Archivo del May, 2013

Are you ready to start caring about sharing?

The Social Network has evolved into the Services Network – this was the revolutionary idea, based on the concept of collaborative consumption, presented by Lauren Anderson at ESADE this week.

What is collaborative consumption? All kind of  economic arrangements in which participants share access to products or services, rather than having individual ownership. Think about sharing, swapping or selling second-hand goods, and that often is enabled by technology and peer communities.

Elsewhere it’s described as a paradigm shift (a term used by ESADE); a time to start caring about sharing, according to the Economist; one of the 10 Ideas that Will Change the World, for Time; or in the words of Rachel Bostman, the currency of the new economy.    

At the Observatorio Consumo we spend our time analyzing insights we get from Spanish consumers. And we are seeing two groups of consumers. Firstly a niche  with an advocacy attitude, they even prefer talking about peers, rather than consumers. People disposed to buy to change the world, with a buycott attitude (proactive purchasing decisions to buy products linked to specific values) that research shows never last.

The big segment are those non-activist consumers, looking for convenience, excited by becoming co-creator  of services, and attracted by the concept of a sharing lifestyle. For a start, there’s Generation Y – a generation disenchanted with status conferred by ownership and purchasing power, who simply want access to and the use of products.

So who’s who in the collaborative consumption panorama?

At our event we met some local startups with interesting ideas. There is Social Eaters who are bringing strangers together over a meal – users meet online and eat offline, sharing costs in the process. Another is Trip4real which gives peers the unique chance to share a Barça match with a real supporter, full service, beers and flags included. My personal favourite was Bla Bla Car – a great idea that makes hitch-hiking look Stone Age, and uses pure emotional branding through the main benefit offered by sharing your car.

And then Lauren Anderson brought out the big guns with the idea of Services Network. And talked about TaskRabbit, a company based on the principle that you can outsource your daily chores to your neighbours, who bid for the job against its difficulty, time commitment, effort and distance. May be Lauren is right. We are beginning to see social networks evolve into service networks and the path is there for a real paradigm shift.

How about you? Are you ready to start caring about sharing?

Collaborations, Private Sector, Social Sector | , , Leave a comment Permalink

The Revolution may not be televised – but it might be in your soda

Societal marketing is a fascinating concept: it creates value for the target audience and enhanced well-being in consumers and society as a whole, whilst remaining true to brand values and objectives. And its blend of brand, societal and consumer welfare considerations also brings learning opportunities for all those involved.

For years, the Coke brand has been leveraging values as a way of surprising – and engaging – its consumers. Coke has a mission to bring positivity and joy to people, and in so doing, to transform its brand into a symbol of sharing and social values.

Interestingly, as we enter tougher times, societal marketing strategies are getting better and better, and more sophisticated. This is true of the global marketplace and diverse sectors and segments.

Take the example of nonprofits. When NGOs put together a positioning proposal, they usually have to prioritize one stance over another: whether to play it safe and aim for likeability, or stick their necks out and adopt a strategy that involves more risks to their reputation. Relief or Advocacy. It often boils down to a choice between being reactive or proactive.

The Coke example demonstrates how a positioning strategy can do both – appeal to the masses, whilst deftly negotiating the choppy waters of negative publicity (of the tooth enamel kind). Simply using a segmentation strategy.

As an American brand, Coke knows there is a huge emphasis on giving back in US culture, but that by the same token, no one is really that interested in rocking the boat. Nonetheless, their contribution to the obesity debate, the Coming Together initiative, is galvanizing the public way more efficiently that the municipalities of New York or Cambridge, Mass.

Meanwhile, here in Spain there’s plenty of talk about changing the world. But the reality is that Spanish citizens aren’t really doing that much, not even giving back to the community.

Isn’t the time right to start doing something? To take on boards and statistics and kick start the Revolution against The Powers that Be? To put our money where our mouth is, instead of sitting back and watching whilst our colleagues overseas take the initiative?. Let’s do the revolution against Chairs and Change Statistics!.

And if it takes a soda company becoming a responsible citizen to make us see the value of adapting to a changing social contract, I for one am prepared to drink to that.

Case Studies, Private Sector | , , Leave a comment Permalink