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Welcome to the era of data native businesses

Digitas

Ed Beard

Welcome to the era of data native businesses

The clock is ticking. In 73 days, our world will change. GDPR will be upon us. We’ve been talking about it for what seems like forever. But what does it really mean? How much will the world really change? And, crucially, what are we all going to do differently in 73 days?

Beyond new regulations and processes, what will GDPR mean for customers? It’s there, ultimately, to protect and empower them, now that there’s data pretty much everywhere. So, how can we tap into this to gain competitive advantage, at the same time as making life better for those who ultimately pay our salaries?

The data value exchange

At Digitas we frequently try to unpick and unpack the various emotional relationships people have with brands. And then we think about how we foster meaningful and reciprocal relationships with customers – driven ultimately by data. We’ve used our Relationship Archetype Tool to probe 500 people and discover how they feel about brands according to the different ways in which data surfaces in the relationship.

What we’re beginning to see is a grouping of what we choose to call "Data Native Businesses". They have come of age in the "data everywhere" era, and have been built with data at their foundations. The data they use benefits customers as much as it benefits them. The value exchange between brand and customer is clear: the more data customers put in, the better the experience they get. 

We’re all familiar with network effects, where the value of a product or service increases according to the number of others using it. 

In our eyes, we are now clearly beginning to see "data effects". When these are present, a customer’s perceived value of a particular product or service increases according to the amount of data they provide.

So who are these Data Native Businesses who are unlocking the power of data effects? Think about Spotify and Netflix. From a customer’s perspective on day one, they are basically massive libraries. But the more you watch and listen, the better the recommendations, the more you watch and listen, and so on.

New rules of engagement

What our research clearly shows us is that the more obvious brands are about the customer benefits of providing data, the happier their customers are to provide more data. In the case of Netflix, it’s really clear: "Because you watched Peppa Pig…" "Because you watched Blue Planet…" and so on. No-one’s going to feel funny about providing that form of data, because the benefit is clear.

As ever, necessity is the mother of invention. Those who get the fact that they need to change the rules of engagement have a lot to learn from these Data Native Businesses. This belief in putting data at the heart of your business and making the value exchange blatantly obvious to people will help brands flourish in a post-GDPR world. 

That’s why GDPR is really an opportunity. It’s going to change the way brands work.

Ed Beard

Ed Beard

Strategy Partner, CRM AT Digitas

Ed is recognised as one of the leading strategic thinkers in customer engagement and experience. Being a one-time client and BBC World journalist, Ed has a rich and varied background that enables him to find innovative solutions to clients’ challenges. Ed became our Strategy Partner, CRM in 2015 and is instrumental in generating insight about people’s relationships with brands and bringing value to businesses and their customers such as HSBC, E.ON and AstraZeneca.

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