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Become a Change-Maker Brand: Part 2

I was at a meeting in Germany on Friday and the senior director of BMW was there and they were talking about it no longer being a car company but a mobility company, they would never have said that 10 years ago, so technology has changed everything. If BMW can’t respond to car sharing and autonomous driving, the car might become completely redundant and they wouldn’t be in business. So there are huge commercial pressures on manufacturers to look at what they’re doing, just selling more and more things to people, is no longer going to be the answer for society.

Michael Norton, Director of the Centre for Innovation and Voluntary Action

Michael Norton is one of 200 change-makers worldwide that I have interviewed for my forthcoming book, Generation Share. Published by Policy Press for Global Sharing Week 2019 (June 16th-22nd). Co-created with visual storyteller, Sophie Sheinwald Generation Share takes people on a much needed journey of hope to meet the change-makers who are building a society fuelled by Sharing. The book evidences how Sharing is changing the way we think, live and do business.

Previously in my blog, I have detailed the 6 character traits that make up the Anatomy of a Change-Maker. Over the next six weeks, I’ll be looking at how these character traits can be applied to businesses and all organisations in order to become what I call ‘Change-Maker Brands.’ From being a Sharer to the trait of bravery, from adaptability to putting love at the heart of our business decisions; from positivity to being future-conscious, I’ll show how these change-maker characteristics can not only transform your organisation, but are vital for business survival. Today, I’m looking at the first characteristic: SHARE.

Become a Change-Maker Brand: SHARE.

SHARE: The Sharing Economy is the biggest business trend of all time and has changed the way businesses operate. It has spawned new business models, based around accessing shared goods, rather than owning them, but is also a mind-set. By putting sharing and access at the heart, we create and unlock value for the economy, people and planet. The Sharing Economy empowers people and communities to create, connect, collaborate, thrive, trade, swap, access and share goods, services, skills and knowledge between themselves. But what does this mean for business?

The Sharing Economy recognises tri-part value: social, economic and environmental. All are costed and counted. People are no longer reliant on corporations for products and services, now they can trade peer-to-peer. A Deloitte study found that 90% of consumers want brands to share, yet only 10% of brands are seen as sharing brands. People now want and expect to be part of the process and to create tri-part value. In the last 3 years, we’ve seen the rise of conscious consumption. People want to know who made their goods, where they came from and whether those who made them have been fairly paid. This ‘voting with your wallet’ approach means that sharing is now an expected mode of doing business.

Companies now need what I call a 'Collaborative Advantage', since how much and how well you share will determine your future success. In fact, as one study showed[1], companies adopting Sharing Economy can double their revenues in 1 year, future-proofing their business. The Sharing Economy is not merely a ‘nice-to-have’ or an opportunity to turn costs into revenue, it’s become essential for survival.

We’ve built an alternative supermarket model through collaboration and caring. My sister Amy and I got fed up with the way supermarkets do business, it has a negative effect on people, on local communities and local economies, it’s the opposite of caring and sharing. It's all about extracting profit, exporting profit. We’re all about keeping profits in communities and keeping it in the hands of the producers who make the products. Our big dream and vision is to transform the food industry by reinventing the way supermarkets do business.

Ruth Anslow, founder of rebel supermarket HISBE which stands for How it Should Be, exemplifies a change-maker brand.

We consider sharing in many different aspects of what we do. From the way we source products, the way we present products, the range, which we build through collaboration with customers and the way we are funded through crowdfunding. This business only exists because hundreds of people have helped us build it and put money into it. We help a lot of small suppliers get going, we share the profit with them, so every pound that gets spent in HISBE, 68p goes to suppliers. The estimated equivalent figure in supermarkets, is 9p. If they’re given the right price and the right conditions, they can make the products that contribute to a better food system, rather than create products just because they're cheaper. We only work with people that demonstrate in their values that they care about the quality of the food and the way they make it and the way it's sourced. We are interested in price transparency, we have what we call a ‘fair price promise’, which is a commitment to pay and charge what’s there, and show you where your money goes. When you spend money at the tills, you can see a pie chart of how much money has gone to the supplier, how much money goes towards the store and staff bills and how much is left -- how much profit we make. Customers really like that.

To become a change-maker brand, businesses first need to become Sharers.

Here’s my Change-Maker Checklist Number 1, to help your company take the first step to becoming a Change-Maker Brand through sharing.

  1. How are you sharing resources or providing access to shared resources?

  2. How are you demonstrating a collaborative mindset?

  3. How are you sharing opportunities through supply chain?

  4. How are you involving the crowd?

  5. Who can you partner with to create social value?

  6. How are you leading through sharing?

  7. How are you building your collaborative advantage?

As brands our job has been to sell stuff, now sharing is more important than shopping, and to prepare for the future, rather than selling the message BUY MORE, we need to sell the message SHARE MORE.

The ultimate goal is that consumer goods will never be designed for one person, but for a community and if goods can be passed on from person to person, then the manufacturers will have to create a business model where – instead of manufacturing products to become obsolete, they will start to make things for sustainability, reparability and reuse. Creating business models around goods sharing, prompts manufacturers to use very different, sustainable business models. Daan Wedderpohl, Peerby.

Generation Share will be published by Policy Press in June 2019 for Global Sharing Week. You can now pre-order your copy here.

If you are a business who wants to become a change-maker brand email me or join the conversation on Twitter #CHANGE! @benitamatofska

[1] Deloitte, 2016

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