Keiretsu is a Japanese term that refers to an informal grouping of businesses with interlocking relationships and shareholdings. These partnerships are designed to aid and improve each individual business and there are many powerful ones in Japan. For example, Toshiba, Sony, Fujifilm and Suntory Whiskey are part of one Keiretsu. Sapporo Brewery, Nissan, Yamaha and Canon are another.
What does Keiretsu have to do with owned media? Well, nothing right now. But, let’s take a look in the crystal ball and combine an old-world Japanese business paradigm with the latest in technology – Blockchain.
No one seems to know the full possibilities of Blockchain technology, but most everyone agrees that there is a huge potential for it to completely change the way value is derived and exchanged. What the internet did for information, Blockchain will do for value. Possibly. Maybe. We hope…
Blockchain will allow for the rapid exchange of value in a totally transparent and accountable way. It doesn’t sound that sexy on the face of it, but the applications are extraordinary.
So now, imagine an owned media Keiretsu of otherwise unrelated businesses, who see value in one another’s customers and media assets. They allow the members of this carefully selected Keiretsu to leverage the combined owned media channels and data to respectively grow their businesses. All of it underpinned by the unarguable truth of Blockchain. They don’t pay cash money for the media or data they access, they use tokens. These tokens become increasingly valuable as they use the media and data to greater enterprise effect.
And what if the marketers, not the businesses, “owned” the tokens? What if they took them to the organisations they worked for? Suddenly the value of the marketer is not just about their “job”, but the tokens and, therefore, access they bring to an organisation.
At Sonder, we see a future where like minded brands and marketers will form Keiretsu relationships based around the sharing of audience and customer data. It already occurs, albeit in a one dimensional and basic way, as a by-product of partnerships. Just look at the airlines and the list of partners they have for their frequent flyer programs, or the banks and their credit card reward partners.
Keiretsu and Blockchains. History and technology. The fusing of old and new. This is where the potential to create sustainable, valuable technologies resides and where the future of media awaits.