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Your Business Model Just Changed

When working in the financial industry our client wanted us to focus on the change others in their industry were creating. We respectfully said no.

If we only look at what others similar to us are doing to stay ahead then we will always be following them….”

I explained to a room full of tight ties and starched shirts. “…you must understand our competition…” replied a junior… as the quiet head of the table and I exchanged eye contact I replied…

“No…. We must understand society… and how expectations are changing… and what concepts they are embracing… what changes are winning? Then we must create initiatives that are in line with what society wants and what enhances your business model…”

The junior didn’t like my reply and came back with “…we must stay ahead of our competition.” And with that the head of the table said “Give me an example of a concept that our competition is missing…” He was impressed with the speed at which I dove into Fractional Ownership – specifically our view of how it impacts financial services.

While some of you reading this may agree with my position that looking at competition won’t have you stay ahead… you may be surprised at how many marketers continue to look solely at, or primarily at their competition when considering how they will stay ahead.

Let’s take a look at Fractional Ownership. Defined in Wikipedia as a method in which several unrelated parties can share in, and mitigate the risk of, ownership of a high-value tangible asset, usually a jet, yacht or piece of resort real estate. It can be done for strictly monetary reasons, but typically there is some amount of personal access involved.

This definition misses the point of the psyche behind the concept and only deals with what the concept looks like in reality for large ticket items. At the core, this concept is sharing. Sharing what I have with others so that no one must bear the burden.

As a simple proof point that this concept is one to watch, we only have to look at the instances of the term in google. Notice the dramatic increase in 1990… you may find it interesting that The World Wide Web, Internet Protocol (HTTP) and WWW language (HTML) were created by Tim Berners-Lee just before 1990. And this year basically marks the year the internet was born. The year we all received access to what others know, have and want. The internet allowed us to share.

You can share pretty much anything these days, your condo on AirbNb, high end fashion on Rent The Runway or why own a dog when you have your choice between Part Time PoochPuppy Swap or Borrow My Doggy. But the concept of sharing has been expanded beyond just the things YOU have. Brands are starting to understand that they could greatly benefit from sharing the things they have instead of selling the things they have. And in comes Cadillac with a new program called BOOK. Brilliant! A subscription model for my car. Forget the lease, forget financing a single vehicle… let me go month by month experiencing all the vehicles the brand has to offer. Sounds similar to Club Link.

Stop looking at your competition. Start looking at concepts…. and ask yourself… how could your company use the success that Club Link has had?

What do you think? Has Cadillac created the kind of change they need to stay ahead?