What are Platforms?

By definition, platform has two meanings. First, it is a declaration and documentation of a point of view, for example a political party’s platform. Second, it’s a physical base structure that can hold people, things and be built upon. This second meaning of platform has evolved in the digital era to be technology-based, with the most successful companies creating a digital space that can hold people and be built upon.  

Historically, brands have thought about themselves as the first definition, a declaration of who they are and what they stand for, a one to many conversation that worked well in the world of broadcast media.  However, in the age of digital transformation, brands need to shift their thinking and become a foundation for the ecosystem that surrounds them, allowing for connection and growth through the brand. No longer will it be enough for a brand’s two-way conversation to exist only via responding on social media. Brands must invite their consumers in, creating a physical or digital space that can drive connections among all - a many to many conversation - a platform.

Platforms are at the core of successful digital transformation. They enable more fluid connections and relationships within existing ecosystems, i.e. marketplaces or networks. The best platforms ease friction, and result in driving growth within these ecosystems by elevating the value of each party.