Data could make you or break you.
DATA COULD MAKE YOU OR BREAK YOU
By Rodolfo Roman, freelance writer for the Miami Herald
When United States President Barack Obama ran to keep his seat in 2012, one thing helped him stay in the White House: Data. But now the golden glow of Data has lost its shine thanks to former CIA and NSA employee Eric Snowden.
At the Festival of Media Latam in Miami, Dominique Delport, Global Managing Director of Havas Media Group, impressed the crowd at the Fontainebleau Hotel with a keynote speech titled, “The Data dilemma: from data driven campaigns to data scandals”.
Delport dealt with some gritty realities, but also kept a more humorous tone throughout his presentationwith one his first slides reading “from Yes We Can to Yes We Scan”.
Havas Media Group’s Global MD reminded us that as soon as President Obama won the first time around back in 2008, his team went to work on the 2012 campaign. He hired an analytics department five times as large as that of the 2008 operation. Delport argues that Obama’s camp set a new standard in reaching out to electors through data and it is this lesson that must be taken into consideration by businesses if they want to become relevant to the way we now live.
On a personal level, I love the idea of more data – it would have been much easier for me when I used to sell magazines over the phone. I remember reading off sheets and my boss would buy leads for sellers at a huge cost. Now people buy e-mail and Twitter accounts. Just imagine how much people would know your brand if say singer Lady Gaga were to tweet something about your product to her more than 40 million followers?
But the downside of using data is now out for all to see. Here in the United States, it seems to me we have already lost much of our privacy. It’s as if we are constantly being recorded for a new reality show, but without financial benefits or fame. Ever since the September 11 tragedy, the United States government has been cautious and technology – as it has improved our lives – has also converted our lives into an open book, especially for the government. Not to say this is a bad thing, but it definitely comes at a cost.
This cost was perfectly summed up in one of Delport’s presentation slides showing Arianna Huffington, president and editor in chief of The Huffington Post Media Group that read: “How often do I have sex? That’s between me and the NSA”.
Many have accepted that the government collects data to protect its citizens, but others feel that the land of freedom has been taken away. Not everyone in the world has supported the U.S. method of protecting its citizens using data – Brazil’s president Dilma Rousseff said the surveillance was a breach of international law.
Whatever my views are on this subject there is one thing that Delport articulated throughout his speech – whether you like it or not, Data is here to stay and if businesses don’t manage it – they had better get ready. With trust in brands at an all-time low, this is something they cannot afford to ignore. (Just look at the top line results of Havas Media Group’s Meaningful Brands which demonstrates the low levels of trust in brands throughout the world).
On the flipside, if you do embrace it – the opportunities are endless.
As Delport pointed out, there is a new era for marketing thanks to social data, but only through working on a new deal can we build meaningful connections.
He called this “people data” – saying to the audience that brands need to understand Data in the context of people – and failure to fully appreciate this will lead to lack of trust. He quotes the recent announcement from Google that they may abandon using Cookies. He also references many of the initiatives to regulate data that are being tested in parts of the world such as the “Right to Be Forgotten” from Vivianne Redding the EU Commissioner.
Regulators and brands know that the advertising community is under scrutiny and that consumers are changing their attitudes to using the web accordingly. At a time when 73% of brands could disappear tomorrow without being noticed (one of the findings from Havas Media Group’s Meaningful Brands), bringing the data debate into more meaningful territory represents a huge opportunity for brands. Delport argues that to avoid unilateral restrictions from governments who will all now want to avoid NSA style scandals – we need to promote active self-regulation.
Companies need to have a data policy – one that is transparent and open. They need to invest in understanding data and using it properly – focusing more on what they do with it rather than how much they collect.
I think one of the most noteworthy comments from Delport was how he ended his speech. He called for brands to become super publishers and behave like techies. Stressing the need for speed and also a start-up mind-set (something that you can see Delport himself lives by).
Our ever increasing demand for entertainment will push more and more exiting overlaps between Data Science (Big Data), Creativity and Content Creation and the entertainment and media industry. And with a few examples of what has been done already – you can see that the media industry will never be the same again.
It is this area that you can see excites Delport and I can understand why – it is most definitely the future.