Creating brand value in the zero marginal cost future

Jeremy Rifkin, the author of the Third Industrial Revolution, advisor to the French, German and Chinese governments, brought to our awareness the new post capitalism era he refers to as, the Collaborative Commons. Our Collaborative Commons future will be a world where just about everything and everyone can talk to everything and everyone through sensors connected to people, our homes, the office, shops, cars, energy and transport. Analytics, consumer production, technology platforms and algorithms will open up opportunities to create, share and trade with marginal costs, close to zero.   As Rifkin boldly declares;   ” After a long and protracted fight, ….the Collaborative Commons will likely be “the primary arbiter of economic life.” Rifkin believes the Collaborative Commons is bringing us extreme productivity and even extreme market liquidity, as he says; “None of us ever expected in our wildest imagination a technology revolution so extreme in its productivity, it can reduce marginal cost to near zero, making goods potentially free, abundant and beyond market forces.” Businesses like AirBnB, Etsy, Kickstarter, Youtube and Uber, represent the first advance across a frontier, where peer to peer trading and production platforms proliferate. Leaving behind them old business models like hotels, retail, banks, television and transport companies, the market of many to many is superseding the market of one to many. The Collaborative Commons is even funding itself through the radically disrupting form of finance, known as crowd funding. Companies like Mosaic, a US company, is crowd funding individuals to transition to energy self sufficiency, a pattern we will see increase as big energy suppliers are replaced by smaller, less encumbered and more socially connected players. Rifkin predicts a technological revolution resulting from the merging of three internets, energy, automated transportation and communication, onto a common internet platform. Potentially powered by free energy, 3D printing, can reduce raw material usage to 10% of conventional manufacturing bringing costs down to near zero. 3D printed goods can be traded through reduced costs of marketing by internet influencers known as prosumers; bloggers, twitters, affiliate marketers, LinkedIn Users and youtubers. Prosumers  create their own marketplace by creating content on low cost social media channels. So here are the big questions that need answers How will brand value be created in this new era of zero marginal costs? And How can we charge a margin for our brands in a zero marginal cost world? Individual creativity, proximity and engagement of Prosumers, are some of the key drivers of becoming a brand of choice in a Collaborative Commons society. Individual Creativity Creative solutions that express personality, local distinctiveness and novelty will bring a point of difference that drives choice in the market of many to many. The personality of the AirBnB host, the unique and self expressive nature of their property, will drive choice, as will the story, creativity and personality of the individual seeking crowd funding. Proximity The proximity of On Demand manufacturing through 3D printing will put many things at our fingertips at the touch of a button, cars, houses or even human organs. In-home, in neighborhood, shared community resources, will bring back local cottage style industries in the form of 3D entrepreneurs. Social Connectedness Prosumers, including active bloggers and raters will be driving up choice through their contribution to star ratings. Becoming part of the conversation amongst prosumers is key to growing your brand, ideally by embedding your brand story in the prosumer marketplace. Louise Kelly Founder Thought Leaders Circle Managing Director Hearts and Minds

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