As R/GA’s first global head of data, Peter Smith joined the company after the Coronavirus pandemic had already closed offices and prompted remote work and teams. Undaunted by joining virtually, he has quickly built a team and launched a new service offering that is helping R/GA and its clients become more AI- and data-savvy at a time when ethical use of data is a top priority for companies and consumers alike.
“Much like digital transformation 15 years ago, AI transformation will be the defining initiative of successful brands in the coming years,” Peter commented on R/GA's latest FutureVision Conversations podcast. “Especially in the age of Covid-19, highly adaptive brands are the ones that are succeeding in being data-driven, and architecting for AI transformation is key to enabling adaptability, change and growth.”
While R/GA has pioneered AI-driven innovations such as Rose, a cheeky chatbot
for The Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas, Peter sees becoming more data-centric and innovative with machine learning as not only meeting customers’ needs but also core to R/GA’s DNA - and the company’s purpose of creating a more human future.
“That has always kind of served as a guide for us - a guide for better decision-making, a promise for a more kind of people-friendly and inclusive workplace, and frankly, a point of differentiation against our competitors who oftentimes help promote and implement surveillance capitalism, for lack of a better term.” Peter observed. “What's common across everything that we do is that data plays a big role and that translates to radical transparency; really high ethical standards as relates to data; and then value exchanges with all the stakeholders in a data ecosystem - not just providing value to the brand, but also to consumers and to the population at large.”
Peter is a firm believer that in this era of AI-driven customer experiences, personal data and information should be owned by consumers, and they should get full value out of that. Responsible use of first-party data - meaning through a human-first lens that respects privacy and legal compliance - can offer unprecedented opportunities to create better experiences and a true value exchange between businesses and their customers.
“That value doesn't have to be monetary in nature,” he notes. “It could mean a better experience. It could mean more personalised recommendations. But that is my data, and I should get value from providing that to you, whether it's inferred or directly provided…I expect the brand I'm interacting with to also respect my privacy and treat me as a human being.”
Hear more from R/GA’s new global head of data about the business and strategic advantage of connecting data-centricity and customer-centricity on our latest podcast. And check out more FutureVision Conversations on Apple, Spotify, SoundCloud
, Google Play
as well as on the website