The State of Consumerism: Global Privacy & Fundamental Rights

Q&A with Matt Belanger, VP Director of Digital Communications Strategy, NA, Momentum Worldwide

As years go on, technology becomes smarter. How is your agency/brand/clients utilizing technology such as social media to target your audience while also abiding by their privacy and rights?

Instead of reeling at the changes in privacy rights and sitting at a standstill, we’ve abided by them, learning to become smarter with the data that is available to us. In fact, it’s helped us to find more unique ways to test approaches in engaging consumers vs. being hyper-tactical that we lose the humanity and ingenuity that marketing can offer our consumers. It’s an exciting challenge, and as consumers ourselves, we’re supportive of all that has been done in the realm of our collective privacy.

There has been a lot of controversy around the idea of how consumers feel about their privacy and data, being one of their top concerns. Do you believe that your brand can still succeed without being too intrusive with data privacy concerns?

Absolutely! Brands will need to adopt more of a test-and-learn approach, letting go of the ability to follow every one of their consumer’s every move, and testing approaches while learning from what sticks. Some consumers love this, they want to be served with the right products, advertisements, and programs based on their curated algorithm and behavior. Some do not. We have to come to terms with this, quickly. Consumers have never been shy to take to the internet to share their opinions, likes, and dislikes of a brand or product – we can still learn from this – and our consumers will notice. With the ‘noise’ filtered out, public social conversation acts as a living, breathing database that we can learn from and plan against.

It’s no secret that social media has played a significant role in the state of consumerism. With that, how do you see social media/consumerism/privacy through data collection playing out in the future as technology continues to develop and modernize?

We’ve evolved to a time when consumers are just as smart, if not smarter than the intelligence that collects their data. In fact, the rise of the ‘de-influencer’ is a proof point of this. Slick, modern advertising from brands with shoddy products has left some people feeling duped. The power of humanity teaches us that the pendulum always swings both ways. Now, we have influencers helping others by being critical of products vs. just endorsing them and gaining respect and notoriety from this action. Consumers know how to train their algorithms, they see the effects of what they like, talk about, and share, impacting what gets advertised to them in their feeds.


With over 15 years of industry experience, Matt leads digital communications strategy for Momentum Worldwide; delivering data-inspired, impact-driven experience planning across a global roster of clients.