Brands under pressure, the impact of digital

With the increase in the use of new digital technologies, brand practitioners now have the possibility to capture more information about their prospects and customers than ever before. In a global review of data-driven marketing, GlobalDMA and Winterberry Group surveyed more than 3,000 marketing professionals and found that nearly all recognize the importance of data in marketing. The focus of data-driven marketing varies, but the most important is to better target offerings, messages and content. Also data plays an role in product development, optimization of the customer experience and target audience analytics. This is probably just the beginning. With the “internet of things”, our clothes, furniture and kitchen appliances are becoming digitally connected and the amount of data gathered will explode.

One of the big issues for brands is how they can gather data and, at the same time, give people an acceptable level of the privacy. There are many examples of brands meeting challenges in this area. Facebook is holding back from launching its photo-sharing app Moments in Europe because of regulators’ concerns about its use of facial recognition. The Norwegian Consumer Council lodged a complaint about Apple to the Norwegian regulators claiming that users are left without legal rights within the terms and conditions of Apple’s iCloud service. A few years ago, two researchers at Carnegie Mellon calculated that it would take about 76 work days a year if one where to read the privacy policies of all the unique websites one visits during a year.

We think the services we use online are for free, but the truth is that we are paying the price with our privacy.

The question we discussed in the Action Lab on ‘Brands under pressure, the impact of digital’ was: how can brands with a conscience (link: both take advantage of data-driven marketing and at the same time respect people’s privacy, and are these two approaches even possible to unite?

The answer to the latter question is most likely yes –they can be united. But brands need to be conscientious and some important points raised by the participants in the group where:

  • Companies should inform us what data is being gathered and how it will be used
  • The way people are asked for information should be easy to understand and presented in a clear language
  • Brands gathering the data need to have clear and strict security policies
  • Brands should be transparent on how they use and monetize on the data
  • Brands should try to create value with the minimum of data necessary and not collect all the data they can
  • Brands should check and discuss their data gathering practices with auditors and/or customer user groups

Also, the issue was raised that there needs to be good and clear global regulation on these issues.

The passion in the Action Lab debate regarding this stands as a witness to the importance and relevance of this topic. What do you think are the important points brands need to consider?


Magnus Finset SørdalBrands under pressure, the impact of digital

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