Constructing Meaning and Value for Markets
Intermediaries are entities—individuals or organizations—that do not have a direct economic stake in the value of goods. Intermediaries can either reinforce and confirm prevailing conventions of appropriateness and value or challenge and change them. The second option results in market creation as value conventions and norms are changed. Pioneer intermediaries may have the greatest potential to effect cultural change; because they are evaluators and endorsers with no economic incentive in the market, their discourse is more credible than that of producers and therefore more influential in changing culture. However, doing business as an intermediary is difficult because, by definition, they cannot capture the value they construct. Intermediaries have to adopt complex two-sided business models and face challenges in balancing revenues with relevance and managing a dual identity. Despite this, the potential for broad cultural impact is an attractive aspect of being an intermediary.
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