Personal Information, Trust and Brands: What Do Consumers Get in Return?

By Eric del Carmen Sep 18, 2013

Personal Information, Trust and Brands: What Do Consumers Get in Return?

A few months back, I caved in and purchased a tablet not named iPad and one of the first things I did was download applications of interest to me. I noticed very quickly just how much personal information I was sharing. In addition to the usual username and password, the apps collected personal contact information, age/gender, GPS data and device ID.

According to a Wall Street Journal blog post about mobile apps, all Pandora users on an iPhone provide their age/gender, location and phone ID to Pandora. In addition, third-party marketers such as Yahoo, Google/Analytics, Google/AdSense, Facebook, Google/DoubleClick and Apple/Quattro create an app user profile for themselves that may include location, phone/device ID and age/gender.

Point being, brands and rightsholders that are taking advantage of mobile technology to better connect with consumers have the opportunity to gather large masses of critical audience information, i.e., big data. It’s impressive (frightening) how easy it is to gain personal information through digital and mobile devices (and the multiple channels within), and we don’t think twice about it anymore.

But we should. The issue is trust. Consumers trust that providing their personal information will provide them with something of value—a convenient service (Pandora), relevant content (Yelp), a promotional offer (Groupon)—wherever and whenever.

As sponsors, sports properties, nonprofit organizations, etc., are you holding up your end of the bargain? What are you doing to enhance your audience’s experience and affinity towards your brand or property on the multitude of channels you have? Or are you too focused on how many thousands of downloads or likes you have? It’s easy to gain an audience when you have a product, service or content that is relevant. But we have to start looking past the surface and truly engage with our audiences and provide them with what they seek.

Below are some thoughts about “digital trust” and how brands and rightsholders can approach the topic moving forward:

  • Generating followers and gathering personal information (data) should translate into customized action. How can your audience be more engaged with you in a relevant, rewarding way?
  • Understand what channels are best to reach and communicate with your audience effectively.
  • Be clear on the role each channel plays. Facebook provides engagement/content with the universe, mobile provides the service or end-user experience and Twitter provides the opportunity for feedback and developing trends.
  • Consider how to interact with your audience on each channel. There are similarities but also limitations to each.
  • Respect the channels you use and use them carefully.
  • Respond on the platforms you use. Two-way communication signifies audience interest, engagement and trust. I see you, I hear you, I know you, so here’s what I think.


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About the Author

With a primary focus on partnership valuation, Eric — a senior analyst for ESP Properties — assists sponsors and rightsholders in determining the fair market value of their corporate sponsorship packages. In addition, he has provided clients with sponsorship best practices and research.


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