The Age of You

The Age of You

Big data only has real value if the data becomes personal.

A business may understand its consumers’ interactions or shopping habits with their brand, but to really gain insight we have to understand the complete picture of the person as an individual across multiple categories. Data from our shopping helps businesses understand our purchasing habits; data on our activity levels helps businesses understand our health; and data on our spending helps businesses understand our financial well-being. All of these individual data points have some value, however their combination helps us to understand a much more complete world that could encompass nutrition, life expectancy and financial planning, and, more importantly, where we can make improvements to our lives. This has value for both businesses and the general public. Consumers recognise this and that it’s the only way their data can be connected. However, they will only grant access to such high levels of insight to brands they trust and want to engage with.

Social media is also at play here. As we ‘market’ ourselves as personal brands on social networking sites, the methods we use are often as intricate as brand building in the commercial world. For someone to publically share an affinity with brands in what is becoming an increasingly transparent world will come to be much more exacting and less arbitrary. To really earn that endorsement from consumers and be declared as ‘their brand’, businesses will have to work much harder to gain their consumers’ trust and approval.

The source of this movement has its basis in social, political, economic and technological factors. In general, people want to see a shift in the balance of power between themselves and the brands they engage with, and technology has speeded up that process. Astute brands have recognised this and are taking steps to close the gap between their consumers’ aspirations and the way their business may have acted in the past.

At Interbrand, we often use the metaphor ‘cars and horses’. There was a time when cars and horses could happily co-exist on the streets. However, we look back at this now in wonderment as the image seems strikingly odd. In hindsight, we can see that the car was always going to win, even if, as Henry Ford famously proclaimed, people thought they wanted ‘faster horses’. At Interbrand, we see that businesses currently exist in a similar two speed economy. However, we can forecast that the businesses who truly have the ambition to put their consumers in control during the forthcoming ‘Age of You’ will continue to own the brands that will be with us for years to come.

Jez Frampton Global Chief Executive Officer Interbrand
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