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It's time for the promise of the brand to evolve. Again.

With the recent entry into force of the GDPR, advertisers worry once again about the use of consumer data. In Europe, fretting is under a regulatory cloud, with financial consequences for the misuse of EU consumption data.

Here, in the United States, we are not confronted with legislation, but GDPR, Cambridge Analytica and Congressional hearings have nevertheless refocused us on the issue of the fair and appropriate use of consumer data. .

This is a fundamental enigma that has confronted marketers for years: how to handle the thin line of personalization versus privacy. When is the appropriate use of data inappropriate? When does customization cross the line in "scary?"

The answer to the question of privacy and personalization should not be difficult for responsible and thoughtful marketers. If they want to know if their data use is appropriate, marketers simply need to put themselves in the shoes of their consumers.

Put yourself in your customers' shoes

Good marketers should always be empathetic and attentive to the needs of their consumers, but in a data-driven environment, they should aspire to go further. They should strive to provide some value in exchange for the use of this consumer's data and his attention.

In other words: it can not act on the needs of your brand (that is, more sales!). The message you deliver to the consumer and the way you deliver it must serve the consumer and not yours. If marketers can adhere to this very basic premise and allow attention and empathy to guide their strategies and communications, concerns about the inadvertent move into the field of fluidity of data will be largely appeased.

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Although the above concept may seem obvious (albeit rarely put into practice), it is only in recent years that the dynamic messaging capabilities necessary to provide this premise have become available.

As industry columns like this quickly remind readers, we know more about people who see our ads than ever before. Now it's time for the promises of our brand to be expressed in a way that reflects that knowledge.

A singular brand promise, tailored to the individual

The promise of the brand has evolved considerably over the past 70 years. Prior to the 1950s, most brand promises were simple. They stated what the product did. Detergent makes your clothes cleaner. Deodorant makes your underarms drier. Car wax protects the finish of your car. Simple, sure. But certainly not personal.

In the following decades, the promise of the brand evolved. He made sense of the consumer. Advertisers have moved away from product features to focus on end-benefits. Yes, the deodorant keeps you dry, but why? So you can be more confident. That's what really matters to consumers.

But in the last decade of digital and programmatic innovation, distribution has finally outweighed the message. As marketers, we were passionate about the accuracy with which we could reach consumers – to the point where we forgot to pay attention to the messages and the creativity with which we reached them.

Fortunately, we are moving towards a correction in this ever-moving pendulum, which brings empathy and humanization of the consumer to the forefront in a way that was not possible for decades.

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In today 's customization world, the empathic buyer has the opportunity to once again evolve the brand' s promise by translating it to the brand. individual. And it is there that serious creative magic can happen.

How can be creative awesome

In the world of personalized brand promise, deodorant does not just dry you up. It does not only make you feel confident. A father of two 46 years old is more confident when he meets the parents of his daughter's new boyfriend. This makes the 27 year old account manager more confident when she gives her first presentation at the company level. If the context matters, the context of the individual is the most important.

In the hands of an attentive and empathetic marketer, the data can allow a new, more personal expression of the brand promise. Not only can we talk about the final benefit of a product, but we can talk about that ultimate benefit as it applies to an individual at a given point in time.

The creative possibilities offered by the personalized brand promise are unlimited. But to get it right, we first need to embrace empathy as our primary guiding principle for connecting with consumers in the present moment.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. The authors of the staff are listed here.