Are you collaboratively consuming right now?

Maureen Clemons's picture

Selling furniture on Craigslist. Watching a movie on Netflix. Listening to Spotify at work. These simple, everyday activities are all part of something extraordinary – collaborative consumption.

Collaborative consumption is a way of sharing products and services instead of having individual ownership. Instead of buying brand new furniture – recycle someone else’s through Craigslist. Instead of going out and buying a DVD or CD, watch and listen through Netflix and Spotify. This new outlook on consumerism really challenges the conventional “buy, buy, buy” mentality.

Collaborative consumption really began to pick up after the economic downfall of 2008. People were low on money, cared about the environment and were leaning on each other for support.  Collaborative consumption allowed people to have a lot of products and experiences without having to spend a lot of money. It also allowed them to be more environmentally responsible by reducing waste.

Three types of collaborative consumption exist:

  • Product service systems: when you want the benefits of the product, but you don’t want to pay to own it.  A great example of this is Zilok. They rent anything – from tools to electronics.
  • Redistribution markets: when used items find a new home – for free or for money. eBay is a perfect website for finding things that people don’t want anymore. Instead of throwing our old items away, we sell them to others that can use them.
  • Collaborative lifestyles: when people with common interests come together to share. Locally it can happen with a shared garden. Globally it can work with sites like AirBnb, a site dedicated to sharing rooms to travelers around the world.

This type of sharing has always been around with bartering and trading. Now as you can see in the above examples, we have the internet and social media to make it easier to get the word out.

It’s predicted that collaborative consumption won’t slow down even as the economy picks up again and people have money. It’s quickly becoming a party of society.

Have you already been collaboratively consuming without knowing that you are? Now that you know, will you take part in the trend more?


Marketing to women that connects, example 15:

Laurie Hix's picture

When it comes to travel, women are in the driver’s seat. Whether by air, land or cruise ship, for business or pleasure, women are doing the research, planning, booking and most likely packing. “Women make 80% of all travel decisions”, according to travel expert, Mary Beth Bond, “no matter who they travel with, who is paying for the trip, or where they go.” Today, getting the attention of the female travel-decision maker is challenging due to the competitive nature of all the travel websites out there claiming to offer the best selection and price.

One newer site,, stands out from the rest. With their Booking.yeah campaign, they make an emotional connection that resonates with this audience. Take the spot below, for example, entitled “He planned the vacation.” The concept is a woman’s dream: their husband planning a vacation and it being perfect. Women may tend to be control freaks, but they would love a man to take a task off their unending to-do list. Of course, in the commercial, the humor and irony is there, making us think that this could not possibly happen. It’s the battle of the sexes, and understanding of this dynamic. So recognizing this insight is brilliant on the part of As a viewer, this hilarious spot makes me feel like they “get me” and makes me want to learn more. Owned by Priceline, seems to be getting the word out about themselves through Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, but the bulk of the ad dollars seem to be spent on the television campaign. They also have a great mobile app and half-off hotels e-newsletter. Maybe I can have my husband, Steve, go to their Pinterest page and check out the floating hotel, swiss chalet or castle pins, so he can get inspired to book our next vacation. Maybe even it would turn out perfect just like in the commercial. Maybe…but then, in my reality, that only could happen on television.
Want to see more, check out my first post in my series 20 examples of marketing to women that connects.


The week in review - June 17th, 2013.

Ellyn Davidson's picture

Social media is constantly evolving, with vigilant bloggers following every new app, rule and Facebook flicker. We sift through hundreds of blogs weekly to keep on top of developments and seek out new client opportunities. It’s our job. And we like to share. So, don’t fret about what you might be missing. We’ve got your Cliffs Notes.

Paid Social Ads Can Boost Content
Here are three paid social ad tools that can dramatically expand visibility for your content.

Hashtags on Facebook
Hashtags will be clickable on Facebook. Similar to other services like Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, or Pinterest, hashtags on Facebook allow you to add context to a post or indicate that it is part of a larger discussion.

Businesses Should Act Human on Facebook
A great example of a company that acted with sympathy and more to reach out to customers on Facebook.

