Last week saw the launch of the COMMON marketplace: a potentially revolutionary approach to branding and an economic game changer.

COMMON is the brainchild of American advertising hero Alex Bogusky and, amongst others, designer John Bielenberg, who spoke at WDCD13.

COMMON consists of three parts: one part business incubator for social entrepreneurship, one part collaborative brand to which small local entrepreneurs can link in, and one part marketplace where entrepreneurs can sell their socially responsible goods and services to consumers.

With the incubator and collaborative brand already being rolled out, its final part, COMMON marketplace, has gone live last week.

Four years ago Alex Bogusky, partner of advertising agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky, was at the height of his career, bringing ‘coolness’ to brands like Burger King and Microsoft. Until one day he realized that all the tricks that used to work were no longer working.

The consumer was being taken for a fool in his beloved free market economy. Knowing that the consumer is actually the most powerful force in the economy, he switched sides and started an exploration of a new type of social contract between brands and consumers. A way of branding that delivers value to the 99%.

COMMON aims to establish a business model in which the value of a brand does not only accrue to the brand itself, but to its customers and society as a whole as well.

Whether the business model and the ideals it is based on will work as intended by Bogusky c.s. remains to be seen over the coming months, but with COMMON marketplace we have front-row seats at a new laboratory for branding.

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