Board makes me fall in love with them all over again. Taking the Stan Smith Pharell celebrity partnership idea designed to usher in a new generation of fans a step further, the KSwiss campaign partners with mega star Diplo to go beyond crowdsourced funding to the concept of collaborative co created marketing.

In the sharing economy, a brand’s ability to procure immersive experiences that stoke passions and emotional responses is as important as the products and services they purvey.

In the new groundbreaking campaign,  KSwiss allows people to apply for a position on The Board, a group of 100 creatives, led by Diplo, whose ideas for brand outreach and growth will actually be implemented to put the legacy sneaker icon back on the map.

According to KSwiss they are “committed to outfitting and inspiring a new generation of entrepreneurs” with their new campaign.

This week, the heritage tennis brand announced the curriculum the selected board applicants will be learning.

The goal is to have members of the board study the footwear and fashion industries and work on assignments with the intent to improve the K-Swiss brand.

The courses include “Brand Positioning,” instructed by streetwear brand 10 Deep founder and designer Scott Sasso; “Ideas with a Conscience,” instructed by Tyler Gage and Dan MacCombie, co-founders of the Fair Trade Certified beverage company Runa; “Sneaker Design,” instructed by Staple Design’s founder and creative director, Jeff Ng; “Lookbook Shoot,” instructed by Style.com fashion market director Rachael Wang; “Social Media Best Practices,” instructed by social media personality Jopsh Ostrovsky; and “Writing Your Business Plan,” instructed by Sharmadean Reid, brand consultant and founder of London-based nail company WAH Nails.

Through the curriculum, members will learn how to create a new tagline for K-Swiss, create a lookbook, build a brand with a socially responsible mission, design shoes, build a social media voice and learn about the components of a business plan.

In the age of #WeCommerce everyone is an entrepreneur as much as they are a creator. Consequently, the global economy is becoming increasingly powered by a new generation of innovators called “artists of business.”

While it will be fascinating to see how the idea of crowdsourced marketing unfolds and what new “chairmen of the board” it inspires, it will be most interesting to see if a #WeCommerce approach to marketing that enables consumers to co-create the next chapter of KSwiss’s legacy succeeds.

I sure hope it does. Why? Because if the concept prevails, the power of storytelling will become inextricably linked to a brand’s performance and profitability, thereby catapulting marketing to the very beginning of the supply chain of invention.

http://video.style.com/watch/diplo-k-swiss-the-board-campaign-video

You can read more about Billee Howard’s book “WE-Commerce: How to Create, Collaborate, and Succeed in the Sharing Economy” right here!

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.

 

 

Culting

In the past people were loyal to brands simply because of name brand recognition, status or taste. People today pick brands because of the experiences they offer and the connections to other likeminded people that they can provide. This has given birth to an entirely different relationship between people and the products they buy and support, which looks and feels more like a faithful following than brand advocacy. Today, when people say they would rather fight than switch, they really mean it.

In this new “culting” environment, people connect with brands and create dialogues not only with them but also through them. Creatively destructed brands, who are agile and able to respond to this impulse, are consciously employing the same devices used by traditional cult leaders and faith based organizations to create and grow living and breathing cults that invite us in to live, love, play, believe, evangelize, and worship in their House of We.

Brands, just like cults, look to create a tight knit community of like-minded believers. They ignite passion, encourage belief in a particular ideology, seed rivalry and inspire loyalty. They provide strong and charismatic leadership, provide the opportunity for total immersion in the cult experience, and place an emphasis on the power of we rather than me. The influence of culting has the potential to have a positive and healing effect on commerce and culture, because it is transforming brands from merchants of goods, into merchants of good doing and inspiring a re-envisioned social activism, with people banding together behind a common ideal, or vision of justice, and taking it to the streets in a whole new and passionate way.