Populism is Good for Emerging Brands
In a recent article from TechCrunch, author Ryan Caldbeck noted that in three categories, Food & Beverage, Health & Beauty and Quick Serve Restaurants, large brands are losing significant market share to emerging brands. Caldbeck notes that consumers, now more than ever, seek out and research brands that meet individual needs. Helping drive this trend, he says, is that competitive barriers to communication and distribution have decreased allowing emerging brands reach those consumers with scale.
While the subject of the Caldbeck article focused on large companies and their shift from innovation to M&A to drive growth, my take-away was that for small brands and start-ups, this is an exciting time. Not only have consumer adoption habits changed in their favor, but the resurgence of the “big is bad” populist movement gives them a positive cultural moment. Taking advantage of this moment is the challenge.
Specifically, balancing budgets while accelerating growth continues to be a struggle for the new brand.
There is another populist-type movement that could help emerging brands however. That movement is the growth of the freelance sector. In the latest official survey conducted by Edelman Berland on behalf of the Freelancers Union, more than 53 million Americans are doing some sort of freelance work. Up from only 10.3 million in 2005, this represents an increase of over 400%.
A work category that used to be dominated by creative services – graphic artists, copywriters, make-up artists, etc. – now offers skills across almost every kind of work, skill and experience level a company might need. Freelancers could be the answer for emerging brands to acquire the skills they need to drive growth; when, how and for a cost that works.