Creating a brand on assets... belonging to someone else?
We mean assets which people voluntarily want to share with others. "The sharing economy" is a phenomenon that in the last few years has revolutionized the world economic system. "Sharing economy" also called "peer-to-peer economy" does not yet have its Polish equvalent and – and in spite of appearances - is not only a linguistic problem.
Sharing instead of buying.
In the 80's or 90's of last century in Western countries conspicuous consumption was kind of an imperative - the number of durable goods in possesion determined the place in the social hierarchy. Some estimates show that the average American has in his house 3000 objects, of which only 200 are used every day.
This has changed. Studies show that for Millenials (especially younger ones), "buying in order to own" is no longer the way to happiness. Perhaps this is the aftermath of the global crisis of 2008-2009, which challenged the pre-existing (in the most developed countries of the world) principle that each new generation will live better, while earning better and having more and more goods (TVs, cars, houses, etc. ).
For young consumers buying new gadgets, cars, etc. just to "catch up with neighbors" (the famous "keep up with the Joneses"), recedes into the background in favor of close relationships with friends and fulfilling experiences. This is a dire forecast for all "dream sellers" who had successfully used the advertiisng machinery to tell buyers that another electronic gadget, a new lawn mower or third car in the driveway (usually bought on credit) guarantee happiness. Millenials probably better understand the message of a famous sociologist claiming that "on the road to happiness there is no such a thing as the finish line."
What has it to do with building the brand?
It would seem that if young Mr. Smith no longer feels the urge to own a car, the latest camera or a lawn mower (because if necessary they may easily be rented for a small fee from others), then here came the ideal world of "no logo" in which marketing will no longer need to convince consumers to buy a product with a particular logo and pay for it a lot more. Paradoxically however, it is still possible to build a strong brand image. What’s more, in the "sharing economy" strong brands are perhaps even more important than before!
Airb’n’b is the intermediate in the process of short-term rental housing from individuals. Both the lender and the lessee appreciate the fact that the burden of risk of possible damage (destruction of furniture) and the risk of breach of contract and misappropriation of money by the landlord is taken up by Airb’n’b. Each transaction is evaluated by both parties. All this reduces significantly the risks associated with reliance on a unknown individual.
A rating system is just one of the functionalities. Platforms for exchanging services bring a lot of different mechanisms (eg. a mandatory "panic buton" in cars riding in Uber in India; payment for an apartment on Airb’n’b account and not the account of the landlord etc.), which have one and the same goal: to reduce fears against any dishonesty on the other side.
Airb’n’b and Uber do not provide services, but only aggregate offers based on the assets belonging to others. They had created strong brand thanks to the fact that they are an invaluable aid in finding and booking the desired offer. That's why instead of looking on the internet for ads from the owners we feel safer searching for holiday apartment on Airb’n’b. And instead the traditional catching the cab (eg. near the railway station) we prefer to look for the lift on Uber app.
Of course, the organizer will never give us a 100 percent guarantee that everything goes smoothly, and we will sometiemes read of various incidents. But users do not seem discouraged. The figures show that the formula of sharing took root for good in the US and many Western countries. Every day around the world an average of 425,000 people sleep in someone's home or apartment rented through Airb’n’b. Uber’s annual turnover has reached almost $ 5 billion, and the market valuation of the company (41.2 billion USD) puts it among the 150 largest corporations in the world.
Meanwhile in Poland…
Why „sharing” is still in its infancy in Poland? The answer is simple - to build a successful platform under the premise of "sharing economy" they must have an appropriate scale, that is the offer large enough for a user to find the desired one. Meanwhile in our country there are two main barriers.
The first is lack of confidence. Sociologists suggest that Poles are less inclined to bestow trust than citizens of Western societies. We have limited confidence in strangers, in general. And yet it is precisely trust is the basis of "the sharing economy."
The second is the emphasis on possessing goods. Polish consumers seem to still adhere to the principle of "you are what you have." Own car (even if bought on credit) is making a better impression than lent one and possession brings greater satisfaction than renting.
Perhaps this is why "Polish Uber" has not revealed itself yet. All hope is in young people who are inherently more than their parents and grandparents open to new places and new people.