Big data has become one of the buzziest words in the world of brands. In the digital age, everything around us just screams “data”. Brands, today, have access to advanced technologies allowing them to leverage big data and extract insights and better promote their brand with their target audience and enhance their decision making.  Yet, in the face of an enormous amount of data, it is often difficult to filter out the right signals from the noise. Brands will be able to act smart by leveraging the power of big data, taking the analytics to a whole new level. Brand berries  interviewed Antoine Challita, General Manager of UM MENA , to get his acumen on how can brands extract value out of Big Data .

BB: A significant change to strategic brand management has taken place as consumer trends drastically evolve. The large increase in customer interactions with brand touchpoints have created a huge amount of data. What are the opportunities and challenges that brands face due to this data revolution?

AC:Companies’ value chain has developed in the digital age to have many of its components creating a significant trail of data from consumer and system interactions. Hence, the question is no longer about whether data is there or not and is more around what do we want to do with the data.

Data is one many sources that drive marketing-led growth in organizations and this is where many marketers as well as company executives are investing substantial time and effort.

For companies to maximize the benefits they can carry away from data, they need to be mindful of how big, unstructured, redundant, vital, and insightful leveraging data can be.

Accordingly, maximizing the power of data within and outside the companies occurs with a clear strategy, the right internal capabilities, an aligned culture, and a sound organizational structure fostering collaborations between department around data to create value.

With this in mind, companies can overcome data complexity, not be over-reliant on it, and move into leaner operations, fast go-to-market capabilities, and customer centric decision-making processes.

Leveraging data is meant to create meaningful value to their customers, and within a marketing context, brands need to be very diligent in investing in trust and maximizing their effort in maintaining the privacy of their customers. Brands and people’s relationships has always been built around trust, and with the advent of more and more data, trust is more important than ever.

BB: The era of Big Data has arrived, yet, few brand marketers seem to properly understand/make use of it. How can data become a brand asset that’s considered a primary source of competitive advantage and future earnings for brands?


Data generally allows marketers to thoroughly understand their consumer and act on their needs, be on top of market dynamics, monitor and react to competitive forces, and build a sizable moat around their business.

The pinnacle of leveraging data allows companies to build the right customer experiences across different channels.

Marketers can build their marketing technology stacks to manage their data. From analytics, segmentation, attribution, to customer data platforms, marketers have access to significant resources to automate the way they leverage big data.

Today, processing capabilities are accelerating with artificial intelligence and the software as a service availability allowing marketers to mine, structure, analyze, and take action on the information.

With such arsenal, companies are able to minimize churn, reduce customer retention costs and continuously optimize new acquisitions through seamless customer experiences and personalized brand/product interactions that are relevant to them.

BB: Whether launching new brands or repositioning an established brand higher than its rivals, how can big data help brand managers address the needs of customers, introduce new products & services, anticipate social changes and understand how consumers will react to various branding efforts?

AC:What marketers strive constantly for is creating more demand for their brands and products and accordingly, moving consumer across the funnel, building brands, and creating experiences are the center of their efforts.

The trail of data that customers leave behind is a goldmine to marketers as it allows them to understand, with the proper taxonomy and the right analytics, what customers’ interest are/were, who they were/are, and where they were and are now.

With that in mind, technology is available to empower marketers to have the right product/brand/content, to the right person, at the right time and accordingly, ensure more relevance to consumers and higher conversions for their business.

As of April, listed more than 6000 marketing technology vendors specialized in advertising, commerce, data, social, content, etc. showcasing the number of tools available to marketers to maximize their effort in customer acquisition and retention.

One of the most important element to success is the ability to always be keen on testing, learning, and iterating. With the dynamism in the landscape and the disruption that technology is bringing to most industries, a culture of experimentation and innovation is an important competitive advantage that companies exploit and especially when accessing vast amount of data to inform their decisions.

BB: Can you give examples on brands whereas big data was able to foster a better competitive advantage for them and help them make more effective brand decisions and create a better brand culture inside?

AC:Categorizing data-driven solutions into multiple buckets comes in handy.

The first being data-driven solutions impacting the product directly. Netflix has been a great example of having the ability of leveraging their viewership data to understand what type of content, what actors, and what type of plots are enjoyed by their customers and accordingly create series and movies on that basis. Many financial players and telecom operators are playing in that field as well to customize their product and gearing them to their existing and potential consumers. Several on-demand platforms lean in on data as well to shape their operations and manage capacity; Uber, Careem, Talabat, and Deliveroo are a few consumer facing ones to name.

The second type are companies and/or brands that leverage data to customize the user experience. A good example is Spotify and Emirates. Both leveraging data to create seamless consumer experience across platforms so that relevance, fluid handoffs between platforms, and eventually ensuring that the consumers can interact in the most personalized manner regardless of where they are interacting with the brand whether it is on a mobile phone, on a tablet, at the shopping mall, or in the backseat of taxi.

The third type is personalized communication and precision marketing, and this is quite at the heart of the advertising industry. Creating mass communication opportunities while precisely tailoring the ad messaging to specific segments has been on the minds of marketers since that scene of Tom Cruise’s character walking through the streets in “Minority Report”. Today marketers have the ability to deliver personalized communication at scale to maximize value creating communication by understanding the consumer, their journey on e-commerce platforms and other brands digital platforms. L’Oréal is a great example of a player leveraging data and technology to ensure that advertising communication is personalized to the need and to the consumer mind space across the purchase funnel. Here is the case study that the teams at UM worked on with L’Oréal and Google teams ( With the use of technology, we are able to work with L’Oréal on delivering targeted messages with depth and breadth maximizing business impact.

BB: Brands Win with Personalization. How Big data can help a brand win with personalized customer solutions?

AC:Brands will always win with personalization as long as it makes sense and delivers value to their customers. Brands win by creating deeper customer relationships and by delivering meaningful experiences that fulfill a need that a customer has (or will have) no matter where they are.

Based on a thorough definition of brand goals, marketers should leverage data and insights to first build segments by understanding the consumer, second identify the contextual environment that matter to the consumer, and third select the triggers by filtering the moments of high interest. This would create the audience matrix that is the product of a deep understanding of the consumer journey. On the other side, the communication matrix needs to be created to match the audience matrix to create the realm of potential signals and triggers to deliver the personalized experience.

With the assimilation of the consumer journey, designing the right messaging, brands can deliver personalized experience to their existing and potential customers. This is not a static system and it evolves with the additional data that is created from ongoing interactions and the marketing technology will constantly enhance and develop to keep on fine-tuning and delivering the right message to the right people at the right moment to enable better outcomes.

At UM, we have launched our addressable content engine (ACE) as a framework to do just that and support our clients to maximize the value of data and technology with the objective of creating better outcomes for brands and business. This is yet another great opportunity and a perfect marriage between data x technology x advertising to generate positive business results.