It’s 10 weeks until the Hello Starling team saunter off to London to attend the annual Guardian Changing Media Summit. During the event we will be giving a live feed documenting all the best bits of discussion and analysis from the very top names in the media business (without you having to leave your chair!).


To whet your appetites before the big event we will be counting down the top 10 talks from last year’s summit giving you video footage alongside our own commentary.


To kick it all off then we start with no’ 10: “Digital media, privacy and consumer trust collide”



Aaron’s take on this talk


As Aaron, a member of our Media Planning & Buying team explains, “This talk was one of the more interesting ones for me because I sit very much on the side of ‘have my data and give me free things’ but my mum and dad are completely the opposite, they’re very distrusting of any people who want their information, especially online.


The issue of trackable data is a controversial one for obvious reasons but used well it can be a very positive thing. If you look at the Aviva app which tracks how well you drive and brings the price of your insurance down (or up) encouraging safe driving then you can really see a positive benefit to it. But then again if you tried to introduce something like that into health insurance it could become dangerous.”


As Aaron points out trackable data is an issue that divides many people. Whatever the positives or negatives of trackable data are, it is clear that it should be handled with great care and responsibility. If the intentions and motivations of tracking data and user behaviour is of benefit to the consumer, then it is vital, as director of Big Brother watch Emma Carr explains, that brands take an “open and transparent approach” to communicating exactly why they are collating this data and why it is of benefit to the user.


Hello Starling’s take on trust and digital media


At Hello Starling we rely on in-depth consumer data and information that lets us know how, when, where and why consumers both view advertising and branding and also what then motivates them to either engage with or buy from that particular brand. This does not mean however that we side unambiguously on the side of free access to and of information for all.


While data helps us greatly when creating advertising campaigns for clients, this does not mean that there should not be any controls, limitations or communication between advertiser, brand and consumers. Ethical implications aside (we are also consumers ourselves after all) there are also sound business reasons why the misuse or lack of transparency when it comes to gathering consumer information is a bad idea. Brands and businesses work in environment that is consumer led after all. And, if consumers are not happy with, or do not trust who they are providing their personal information to online, then they will by-and-large vote with their feet.


As John Enser, partner at Olswang, asks, “How many people in this room have got a Hotmail account that they use to just sign up for stuff?”. As he explains, “If you as a marketer want valuable information and not then you need to be able to give them something back in return”.


Whether it is a matter of gaining trust with consumers, or (on the more tech savvy side of things) reaching consumers that are increasingly more aware and able of avoiding particular online content or media, being transparent with these consumers – as to how information is acquired and what it is used for – can only be a positive move on the behalf of brands and marketers.


If this relationship is negotiated openly and honestly – and with a genuine care for the user as a human being and not a “data dot” – then we believe that it can be of real help and a genuine force for positive change. As Blake Cahill, global head of digital and social marketing at phillips, argues, there is plenty of potential value to be gained by the customer in this exchange, and, on top of this, a great deal of potential social good that can be achieved as a result of it, too.


By Team HS