From one night stands to everlasting love


From one night stands to everlasting love

Stuart Aitken

“I was wondering which forward-thinking agency would contact me first about GDPR. Well done to Digitas” - Tricia Wang  

Tricia Wang

A digital reset button

Global technology ethnographer Tricia Wang led the way by describing GDPR as “a digital reset button - the opportunity to realign profit and purpose”. For Tricia, there is a problem at the very heart of big data: “It turns people into avatars and doesn’t understand them and their networks”. Rather, Tricia prefers what she calls “thick data”, the “precious data from humans that cannot be quantified”. By seeking to understand this sort of data, Tricia argued, companies can move from being company-centric to customer-centric. GDPR is therefore a timely opportunity for brands to re-think their relationship with data and re-examine where true value and insight comes from.

The age of the data native business

These themes were also explored by our own Strategy Partner Ed Beard. Ed’s interest lies in the extent to which data can help to form, improve and cement relationships. He’s been researching this area for some time, running a panel of over 500 people and analysing the results using our Relationship Archetype Tool, our proprietary research tool that gives us insight into a brand’s most valuable customer relationships. For Ed, the post GDPR age will be dominated by what he calls “data native businesses”, that is businesses - like Spotify, Netflix and YouTube - who have come of age in the “data everywhere age”. Ed argued that we all have much to learn from these brands who prove that the more obvious you can be about the benefits your customers will experience from exchanging their data, the stronger their emotional involvement will be. These business, argued Ed, are able to quickly reward their customers for sharing their data, and as a result they will flourish - rather than flounder - in a post-GDPR world.

The catalyst to transform businesses

Ending the day, John Mitchison, Director of Policy & Compliance at the DMA sought to allay fears that GDPR represented a major change in policy. John was keen to point out that the new legislation has not come out of nowhere and should be looked at as an extension of current legislation. “This is evolution not revolution” he argued. Picking up on some of the key themes of the day, John closed the day by arguing: “UK businesses should seize upon GDPR as the catalyst to transform their businesses into human-centric ones. They should use the GDPR framework as the foundation for an authentic and transparent relationship with their customers.” 

Throughout the afternoon we were reminded time and again that better relationships lead to business growth. We believe that GDPR is an opportunity for brands to build these more meaningful bonds - and that can only be good for everyone. 

Stuart Aitken

Stuart Aitken


As Head of Brand & Content at Digitas UK, Stuart is responsible for seeking out the most compelling narratives from across Digitas‘s UK businesses, identifying marketplace trends for comment and managing the Digitas brand across internal and external channels as well as social media platforms. He is also responsible for planning and providing editorial guidance for key Digitas events such as the annual thought leadership showcase NewFront.


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