The Platformization of Brands

Julian Wichmann, Nico Wiegand, Werner J. Reinartz

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Digital platforms that aggregate products and services, such as Google Shopping or Amazon, have emerged as powerful intermediaries to brand offerings, challenging traditional product brands that have largely lost direct access to consumers. As a countermeasure, several long-established brands have built their own flagship platforms to resume control and foster consumer loyalty. For example, sports brands like Nike, adidas, or ASICS launched tracking and training platforms that allow for ongoing versatile interactions among participants beyond product purchase. The authors analyze these emerging platform offerings, whose potential brands struggle to exploit, and provide guidance for brands that aim to platformize their business. This guidance comprises the conceptualization of digital platforms as places of consumer crowdsourcing (i.e., consumers drawing value from platform participants such as the brand, other consumers, or third-party businesses) and crowdsending (i.e., consumers providing value to platform participants) of products, services, and content along with a well-defined framework that brands can apply to assemble different types of flagship platforms. Evaluating the consequences of crowdsourcing and crowdsending for consumer–platform relationships, the authors derive a typology of archetypical relationship states and develop a set of propositions to help offline-born product brands thrive through platformization.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-131
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Marketing
Issue number1
Early online date7 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


  • Digital platforms
  • Platform assemblage
  • Building blocks
  • Relationship marketing
  • Product brands
  • Digital transformation


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