Delivering change

Pablo Izquierdo, Regional Account Director, Forward Media USA

Here is a tale of two new ventures that could transform e-commerce. Amazon launched a delivery service in the US last year called Amazon Flex, which recruits car owners to deliver packages in their local areas. Drivers sign in for work via a mobile app, then pick up packages from a local distribution centre which they deliver to addresses in the vicinity. The drivers make some cash, while Amazon cuts its ecommerce shipping bills and speeds up deliveries without having to employ new staff. Crucially, Amazon Flex helps the ecommerce giant bypass its dependency on delivery networks such as UPS and FedEx. This potentially changes the business model of Amazon’s e-commerce business and could disrupt the delivery industry.

Meanwhile, in Spain, 22-year old entrepreneur Yaiza Canosa launched her own delivery start-up called Goi.

This offers cash to drivers travelling between cities in Spain if they drop off packages to people in areas they are visiting. Canosa describes the business as like a “BlaBlaCar for packages” as it is similar to the ride sharing app which allows people to split the cost of travel by picking up passengers via a mobile app. Goi is reported to have 20,000 users and is attracting interest from venture capitalists.

These are similar business ideas that come from completely different sources. One is from an established giant looking to bypass its suppliers, the other is the brainchild of an entrepreneur connect a supply surplus — unoccupied space in people’s cars — with demand — the delivery of packages.

Both of these developments offer lessons for brands. Significantly, transformative ideas can come from big players or entrepreneurs, from the innovation departments of multinational corporations or from one-person start-ups with a vision. The important thing is that brands cast their nets wide to find the next development that will disrupt their existing lines of business. Because if they don’t, someone else will.

At Forward Media, we see our mission as helping brands transform their thinking to stay ahead of the curve on disruptive innovations. We are a media agency though our mission goes beyond media buying and planning. Media — particularly the mobile phone — is where most of the big disruptions in business are happening. So we act as advisers and consultants, digging deeper into our clients’ business processes to uncover smart ways of adapting to their markets and the changing competitive landscape.

Forward Media was formed 18 months ago so we are not hampered by any legacy or traditions. We can create fresh structures for the new paradigms of business that are emerging today.

Businesses can be shaken up by an internal innovation, one from a rival brand or a development emanating from an entrepreneurial start-up. Staying alert to business transformation is in the DNA of Forward. Our mission is to help transform clients’ businesses and perspectives, as the media landscape changes. Data needs to be thought about in smarter and the newer ways, while silos in communications need to be broken down.

As the examples of Amazon Flex and Goi demonstrate, disruption can come from anywhere. Forward Media aims to be help businesses stay at the forefront of change.