Digital Transformation Artificial Intelligence Policy & Regulation

Data might be oil, but consent is golden

By Jason Alan Snyder, Global chief technology officer

Momentum Worldwide


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February 16, 2024 | 7 min read

Forget avatars and embrace identities, says Jason Alan Snyder of Momentum Worldwide. And when navigating the multiverse of consumer identities, remember that consent is king.

Hallmarks on glistening gold bars

User consent has more value than ever, says Jason Alan Snyder / Jingming Pan via Unsplash

Gone are the days of neatly segmented demographics; our desires, preferences, and very selves now flit between physical spaces, digital personalities, and mixed realities, leaving brands often scrambling to catch up. But amid the chrome gleam and pixelated promises, one truth shines brighter than anything produced by an AR filter: consent is the new gold.

While Apple is busy christening our “phone-less” future with the Vision Pro, savvy marketers know the real land grab isn't virtual; it's “permissional.” In a world where cookies can crumble faster than a TikTok dance routine, building trust and transparency in data collection is no longer a feel-good add-on; it's the foundation of survival.

Your data – your preferences, habits, digital shadow – is the currency of the new world. Brands want to use it to personalize experiences, deliver targeted ads, and connect with you meaningfully. But just like any currency, its value hinges on trust. Would you hand a fistful of dollars to a stranger in a dark alley? This is what we've been doing with our data, mindlessly clicking "accept" on terms we seldom read.

The tide is turning. Cookie deprecation isn't just a technical hurdle; it's a wake-up call. Brands must shift from data extraction to value creation, building relationships based on transparency and respect. This means clear, concise communication on data use, meaningful opt-in choices, and the power to revoke consent easily. It's not about ticking boxes; it's about empowering individuals to participate actively.

Consent is about more than just protecting privacy, though that's important. In a world of noise, attention is the premium currency. Consumers are bombarded with messages, and their senses are overloaded. The brand that earns the right to speak into a consumer’s specific reality in a relevant and respectful way has a golden ticket.

Earn trust and build substantial rewards

Imagine strolling through a bustling AR marketplace, trying on virtual clothes. Suddenly, a brand you trust whispers a suggestion directly into your ear, showcasing an outfit that perfectly complements your style. No intrusive pop-ups, no irrelevant ads – just a personalized nudge based on your explicit permission and contextual understanding. That's the power of consent-driven marketing.

Implementing robust consent mechanisms, building trust, and navigating the legal labyrinth is difficult. But the rewards are substantial. Data is increasingly fragmented, and privacy concerns are paramount; brands championing consent are beacons of honesty and respect. They earn the right to enter our multidimensional selves, not as intrusive advertisers but as welcome companions.

We click "accept" with alarming ease, trading bits of ourselves for the convenience of faster checkouts and targeted ads. Each tap and swipe erode the dam, holding back a data torrent. We're sleepwalking into a reality where consent isn't an informed choice, but a melody drowned out by the roaring din of AI-powered marketing machines.

Think of AI as the ultimate weapon in the data arms race. It analyzes our clicks, predicts our desires, and crafts personalized, eerily prescient messages. But this power becomes a weapon pointed directly at our autonomy in the wrong hands. With AI whispering suggestions directly into our mixed reality or tailoring virtual experiences based on our deepest fears, the line between persuasion and manipulation blurs dangerously.

This isn't dystopian fiction; it's the logical progression of unchecked data collection and a culture of convenience over control. Brands can't afford to be bystanders in this data deluge. Transparency becomes more than just a buzzword; it's the lifeblood of trust. Every interaction and every data point collected demands clear communication and genuine choice.

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What's next in the data arms race?

Moving forward, brands must explain how data is used, who can access it, and how consumers can control its flow. Don't just ask for permission; earn it. Demonstrate responsible AI practices, prioritize data security, and be upfront about the limitations and biases inherent in algorithmic decision-making.

Consent isn't a one-time transaction, it's a conversation. Give consumers the tools to modify, revoke, and reclaim their data as needs evolve. Treat consent as the most precious commodity in transactions, building genuine relationships with individuals navigating the multidimensional marketplace. In the cacophony of AI-powered persuasion, brands that win hearts will do so not with manipulation but with trust born from genuine respect and control.

The future beckons: a realm of dazzling possibilities and hidden pitfalls. Will we navigate it with open eyes, empowered choices, or surrender control? The answer lies in how brands and consumers wield the power to consent.

So, marketers, this is your call to action. Ditch the data-hoarding mentality and embrace the consent revolution. Treat your audience not as data points but as individuals with agency and value. Build relationships based on transparency, respect, and meaningful permission.

Remember, in the multiverse of "me," the most valuable currency isn't just data – it's trust. And that, my friends, is a gold mine waiting to be unearthed.

Digital Transformation Artificial Intelligence Policy & Regulation

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Momentum Worldwide

Momentum Worldwide is a global experience agency partnering with and transforming the world’s most famous brands since 1987. Built on the simple truth that it’s...

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