The “Survival of the Giggest” was a presentation put on by Edelman Seattle discussing the emergence and success of the gig economy (a.k.a. the sharing economy) and how companies outside of the gig economy can remain competitive with this new sector. The gig economy taps into the upcoming generation’s need for convenient and accessible business platforms they can contribute to and engage with.
What sets gig economy services — such as Uber, Airbnb and Postmates — apart from traditional businesses is their ability to provide convenience and customization, as well as foster trust with customers. These gig economy businesses are connecting with the younger generation more effectively than ever before by leveraging the following best practices:
Today’s consumer wants goods and services instantaneously and at the touch of a button. As the upcoming generation of workers reaches adulthood, this “apptimization” of businesses is becoming the norm. Companies are tapping into the trend by creating options for customers to engage with their business in the most convenient ways. Amazon first redefined e-commerce, and is now targeting the grocery industry with the opening of their first drive-in grocery store in Seattle. The drive towards convenience, and ultimate productivity, is driving innovation across all industries.
Millennials grew up coding HTML to make their MySpace profiles unique, and they crave similar ownership in their customer experience today. What is now being called Generation DIY will reward the businesses that curate experiences with them the most. On gig economy platforms, customers can customize everything from the Uber car to their Postmates order, a strategy that traditional companies can also use to their advantage. For example, Coca-Cola marketed bottles with individual names printed on them, and saw a two percent increase in sales.
Actively Listen and Respond to Customer Feedback
The 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer shows consumers are looking for businesses to actively listen to their needs. Gig economy platforms excel at making their consumers feel heard. For instance, Uber passengers are prompted to rate their experience, and Airbnb guests have the opportunity to provide feedback after their stay. When a consumer gives a poor rating, often times the company will work to rectify the issue immediately. Through listening and responding to customers, companies resolve problems, foster two-way communication and ultimately strengthen relationships and build trust.
Partner with Gig Economy Brands
This year, Taco Bell partnered with Airbnb to provide the ultimate “SteakCation.” Contest winners were invited to spend the night in a Taco Bell store, where they could enjoy a full menu, including the new Steak Doubledilla. Thus, Taco Bell could reach its intended target audience, as Airbnb has the desired target audience, and promote one of its new products in a fun, innovative and memorable way. Brand partnerships provide an opportunity for traditional companies to get involved in the gig economy and connect with Millennials and Generation Z.
Make Employees Brand Ambassadors
The 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer found that nearly one in three employees don’t trust their employer, and more than two-thirds feel CEOs are too focused on short-term performance. As a result, employees are far less likely to say positive things about the company they work for. These findings are vital for the success of these emerging platforms since the Uber driver and the AirBnB host are the only person the customer interacts with. Uber is seeing fallout from their workforce as drivers world-wide are demanding employee benefits, and gig-like platforms emerge throughout other industries they will need to empower their employees so they can well-represent their companies.
Callie N’Diaye is an intern with Edelman Digital in Seattle.
Michael Smith is an intern with Edelman in Seattle.