A few days ago I reread this article that explaines the times in which we live:
Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content. Alibaba, the most valuable retailer, has no inventory. And Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate. Something interesting is happening. source
And I remembered that the companies with the biggest impact operating on the market today have only one thing in common- the democratization of the product/service.
Interbrand has released the top most valuable global brands by their income, the role they play in the consumer’s life and brand loyalty. To no one’s surprise, Apple, Google, Coca-Cola, Microsoft and IBM are the top 5.
However, if we take a deeper look at some of the brands in this list, we can notice something really interesting. Some of them have managed to democratize a few industries that 15-20 years ago were believed to be untouchable.
I’ll give you some examples to help you better understand what we’re talking about when it comes to democratizing industries:
- Macintosh (Apple) democratized computers
- The (Apple) podcast democratized radio
- Google democratized information
- YouTube democratized television (movies, TV series, music videos, shows, etc.)
- E-bay democratized trading
- Facebook democratized advertising
- Uber democratized transportation
- Instagram democratized photography
- Airbnb democratized hotel/accommodation arrangements
- WordPress/Blogger/Medium have democratized publishing
- Bannersnack have democratized banner design
Do you understand what I’m trying to say? Some of the biggest players in the global market have managed to reach the top because they played a strong card (and at the same time a very risky one).
These brands were able to find that path that gives the user the freedom to use the platform, in their own way, but playing by the rules of the platform/brand, in order to achieve a certain goal.
Brands holding the power today are brands that have provided the consumer with a certain freedom yesterday.
Of course, it’s a pretty risky move letting users do whatever they want on your platform, on your app, on your website or simply with your brand.
But once a user feels free and unrestricted, he will feel so good that he’ll gladly talk to others around him about his experience.