Brands Weigh Up Their Social Role

Our current model of consumerism is broken. That is no new insight, nor is it a bad thing. Few of the late high street shops will be sorely missed, from Comet to HMV to that trader in nostalgia, Past Times (BBC, 2013). The value they brought was short-lived. Indeed, according to a survey by Havas Media (Havas Media, 2013), most people would not care if more than 73 per cent of brands disappeared tomorrow. At the same time, we are seeing the rise of the sharing economy, facilitated by a new generation of web-based giants. Jeremy Rifkin, President of the Foundation on Economic Trends, heralds a new economic era, in which people share goods and services so widely that the cost per unit is negligible, and access to them is virtually free (all you need is your smartphone). What is more, he believes this could lead to unprecedented efficiency in society, where desires are met with minimal draw on resources thanks to a waste-free circular economy and renewable energy sources. A fine vision!