The rise of participatory consumption

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When building a brand, it’s very important to pay attention to the market to know what our audience expects from us as a brand. The […]

When building a brand, it’s very important to pay attention to the market to know what our audience expects from us as a brand. The innovations brands are achieving today in the market will determine consumers’ expectations tomorrow. This is why we have to draw inspiration from them to find new paths and ways of accomplishing our brand’s main business, to ensure compliance with our target market’s expectations.

On this occasion we’re going to analyse the “Fuzzynomics” trend, part of this years’ report by Trendwatching, which comes from the increasing control that we as people want to have over what we consume; wanting to design and participate in the production process, leaving passive consumption of products and services behind, increasingly blurring the lines between producer and user. It’s what’s known as the change from consumer to “prosumer”, which has happened as a result of the appearance of P2P buying and selling services, crowdfunding platforms and the on demand economy.

This trend, in addition to satisfying many basic human needs like status, self-expression, importance and control, taps in to human beings’ cooperative nature which has been a key factor in their evolution (cooperating to hunt, grow food, build, etc.). Therefore, the brands that involve their users in the product, service and experience creation process will provide them with a higher degree of satisfaction as well as a stronger bond with the final product.

Below we’ll show you some examples of brands that have used this trend to innovate in the market:

  • Collaboration between users: Bookmycharge is a service allowing electric vehicle owners to share their private charge stations with other users. The participants add their location on an online map and the bookings are done on the platform.
  • Collaboration between brands: this past October, Airbnb announced it was partnering with the global coworking brand “WeWork“. So during the launch the corporate clients of Airbnb could access the WeWork location closest to their rented flat or room in order to use the workspace, WiFi, printer and conference rooms.
  • On demand personalisation: Lyft and Disney jointly launched an on demand transport service (Minnie Vans) for 6 passengers to get to any location on the resort. This way, the users could design their own route around the resort without depending on the pre-established ones that don’t adapt to what they want/need.
  • User participating in the decision making process: in 2017 the potato crisp brand Walkers carried out a campaign in the United Kingdom which got the consumers to participate in the decision on the variety of flavours. “Choose Me or Lose Me” was the name of the online voting done to find out which flavours Walkers consumers preferred, with traditional flavours facing off against popular ones from other countries.
  • Adapt the product to the type of customer: the English insurance firm Zego offers pay-as-you go insurance for delivery people and messengers on demand, responding to the exponential growth of these services due to the proliferation of platforms like Deliveroo, Glovo, etc. This way messengers can pay for insurance only during working hours.


This move to “Fuzzynomics” participatory consumption is going to keep growing and evolving in every aspect of brand-user relations. It’s now time to consider how you can apply this trend to get closer to your brand’s audience and innovate in your sector.

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