Today the world is dominated by platforms: GAFA. Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon.

European companies are in a difficult situation because the eastern and western companies are succeeding while they struggle to keep up.

One solution is to travel to broaden our horizons. Digital thinkers tend to travel to silicon valley to learn from the companies there.

Their main takeaways do not change much more than what’s at the surface. The real learning is that what makes them different is the customer access. These 4 platforms are controlling customer access.

Then what can we do? Five ways to beat them

1. Go Horizontal

Zalando, 8Bn valuation.

They have been expanding their offer to include other areas, not just shoes anymore, also fashion, beauty and more. It’s a way for them to pay back the customer acquisition cost.

Uber expanded in the same logic with Uber Black, Uber Pop, Uber eats.

2. Retain your customer

It’s a logic step after we paid so much to acquire a customer to try to retain him/her as best as possible. A simple way to do this is a subscription model, like Dollar Shave Club and gym memberships.

It’s simple CRM but there are few examples of good CRM.

3. Stand Out

Look for creative ways to make your brand stand out.

Naketano, they are building a world class brand on the back of sexual innuendo product naming.

  • Products
  • CEO as a brand

4. Digital PR

We have to do PR in a whole different way. An example was the Tesla car put on a rocket and sent to mars. It produced a lot of traffic and earned media for Tesla.

This is a way to drive attention in this day and age.

Decoding Elon Musk

  • Frequency of tweets, 3 a day.
  • Absurdity
  • Agenda setting, he talks about the hot topics that are strategic for him.
  • Authenticity

The result, Tesla is mentioned 6th as one of most innovative companies by German managers. VW was not mentioned at all.

VW is the fifth company spending more in R&D, while Tesla is at 171. The PR stunts and communication skewed our perception of reality.


Apple is clearly the most effective company in running events and having people talk about them during the following weeks.

5. Be agile on all platforms

Google shopping

A company was able to get a better CTR with their photo for white sneakers.

Agile on mobile

Selling a shirt on amazon or instagram means a CPO of 8€. But on instagram you are able to ask for twice as much in price.

CPO on Instagram and Amazon are equally expensive. But people on IG will pay twice as much for your products. 🤔😲 #spark @FalconIO

— @Lemberg on twitter

Agile on facebook

Groups. True fans create groups for you and there is room to leverage them.

Agile on brick and mortar shops

A champagne bar used a street art graffiti that draws in customers to take instagram photos.