brand cliques

So I started noticing brand cliques a few years ago. You know, cliques of companies that cross-promote/subsidize/whatever their products/services. United Airlines gives you miles if you pay with Visa. Solar City gives you a better deal if you participate in Community Supported Agriculture. That kinda thing. As brands develop strategic relationships with each other (United with Visa) and competing brands develop functionally comparable relationships to each other (United with Visa, American with MasterCard), it becomes possible to envision ecosystems of products/services, replete with different forms of symbiosis – mutualism, parasitism, and commensalism. And it becomes possible to envision value-based ecosystems of products/services – for example, since I mentioned Solar City and CSAs, based on the value of environmental sustainability. In fact, this is especially relevant for sustainability, which requires the kind of systems change that would be enabled by ecosystems of sustainable products/services. So come on Solar City, CSAs, City CarShare, etcetera, etcetera: make friends.

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