Examples of Platform Thinking
Most of us know and love Nestle’s Nespresso products. Before the Nespresso revolution, the standard single-product approach was to sell coffee through retail, either pre-packaged or takeaway. Nespresso changed all that by taking their products and moving sideways.
They created a series of branded capsules and coffee machines with complementary accessories such as crockery sets, capsule organisers, even coffee-scented candles; and distributed them via direct channels to hotels, businesses, retailers and consumers.
The Google Chrome web browser is another example. The stand-alone product would be a web browser that just operates on one device and doesn’t even know if you own other devices (think Internet Explorer).
A more platform-oriented approach, like Google Chrome, is a browser that knows your bookmarks and your browsing history across all your devices, allowing you to pick up exactly where you left off from device to device.
You can also extend the functionality of the browser with a suite of third-party extensions (similar to apps for your smartphone) to enhance your browsing experience, such as a presentation viewer to view slideshows or a reader to read large chunks of text.
The browser can also be applied to different scenarios/product lines. For example, Chromebooks are super-cheap ‘light’ PCs with minimal memory and hard disk capacity, which only allows you to browse the web or run web applications.
Want more articles like this? Check out the business marketing section.
How can Platform Thinking benefit your business?
- Better opportunities for recurring revenue and growth
You can have your core product(s) earning income in many different ways.
- Expanded brand
Since you’re solving multiple problems, you will get more exposure and recognition, possibly in different markets.
Chances are your competition isn’t thinking sideways. And even if they are, there are many different approaches to take when building platforms. There’s no one-size-fits-all.
How to get started with Platform Thinking
- Think sideways by thinking of other uses, applications and benefits that your product can provide in different contexts.
- Try breaking your product down into individual components that can be sold separately, however, remember that they should complement each other beautifully when combined.
- Consider complementary partnerships. Who else can already stand on your shoulders to improve their own products?
- Consider alternative distribution methods for your product.
- Start with a basic prototype and test your thinking as early as possible. Solicit feedback and continue tweaking before rolling out your platform more broadly.
As you can see, Platform Thinking is not only profitable, but it can help you rise above your competitors. Happy platforming!
What are your thoughts on Platform Thinking?