Creating a Customer Value Exchange in 2022: Every brand can do it blog


thought leadership

The Dentsu Media Trends 2022 report identified Value Exchanges as a key trend for brands as we move into a cookie-less future. With the help of Dentsu Data Labs Managing Director Samantha De Caprio, we focus on the essentials for brands to get it right.

As we move away from third-party tracking, advertisers have turned their priorities towards collecting first-party data. In turn this has led to more explicit value exchanges where brands ask users to give permissions and submit email addresses in order to get access to entertaining or useful content hosted on brands’ own sites. But as users become savvier to this practice and continue to become even more aware about how their data is being used, how can brands succeed in a crowded marketplace?  

It’s about both the hook and the strategy

“First-party data is really coming up front and centre as we move into the cookie-less world. It gives you the ability to have those one-to-one relationships”, says Samantha. “But to do that you’ve got to build a robust communications strategy. And one that isn’t just built on that first initial hook that is getting people in.”

Getting your hook right

There’s two parts to look at here. The first is the hook. You need something creative to give your users value straight off the bat. So, do you go big in terms of a creative competition or something a little simpler like money off? According to Samantha, “Trying to identify what’s the right mechanism that works for your brand is the start. If you want to build out critical mass on your database you’ve got to be thinking about those elements of a value exchange to make people want to sign up. Competitions and prize draws for example are really strong hooks.”

As is money off a first order – it may not feel too glamorous or creative, but it does work. Not for every brand, however. Take the example of FMCG brands, whilst they’re not selling direct to consumer, there is still an opportunity to understand what resonates with an audience and define would be of value to them.

This was the approach behind Cadbury’s Easter Egg hunt. Building a bespoke digital platform, Cadbury encouraged consumers across the UK to hide an Easter Egg anywhere in the world for a loved one to find. Tapping into the nation’s love of the traditional Easter Egg hunt – when it wasn’t necessarily possible during Easter 2021 – and through a creative use of Google Street View, the campaign enabled Cadbury to add over 1million people to their database.

Complementing your hook with your content strategy

A great hook and creative noise is great, but how do you ensure your users are engaged? According to Samantha, “you have to build out your communications to engage with consumers in line with your content strategy.”

That means pushing your initial content cross-channel. “Social media is crucial if it’s a worthy promotion”, says Samantha. “Cadbury’s Easter Egg hunt is a great example of something that went viral and played out on social media.”

It also means getting your ongoing communications right to create a continuing dialogue with your users. For Samantha, brands need to consider two key ingredients: “It’s about timing and content. If you do those things right then you can keep customers engaged, which ultimately means you have direct one-to-one communication. Then you’re able to leverage that to drive how you build out audiences in the cookie-less world. You simply have to keep your people engaged by serving them the right content at the right time.”

Whilst we’ve seen the likes of Lay’s, tap into their relationship with Lionel Messi to serve their users, with content, a big star isn’t always necessary. “A lot of brands have relationships they can use”, says Samantha. “You’ve got to consider the content that you’ve got and how you use that. For Nivea for example, they continue to talk to their users about skincare and sun care with authority due to their relationship with Cancer Research.”

“Just like any content strategy, brands need to define what their key values are. Are you a sustainable brand? What are you differentiated by? What makes your brand unique? How does that sit in your communications and how do you build out your content strategy around your brand values?”

Every brand can get it right

Even if you don’t have the funds to create a big database, there are still opportunities out there when it comes to creating a value exchange. Looking again at FMCG brands or those that don’t sell direct to consumer, there may be an opportunity to partner with retailers. If users engage with your content so many times for example, they could collect coupon points that can be redeemed with retailers you’ve partnered with. “That’s a win-win for customers, a win-win for retailers and co-partners, and the brand itself”, says Samantha.

If we look at ABI brands, many continue to leverage their ongoing partnerships. According to Samantha, “Budweiser and football is a great example, with the brand leveraging its partnership with the FA around the FA Cup to great success.”  

The final takeaway for brands? “It can’t always be about sales. Yes this activity will ultimately generate sales in the long run, but it’s about understanding your users and inspiring them. And as with any content strategy, you simply have to test and learn.”

Download the Dentsu Media Trends Report

In the Dentsu Media Trends report, we discuss three megatrends that are set to impact the media landscape in 2020: The Prolonged Pandemic, Brand Citizenship and Identity. Download the report to discover more.