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  • Robert McLaughlin

The Power of Recognition



Have we met before? Let's say we have.


Imagine I didn't acknowledge that we had met before, it seemed as if I didn't remember you and you had to introduce yourself from scratch. I expect that you would find me somewhat frustrating.

You would not only be frustrated, you would be offended.

Further, be in the knowledge that I can and do remember you, I am just refusing to recognise you. You would not only be frustrated, you would be offended.

That organisations have the ability to identify and recognise you is a central truth, it underpins a lot of what should be great and some of what is scary about modern marketing technology. Not all organisations have set themselves up to identify and recognise at scale but the ability is there, within the most basic of marketing technologies, leveraging cookie & device IDs and of course the old faithful login/authentication process. 

It demonstrates that we have a relationship worth investing in

Recognising people and bringing forward your previous knowledge of them can trigger some of the most powerful human responses. I remembered you, I remembered what you care about and why. If I cared to remember it shows I care. It demonstrates that we have a relationship worth investing in, the more you tell me, the more I remember, the deeper my understanding of you becomes. You'll come to trust that I at least know your interests even if it may be too far to say I have them at heart. 

the natural human qualities of recognition between two parties make it a necessity to be acted upon

A lot of time within the marketing and advertising space has rightly been spent agonising over the responsible use of customer data and I feel recognition lies directly as a responsibility. We must hold and use data in a way which is understandable and transparent to the customer, and the natural human qualities of recognition between two parties make it a necessity to be acted upon. This is about the primacy of first party relationships, these are your customers and you need to have a stand-up relationship with them.

I believe there remain huge opportunities for identity and recognition to contribute to customer relationships. Acting on customer knowledge (dare I say, insight) on an individual level in all channels is powerful. 

Look across your digital channels, to what extent are your experiences influenced by your ability to identify and recognise customers? With the knowledge that your customers increasingly know that their data is being collected by you, what does it say to them when you fail to use what you know about them, offering default/one-size-fits-all experiences?

unacceptable to neglect our knowledge of the customer

I feel it is becoming increasingly unacceptable to neglect our knowledge of the customer. We need to reimagine our businesses, confidently choosing to leverage the ability to identify and recognise the customer. The opportunities in doing so and offence caused by not are too great not to act.

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