The Next Evolution of Peer Power: Peer Armies

Peer to Peer, also referred to as P2P, has changed the way businesses function as well as changed the way consumers interact with businesses. Peer-to-Peer buying, selling, renting and sharing have given consumers the ability to do things like share rides to work, get cheaper and faster access to jewelry, garden tools, and everything in between. Like any new idea, it can always be improved upon, or in this case, it can also result in serious backlash. P2P businesses are in an uphill battle right now as there are concerns of how their models affect worker welfare, rights and remunerations – *Cough* Uber *cough* *cough*. Although backlash continues to ensue for some P2P businesses, others are capitalizing on current trends and creating new trends for their businesses. Each P2P business has become its own animal. How these trends came about and how they are continuing to evolve is something we can dive deeper into below.

Peer Armies are the next evolution of peer power.

As instant gratification from technology, social media, and the online world is continuing to make our generation perpetually impatient, P2P has filled this void for businesses so that consumers now also have instant access to networks of peers, their resources, services and knowledge. And it is here to stay. This remodeled consumerism is democratizing the way business is done. In other words, we are able to improve the lives of everyone, not just a select few. Peer armies give rise to a trilogy of mutually benefitting relationships: good for the brand, good for the army, and food for consumers.

A look into how these P2P trends are coming about.

      Creating Meaning From Consumerism

    People want things that make them feel good about themselves. People also want things that also make them part of a larger, mutually beneficial collective. This trend is morphing from passive consumerism to active consumerism.

      Disruption of Work That Drives Inequality

    Although many P2P’s working towards this mutually benefiting model of consumerism, a recent analysis done by JP Morgan Chase, February 2016, has confirmed that the P2P economy is still working to better the lives of the rich and tarnishing those who are offering their labor. P2P businesses are still working towards a more positive consumerism, but it will take time as new trends business models do.

      Informal Economy Becomes Widespread

    Digital technology is revolutionizing informal, decentralized, cash-based services.

Trends are continuing to evolve the world of P2P.

Looking to launch a P2P business? One way to do it is by creating your very own Peer Army. Start by recruiting your super fans, ordinary customers, users, or anyone else already engaging with you. Take Airbnb for example. In October 2015, Airbnb piloted Journeys, a 3-5 customized travel program in San Francisco. Customers were able to select from a list of accommodations and excursions specifically catered to SF’s nightlife, foodie scene, and natural landscape. Those hosting accommodations were asked to be tour guides for their visitors. Those who hosted became Airbnb’s Peer Army! Airbnb’s hosts were able to share their knowledge of the city they live in and the visitors were able to enjoy an authentic and local experience in the city they were visiting.

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