Humby and Dunn taking customer insight to next level

Far too many companies are making the mistake of asking themselves what data they have in their business and then how they can use it?


The data is out there somewhere if you look

Customer insight pioneer Edwina Dunn, co-founder of Humby and Dunn – previously creator of Dunnhumby, reckons this is a mistake and suggests it is all about going out and looking for the necessary data beyond your organisation that then gives both context and behavioural attributes to customers’ actions. This then provides true insights.

The reality is that many companies have insufficiently rich dialogues and interactions with their customers to give them any chance at all of gaining any useful insights from their data that they can use to meaningfully generate value.

The likes of water companies, electricity providers and insurance companies have to accept that their data is simply not up to the job of giving them any decent level of value.

In contrast, retailers, phone companies, credit card firms and social media platforms have a rich seam of data within their grasp that provides a solid foundation on which to generate the necessary context and behavioural attributes.

Against this backdrop Dunn and co-founder Clive Humby are today focusing their attentions on two areas where consumers are most loyal. Firstly, to the things that they choose to spend their disposable income on, and secondly their love of genuine stars.

By using the potentially very rich data associated with both these areas Humby and Dunn are looking to wring some value from the marketing spend of FMCG companies and to return some power back into their hands.

The big brands have for many years been disenfranchised by the retailers and Dunn potentially sees the same thing happening again by what she describes as ‘superfans’ on social media who can have hundreds of thousands of followers and are sufficiently influential that they speak to a network/platform in their own right.

These individuals are starting to commandeer the relationship between the stars/brands and the end consumer – thereby bypassing the brand owners themselves.


Starcount: where loyalty means loyalty

To address this Humby and Dunn have become shareholders in Starcount that gathers data on 12 global social  media platforms to create dynamic ‘fanzines’ that show the key entities that individuals follow. Based on fan numbers Dunn reveals that there are only 130,000 ‘stars’ in the world – comprising both FMCG brands and stars from areas such sports, film, music etcetera.

And of these the top 100 have a massive 14 billion fans across the various social media platforms. Within these fan bases it has been calculated that only 1% are crazily passionate and another 9% are pretty engaged. Matching these individuals, who are fans of certain FMCG brands, with the right message needs to be scientifically assessed, according to Dunn, because the opportunity is tremendously powerful. The mission therefore is to build an analytics platform that can do just that.

It will enable brands to see how fans and superfans especially relate to them and how FMCG companies can better engage with these fans. For the likes of say Coke, it will be possible to see those people who love the drink and also which stars they are also passionate about. There is clearly value in Coke tying up with these individuals.

Humby and Dunn have recognised that using these new sources of data is the future and are at the cutting edge of delivering solutions to cut through the masses of data to seek out the insight. Having created the old model – based on loyalty cards – this is the new frontier in customer insight.