Facebook Commenting Allows Photos
Facebook has started to roll out photo comments, a new feature that allows you to comment on posts with images rather than words.

Mobile Ads That Offer Rewards Do Best
Consumers react positively twice as often to mobile ads when they get something valuable, relevant and/or engaging in exchange for their time.

Google Helps Make YouTube Videos    
The video service is launching a pilot program designed to educate advertisers on their YouTube content strategies.



How Heroic Design can make the world a better place.

Deb Wood's picture

“You must be the change you want to see in the world.”  This is one of my favorite quotes from Mahatma Gandi. For most of us, it is easier said than done, unless you are one of the people participating in a trend of design called “Heroic Design”.

Heroic Design is when designers (primarily Industrial Designers) introduce a product, idea or campaign whose ultimate goal is to make everlasting and meaningful change in the world in which we live. They are so motivated by problems they see in the world around them that they develop a new product, service, or way of doing something to solve these problems.

1 out of 43 people in Detroit are homeless.

We have one of these designers living right here in southeast Michigan, her name is Veronika Scott. While a student in the Industrial Design program at College for Creative Studies in Detroit, she saw homeless people sleeping outside in a local park and thought there had to be a better solution. Knowing homelessness is a complicated issue, she decided to meet with these people to find out what their needs were and see if there was a way she could help. As providence would have it, she had also just received an assignment, “Design to fill a need”. Little did she know how much that assignment and meeting with that original group of homeless people would change her life and set her course for her future.

Veronika Scott

After months of meeting, sketching and sewing, she and the group came up with the MPWR Coat. The MPWR Coat is a coat that unfolds and turns into a sleeping bag, thus enabling a homeless person to sleep on the street without fear of freezing. But Veronika didn’t stop there, she wanted to have even more impact in the community and so formed The Empowerment Plan. The Empowerment Plan is a non-profit entity that employs homeless women to sew the MPWR coats. Employment by The Empowerment Plan allows these women to gain financial independence, move out of shelters and into their own homes. The 2013 goal for The Empowerment Plan is to produce 4000 coats and distribute them – for free.


Talk about being the change. Veronika Scott embodies this everyday. Other designers making everlasting and meaningful change that you should check out are: Emily Pilloton, founder of Project H Design and Josh Silver, inventor of adaptive eyewear and founder of Centre for Vision in the Developing World. Emily Pilloton is changing the way people think about education and Josh Silver, is changing the way people see in the developing world. These inspiring people prove that design indeed can change the world and have inspired me to start thinking about how I, as a designer can make an impact in my world.

What problem do you think Heroic Design could help fix?

Be the change

Blog Category: 


The week in review - June 10, 2013.

Ellyn Davidson's picture

Social media is constantly evolving, with vigilant bloggers following every new app, rule and Facebook flicker. We sift through hundreds of blogs weekly to keep on top of developments and seek out new client opportunities. It’s our job. And we like to share. So, don’t fret about what you might be missing. We’ve got your Cliffs Notes.

Facebook Is Changing Up Its Ad Units
Facebook is consolidating its ad roster to theoretically give brands fewer-but-better options.         

Reach Gay and Lesbian Consumers Through Mobile
Now, with mobile use on the rise, marketers that don't target LGBT consumers are missing out on one of the most active mobile user groups in the U.S.
Simple Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Youtube Page
There are a number of strategies to drive traffic to your YouTube videos and help them move up in the search results.

Mobile Ads Are Eating Away at Desktop Ad Budgets
Mobile advertising is continuing to grow, but it's doing so at the cost of desktop ad spending, according to a new study.

Attract Genuine Fans Through Your Facebook Contests
One goal of a successful Facebook contest should be to recruit fans who are genuinely interested in you.


Marketing to women that connects, example 14: MasterCard.

Laurie Hix's picture

The MasterCard company website says their target audience is consumers. Every one. But we know that women make 85% of all consumer purchases. They are the shoppers swiping their MasterCard in stores and online. Which is why the “Priceless” MasterCard campaign that has been going strong since 1997 resonates with women. The memorable construction of the ads, “There are things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s MasterCard” was brilliant and made a deep emotional connection. It went beyond consumerism. I especially like the TV spot below which was one of the best ones they did and like how it speaks to women.

