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Distributed marketplaces and the ownership revolution transform branding

August 27, 2012

Rachel Botsman is something of an expert when it comes to new business models; she’s been writing about and championing the idea of Collaborative Consumption for quite a while.

Sidekick Studios recently did an interview with Rachel and asked her about the meta trends for the next 5-10 years, here is her answer

“We are only at the start of a massive power shift from top down, centralized power/monpolies to distributed marketplaces. That’s the beauty of network technologies, they redistribute power and remove layers and layers of middlemen. We are seeing this meta-trend reshape industries from publishing (16 out of top 100 bestsellers on the kindle self-published), funding (Kickstarter surpassed US Endowment of the arts last year as the largest backer of creative projects), music (Spotify is now the second largest revenue earner for most traditional record labels) and so I could go on…

Ownership revolution. The concept of ownership is radically changing. I believe in 10 years time in many areas of our lives it will seem outdated to own something as we know it today. We will access what we need in real-time whether its cars, books, music, space etc.”

There two phenomenons are driving a radical change in the idea of branding; the first is giving rise to a new class of brands whose very mission is to undermine the status-quo and delight the user by providing new ways to interact with familiar categories, or giving to access to previously untapped spaces.

The “Ownership Revolution” is likely to have a much bigger impact, because brands have thrived by providing identity enhancement for their users and taking this element away radically changes the contract.

Material ownership is the model that’s being undermined here and replaced with something that makes more economic sense.

New brands in this space are obviously going to be all service and will need to educate consumers away from possession and highlight how convenient and easy their alternatives are.

As always, brands have to continue to offer value and need to remain relevant as the business environment changes and new models of engagement emerge, brands won’t disappear, they will just be redefined and the values they reflect transformed to connect to the culture of the moment.

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