On 30th May, we brought together a panel of industry leaders at our London HQ to discuss how brands can utilise consumer data in a more data conscious world. Our Editor, Ross McTaggart shares a round-up of the key insights and trends.

Data privacy has been in the press a lot lately. From the security concerns raised by the Cambridge Analytica scandal to the general confusion around the rollout of the GDPR, our personal information, and how it's stored and shared, has been a major talking point.

At our most recent event, we brought together a panel of industry leaders to discuss the current data landscape and to hear from them how brands should be using data in post-#DeleteFacebook world.

Our panel was comprised of Paul Greenwood, head of research & insight at We Are Social, Anurag Abinashi, director of market strategy at Spredfast, Eleanor Carter-Silk, fitness and training manager, brand marketing and activation at Reebok UK and Ben Holland, head of international brand partnerships at Thomas Cook Group.

All of the panelists seemed in agreement that data privacy has become a much bigger concern in recent months and that consumers have now become more interested in what information brands store. This has lead to a growing awareness of the value of personal data as consumers begin to develop an understanding of how data is used by brands and businesses.

According to Anurag Abinashi, the recent data scares haven’t necessarily resulted in any real backlash, but what they do mean is that “consumers want data to be used to better their experience - and they want something for it in return”.

Ben Holland, from Thomas Cook Group said that this value exchange will be key to brands both proving their value and holding onto their engaged audience.

He emphasised the importance of “trust and transparency” when it comes to data, and encouraged brands to use their data to the benefit of customers through better product offerings and an enhanced user experience.

“With such trust in our brand, we hope people will understand how we use their data, and also how our first party data actually helps us provide a much better service.”

While data will continue to be an essential part of marketing, Eleanor Carter-Silk from Reebok UK suggested that brands avoid basing all of their strategic thinking on data metrics and instead lean on genuine human insight to create unique messaging.

“At Reebok, many of us live the brand and the brand lifestyle, so we have a layer of athlete insight built into our thinking, which means we don’t rely on data for all of our decision making.”

The full video of the panel discussion can be viewed on our Facebook page.