Now MasterCard has evolved their campaign to “Priceless Cities” in an attempt to be at once more global and more local to create priceless moments within taste culture. They are using social media like with the “Check In To the Ballgame” Facebook campaign that gave away priceless seats to New York Yankee fans. But I was surprised they are barely on Pinterest. It is a natural fit with how women are using Pinterest to pin what they want to buy. And it can also have that emotional connection that MasterCard is known for.

It’s always a challenge evolving a super successful campaign, most companies fail. But they have a good start, it just needs to go deeper and not lose that emotional connection. Here’s hoping they take it to the next level and find new innovative ways to engage with their primary audience: women.

Want to see more, check out my first post in my series 20 examples of marketing to women that connects.

Mastercard ad


The week in review - June 3, 2013.

Ellyn Davidson's picture

Social media is constantly evolving, with vigilant bloggers following every new app, rule and Facebook flicker. We sift through hundreds of blogs weekly to keep on top of developments and seek out new client opportunities. It’s our job. And we like to share. So, don’t fret about what you might be missing. We’ve got your Cliffs Notes.

Pinterest Gets Better With Data
Meet John Rauser, a data scientist at Pinterest. Learn how he takes big data and turns it into helpful insights.

Pontiflex Ads on Mobile
This is when advertisers only pay when someone actually enters their contact information into a sign-up form.

Twitter and Traditional Media
Does Twitter compliment traditional journalism or compete with it?

LinkedIn’s Contacts Feature
This new feature brings together all your address books, emails and calendars, and keeps them up to date in one place.

Youtube Redesign
Beginning June 5th, YouTube will automatically be implementing a new layout for everyone, they're calling it YouTube One Channel.

Online Press Releases Can Increase SEO
A press release that follows a SEO strategy can be very effective at capturing the public’s attention online.


The “friendlier” bank: real effort or marketing ploy?

Laura Pryor's picture

“Human Banking” is a trend in marketing for financial services.  It is not, as I first surmised, the harvesting and storage of human organs.  I guess I’ve watched a few too many dystopic sci-fi films.

What the term Human Banking refers to is the recent effort by banks to be (or appear) friendlier, more flexible, and more caring than they have in the past.  Extended hours, treats for your dog, reduced fees,  pens without chains—these are just a few of the features now  touted by banks to convince customers that they are nicer than that other bank.

These efforts beg the question: why?  Why do banks suddenly care about appearing friendly?  Bankers have had a less than chummy reputation for decades, since before Mr. Potter put the screws to the citizens of Bedford Falls. Do they suddenly feel guilty for years of icy rigidity? 

In a word, no.  The answer is that, in a struggling economy, competition for customers is tighter than ever.  Low interest rates and stricter regulations on mortgages mean that banks are hard-pressed to differentiate their services from their competitors’.  One bank’s products are pretty much the same as another’s.  The only area for differentiation available: customer service. Hence Human Banking.

TD Bank, a large East Coast concern (headquartered in Canada) with branches in fourteen states, has taken this message to heart.   In their TV spots, they count coins for children, trust you with their pens,   and stay open longer for us working folk.  The slogan:  “It’s time to bank human again.”

Huntington Bank, a Midwestern bank with most of its branches in Ohio and Michigan, has also jumped on the Human Banking bandwagon.  Its radio campaign tells the tale of “Ben the Huntington Banker: the Early Years.”  In each spot, Ben’s parents grouse about their bank’s failings—draconian overdraft policies, fees,  and limited hours—and young Ben vows to someday become a banker and address these issues.  Fast forward 15 years and Ben works at Huntington Bank, instituting policies such as 24-Hour Grace: an extra 24 hours to deposit funds into your account before being charged an overdraft fee. 

While these efforts should be applauded, there seem to be some problems in their implementation.  In a blog post entitled, “Huntington Bank’s 24-hour Disgrace,” Columbus blogger Tom Stone claims that the policy is a scam.  He writes, “They only give you more time if you have an OVERDRAFT. And you only technically have an "OVERDRAFT" if they choose to pay that item rather than RETURN it. When they choose to NOT PAY IT but instead RETURN IT, they do charge you -- the full $37.50.”

