Start Me Up

This generation has seen numerous new business models that are constantly stirring up the way companies work. Not only do some of these innovative startups experience success for themselves, but they also have exponential power to change legacy businesses. Large corporations are left to look like shameless copycats, thoughtful borrowers, or clever reinterpretationists. Of course, there is never anything new under the sun. The origins of these disruptive business models are quite difficult to trace, but their stamp on mainstream commerce is undeniable.

Here are three examples of how the mighty are taking cues from those who were never told they had rules to follow.

Instant, Free On-Demand
Hulu and others came along to give complete control to the viewer to watch their favorite shows. For free. And of course, you can add the subscription to get even more options. You have to believe that Amazon was paying attention when adding instant videos to their paying Prime subscribers. Sort of Free. Hulu also delivers a superior experience in terms of design and browsing interface. Amazon is no stranger to disrupting the marketplace. Walmart certainly can tell you that. It begs the question, how can they get out in front of the next innovative offering instead of saying, "us too."

Crowd Sharing
I am pretty sure Enterprise is the first car rental company to learn from the crowd sharing Zipcar model. I have a hunch they won't be the last. They have just launched Enterprise CarShare. Zipcar asks us to "Imagine a world with one million fewer cars on the road." They go on to say, "Each and every Zipcar takes 15 personally-owned vehicles off the road." In turn, Enterprise CarShare echoes, "Help your planet and your wallet. Each car you share with Enterprise CarShare takes 15 cars off the road…" Enterprise has always had this same fleet of cars. In a crowded and homogenous industry, coming out with this concept first could have served to radically differentiate them from the competition. As it is, they simply look as though they are the first limping in.

One for One.
When Toms came to market, the the world paid attention. Not long after, it seemed like everyone was jumping on the One-for-One bandwagon. Glasses, Toothbrushes, bottled water, and nutrition packs. And now, Walgreens "Get a shot. Give a Shot." program is a philanthropic initiative that promises to provide a life-saving vaccine to children who need it most whenever you get a flu shot or immunization. For someone concerned about making a difference in the world, this reality is a dream come true. Not only did entrepreneurial effort take shape, methods of social enterprise and benevolence spread rapidly.

What can your brand learn from these business models?
What innovative ideas have risen in your industry that have made you think, "if only I would have thought of that?"
What break through concept can you develop to continue to strengthen the relevance of your brand?