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.
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!
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.
Originally published at brandthropologie.com on May 5, 2015.