Similarly, TD Bank’s Facebook page fields quite a few comments such as ““The worst bank ever! A lot of fees and no customer service” and “Get off my fb.  I have no interest in your propaganda . . . And no, I don't want a free fkn pen.”  (In their defense, there are also some positive comments, such as, “I love this bank.”) 

If you’re handling marketing for a bank or credit union, take the hint: it’s not enough to say you’re a friendly, helpful bank.  You have to follow through.  How’s your bank doing?  Are they living up to their customer service claims . . . or is your bank a bit less than human?


Marketing to moms and social media.

Laura Pryor's picture

If you’re interested in marketing to women, you may be surprised to learn of all the different ways moms use social media.  If your Facebook news feed is cluttered with kids’ artwork, graduation photos and proud report-card posts, the idea that moms use social media is not news to you.   But according to recent studies, it’s not just for bragging anymore.  And it’s not all Facebook and Twitter. 

Sure, moms use Facebook.  In fact, according to a Nielsen study, one out of every three minutes that moms spend online is spent on Facebook—connecting, exploring, and yes, bragging. Young mothers, dealing with dependent infants and toddlers and craving adult interaction, spend a whopping 260% more time on Facebook than the average user.  

But according to a survey conducted by Child’s Play Communications, when moms want or need to buy something, they’re most likely to check out a blog.  According to the moms in the survey, blogs impacted their purchasing decisions more than any other social media platform.    And toy manufacturers, take note: toys were the number one kids’ product purchased by moms as a result of social media recommendations.  If you want to sell something that’s important to moms, start making friends with influential bloggers. 

It’s a mistake, however, to focus on only one form of social media in marketing to moms.  Across all forms—YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Google Plus-- moms are more likely users than the general population. They’re using it on all devices:  phones, tablets, home computers. They’re also handing their tablets and phones over to their kids to keep them quiet in the car or in stores; according to the Nielsen study, 71% of moms who own a tablet let their children use it.  

And just because moms are heavy social media users, it doesn’t mean they’ve abandoned traditional media, either.  Moms still watch TV.  They’re just far more likely than the average viewer to watch it later, by DVR-ing their favorite shows or watching them on Hulu or other sites.  On their tablets. Or their phones.  Or their computers.  Or even their Wii game systems. 

So what does all this data mean for marketing to women?  Any campaign that wants to reach women needs to span across all platforms, and encompass an array of media approaches.   A campaign that shows up on a mom’s phone, tablet, AND computer is more likely to get seen.  Moms are constantly on the move, so expecting to reach them with just one platform is unrealistic.  Got a TV spot? Put it on YouTube.   Put it on your mobile site (you have one, right?) Post the link on Facebook.  Then get some friendly blogger to write about it (and your product).   And so on.  

Given moms’ love of social media, future marketing to women may start with social media and “trickle down” to TV.  Or will TV even be a relevant marketing tool a decade from now?  What do you think? 


The week in review - May 27, 2013.

Ellyn Davidson's picture

Social media is constantly evolving, with vigilant bloggers following every new app, rule and Facebook flicker. We sift through hundreds of blogs weekly to keep on top of developments and seek out new client opportunities. It’s our job. And we like to share. So, don’t fret about what you might be missing. We’ve got your Cliffs Notes. 

Facebook Launches Verified Pages
Much like verified accounts on Twitter, verified Facebook pages will now display a small blue check mark beside their owner's name on the social network.

verified facebook page

Users Can Now Share Photos and Presentations on LinkedIn’s Homepage
LinkedIn added the ability for users to share photos, presentations and documents from the LinkedIn homepage, just as people might already share status messages or links to news stories.

Twitter’s New Ad Exchange Might Be Better Than Facebook’s
The micro-blogging platform is planning to erect an exchange similar to FBX that would let brands retarget people who visit their sites with ads on Twitter, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Creative Brands on Pinterest
Besides contests, there are new ways to engage audiences and build your presence.

