We’ve had some time to reflect on a number of things that have happened over the last few months. Between the Facebook / Cambridge Analytica news, to the implementation of GDPR, and our attendance at IBM’s Think conference, we’ve found some common elements.


The Common Thread

When you look at the above three occurrences, there’s a common thread that runs through each of them, and it’s something that we’ve been saying for the better part of a year at Brain+Trust Partners. And that is: #ownyourdata. Whether it’s Amazon, Facebook, or other platforms, companies have given over control of their customer relationships by ceding control of their distribution process and their customer data.

What we saw at IBM’s Think conference, to which we were invited as futurists, was uncanny. IBM was handing out shirts that read: “Your Brand. Your Customers. Your Data.” Boom. That was it exactly. Controlling your data means you have the opportunity to get closer to your customers.


More Than Owning Data

In order to be successful, your brand has to do more than just own the data. Ultimately, it’s about having comprehensive data and clean data, all in one place — the single view of the customer.

Right now, it’s likely that you’ve got customer data, both structured and unstructured, in various departments within your company. Why? Likely because it’s the way you’re set up: customer service, marketing, communications — all have different interactions with and records of your customers.

But guess what? Customers don’t care about your internal structure. They don’t care about your office politics, or institutional history. They just want to make a purchase or set a matter right. Owning, simplifying, an unifying your data go a long way to make that possible.


As you think about your own situation, determine who is making decisions about customer data, technology vendors, and the customer journey. Map the flow of each, and where they touch the organization. And as you find the gaps, determine who the right partners are to help you shore them up.

Your customers and shareholders will thank you.