What is your “freesumer” business model?

16 March 2009

Saw this Kutiman music video flying around twitter last week, it’s amazing, not just for the concept but because I think it encompasses some of the key pillars of youth marketing – it’s creative, collective, and just cool.

Really it just comes down to talent, Kutiman is obviously a good musician in his own right, however this ultimate sampling remix is the manifestation of how youth consume in general — streaming, sampling, and SHOCK even pirating.

Whether we like it or not, the internet  model of giving “things” away for free is steering a major consumer macrotrend, and those in the connected generation are the captains of this “Freesumerism”. This YouTube sensation highlights how free doesn’t necessarily mean giving up quality, free can be premium. With more than 1 million views in 1-week (no advertising, no marketing, so SEO), it also highlights how value-add offers drive WOM – they got it for free, why not share it with friends.

So how does this materialse into revenue driving business models? There are heaps of examples that capitalise on notions of “free”. For example McDonald’s and Telstra have announced plans to provide free WiFi in 710 locations in Australia by March 2009, making it the country’s largest distributor of free internet. What a great example of brands combining forces to provide a value-add for customers. Or the subscription services model, which we are seeing emerge surrounding music distribution. With Nokia’s Comes With Music, for a few dollars per month you get access to millions of tracks for free.  Even the good old fashioned Gift With Purchase is getting a face lift – there was a recent promotion with the Commonwealth Bank and bandit.fm offering $20 per month of downloads to account holders of CBA’s new Smart Access card. This may look like a GWP promo and is in a lot of ways, but it extends the GWP concept of a throwaway token item to provide real value and good experiences to customers.

There are many more models, and many more creative examples, and as I don’t work for any of the above mentioned companies can’t speak on the business success of these specific examples. What is important however is to recognise is there is a shift in the notion of value, especially when marketing to the uber-consumers of Gen Y, so if none of these will work in your business structure no worries, sure there is one that will.

So, what is your “freesumer” business model?

NB for more information on Freesumerism check out LS:N (paid subscription required). I recently attended a Future Trends Lab they put on and discussed this macro-trend in detail, really insightful.

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2 Responses to “What is your “freesumer” business model?”

  1. Meghan Stuyvenberg

    Apparently a hot topic today – also check out my colleague Ryan Peal’s post on No Doubt giving away music as a strategy (http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/) – another good example of both the trend that is driving it as well as artists as a brand leveraging it.

  2. Collective Conversation » Creativity in Public Relations » Blog Archive » Year of Free Continues As Arby’s Serves Up “Upset Burgers”

    [...] away 1 million free subs last month too.  And my colleague Meghan, a youth marketing guru, also recently highlighted other free offers popping up across multiple [...]

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