Social and Mobile See Biggest Increase in Ad Dollars
Of the 20 major US brands surveyed by the Association of National Advertisers in March 2013, 65% said they were increasing their investments in mobile and 55% were increasing social.


The week in review - May 20, 2013.

Ellyn Davidson's picture

Social media is constantly evolving, with vigilant bloggers following every new app, rule and Facebook flicker. We sift through hundreds of blogs weekly to keep on top of developments and seek out new client opportunities. It’s our job. And we like to share. So, don’t fret about what you might be missing. We’ve got your Cliffs Notes. 

The Social Metrics That Matter
Advertisers can get caught up in numbers – find out which social metrics are really worth monitoring.
Twitter Launches Ad That Allows Marketers to Collect Personal Information
Twitter announced a new kind of Tweet, a Lead Generation Card, designed to allow marketers to easily collect personal information from Twitter users, if they chose to provide it.

Pinterest Partners with Brands
Instead of exclusively linking back to the original source, pins from certain brands will now display information such as recipes, movie reviews and price information.

Pinterest Partners with Brands

Pinterest’s Advertising Future
It’s a good bet Pinterest advertising will be native-looking and centered on commerce.

Ways to Make Your Vines Stand Out
These tips range from technical best practices to creative guidelines to make your Vines really impress a viewer.

Sephora, Women and Technology
The CEO of Sephora speaks on the perception that men are always the early adopters of technology.


Kmart's newest target market: 12-year-old boys.

Lori Bahnmueller's picture

When did Kmart decide to shift its target demo from women—73 percent of whom control household spending (Boston Consulting Group)—to unemployed, middle school-aged boys?

Market estimates about U.S. women’s purchasing prowess varies, ranging anywhere from $5 trillion to $15 trillion annually. My 12-year-old son rarely has enough change in his pockets to cover a fun-sized candy bar. So why has the troubled retailer so wantonly abandoned women in its latest ad campaign?

The campaign kicked off in April with the video “Ship My Pants.” (Go ahead.  Say it out loud for full effect.) Featuring assorted shoppers professing that they had “shipped their pants” to promote Kmart’s Shop Your Way rewards program and its shipping feature, the video has garnered more than 17 million views on You Tube. The viral traffic is impressive, but will it drive store traffic? Doubtful. 

Kmart Ship My Pants Commercial

Kmart followed “Ship My Pants” with the radio commercial “Gas Problem,” a juvenile play on words to market Shop Your Way. The rewards program is a growing loyalty club that offers members benefits, including discounts at participating gas stations.

“If you’re like most people, you suffer from occasional gas problems that prevent you from doing the things you love,” the announcer states delicately, cuing up a series of people who confess to a family history of gas problems, missed dinners out and more. “My gas problem got so bad, I had to cancel a father son camping trip,” says a woeful parent.

Reportedly this is Kmart’s attempt to relate more to shoppers, but to what shoppers? Free shipping isn’t exactly a novel idea, nor are loyalty programs. So once the value proposition has been sifted out of the ads, all that’s left are bathroom jokes to hang the brand on. Not exactly chick magnet material.

Women are poised to control two-thirds of the consumer wealth in the U.S. over the next decade and be the beneficiaries of the largest transfer of wealth in our country’s history, according to Fleishman Hillard Inc. If Kmart wants share of the purse, it’s particularly important that its advertising and marketing resonate with her.

The first step toward creating brand loyalty is grabbing her attention; the second step is retention. The female brain is hard-wired with evolutionary strongholds to create a very specialized customer, according to Nielsen NeuroFocus research.  In other words, it takes a lot more than fart jokes and complimentary shipped shorts to make her take notice.

Women remember more and differently than men do, so talk to both her emotional and rational sides and acknowledge her careful attention to detail, suggests Nielsen NeuroFocus research. Appeal to her heart and her mind with a mix of emotional decision-making opportunities and rational information to increase purchase intent and bolster loyalty.

Finally, accentuate the positive. Eliminate the negative. According to Nielsen NeuroFocus, the female brain is programmed to maintain social harmony, so messaging should be positive and not focus on negative comparisons or associations.

Attention women: What’s your favorite ad campaign today and why?



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