The return of the middleman and the revolution it has sparked

by Chris Fairbairn

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

Our Edinburgh PR Agency inspects the rush to be the interface

SkyscannerTHE FACILITATORS and fixers have emerged from the shadows, and with them appear to have turned the planet well and truly on its axis.

Now relax, we aren’t talking about gangsters, shysters or greedy brokers. Rather, a new breed of 21st Century ‘middlemen’ which turn out to be the fastest growing businesses in the history of the world.

Not too long ago an unaccredited quote circulated on LinkedIn and I’m repeating it here, as it does a rather neat job of encapsulating the so-called interface revolution:

“Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content. Alibaba, the most valuable retailer, has no inventory. And Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate.”

Closer to home this extends to Edinburgh-based flight and hotel comparison service, Skyscanner, whose amazing Quartermile office can be seen in the picture, above. And as you may have figured out by now, it owns no planes.


Ditch your suspicions about Facebook and get social for the good of your business


SkyscannerThese businesses don’t produce anything physical. They buck a trend that started in the industrial revolution and ended, well, about ten years ago – that the largest firms get where they are by producing tangible goods or by having a real person offer you a service.

These new interfaces between the consumer and the provider of the goods or services are in a lucrative position. They don’t have the huge costs of designing, testing or manufacturing the goods. And as often as not the service they provide is actually the work of an algorithm.

Yet they still take a hefty wedge from the millions of consumers that buy through them.  The interface, it would seem, is where the profit is. But here’s the rub: even so-called interface businesses still need to drive massive numbers of new potential customers to their websites, apps or other digital platforms where they perform the, ahem, interface.

Rise of interfaces as a business blogAnd one of the main ways they are doing it is through content. Content on their websites, content on blogs, content on social media, content in banner headlines, content in pop ups. And if they are really successful, content in newspapers, magazines and on TV and radio.

Take a quick jump over to the Skycanner website to see the prodigious amount of content it churns out like its guides to the  world’s 10 cheapest destinations, or the most common holiday arguments couples have, or surprising items you are not allowed in your hand luggage. All of this carefully produced content is repackaged, repurposed and pushed across Skycanner’s Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest channels to name a few.

Likewise, we posted recently about the car service Uber, which was seeking a new communications chief (Check our Uber blog post) to help the business become a household name by telling its stories to the widest possible audience across every imaginable channel.

You’ll find it’s the same at Airbnb and most of the other disruptive new interface businesses. None of which surprises us here at Holyrood PR. It turns out the new breed of middlemen need their stories told every bit as much as the old breed of middlemen did.


It doesn’t take a Rolling Stones tour to reach an audience of four million – just a bit of Social Media and Blog Savvy


Speak to the Edinburgh PR Agency that knows how to get the results that increase your bottom line

In fact, for any business to reach its true potential online it needs to be producing attractive content. Storytelling is at the heart of our Edinburgh public relations agency – and what is more engaging than a good story?

The rise of the interface is impossible to ignore and only seems to be growing as the likes of Uber and Skyscanner eye up expansion. When it comes to those interfaces that thrive on content then make sure your business is doing what it can to reach potential customers.

Get in touch with us on 0131 561 2238 or fill out the form below and we’ll get back to you pronto:

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Subject

Your Message

Please leave this field empty.

Chris Fairbairn of Scottish public relations agency, Holyrood PR in Edinburgh

Chris Fairbairn

Chris Fairbairn is a PR account manager with award-winning public relations agency Holyrood Partnership. He is part of an expert PR team delivering PR services to a wide range of clients from headquarters in Edinburgh, Scotland.

View Chris's Profile

Related Posts

So how can we help?

Benefit from business video

Benefit from business video

Action!

Find out how affordable video can bring a host of benefits to your business.

Make an impact with PR photography

Make an impact with PR photography

Find out more

Every story can be told better with pictures. Discover our affordable, high-impact photo packages.

If you have any comments or questions, please contact us.

GET ON THE PRIORITY LIST

Keep ahead of your oppositions by getting the free tips, insights and secrets we share for businesses. Straight to your inbox, every month.
Email address
First Name
Last Name