Akamai Diversity

The Akamai Blog

Why top brands put identity first

Today's consumers are digital natives.  The median age of the world's population is less than 30 years old. 48% of the US population was born in the digital age -- after 1980 -- and has never experienced life without computers, video games, social media and the Internet. And even those of us who are older have spent the past 10+ years with a mobile phone glued to our hand, shopping and streaming digitally, and connecting with our friends and family more often online than in person.

The past 10+ years have conditioned us to expect seamless digital brand experiences - convenient, secure, private and personalized. We book our flights online, access our boarding passes digitally, and expect a text alert if our flight has changed. We request an Uber to our destination, and it's there in minutes -- no cash or credit card required. We pre-order our latte from Starbucks and it's ready just the way we like it when we arrive. And every great experience we have with one brand online raises our expectations for all the others.

To engage digital natives, brands must continue to evolve and innovate upon their consumers' digital experiences. It's not enough to stay even with your traditional industry competitors -- consumers aren't comparing you to them, they're comparing you to the best of the best in their digital lives. If you're not delighting them you risk being overtaken by competitors, disintermediated by disruptors, and leapfrogged by emerging innovators.

But in order to deliver the innovative experiences needed to delight digital consumers, brands need to know who these customers are. If you don't recognize me automatically when I visit your site, if you don't remember my buying history and my preferences, if you don't deliver an experience that's customized to my needs -- then you're going to struggle to win me over.

That's why understanding and managing digital identity is the first step toward building the trust, engagement and intelligence that make it possible for brands to thrive in the digital era.

Today, most brands use fragmented, isolated and custom-built consumer registration solutions and disjointed identity databases. Different solutions are deployed for each sub-brand, geography, or campaign. This one-off approach creates scale, governance, data management, data privacy and security and cost challenges -- along with multiple databases, duplicate records and no single view of the customer.

But some leading brands start with the mindset that identity management is the foremost enabler to meeting the challenges of serving and engaging the digital native consumer.

Rather than a fragmented approach, they deploy a single, integrated "Identity First" solution to capture, manage and secure all of their consumer's identities and permissions, across all of their brands, programs and geographies.   

One such brand, a global retailer, has used Akamai's identity platform to fuel their customer rewards program -- leveraging centralized identity management to create a seamless and secure customer experience across apps, devices and geographies. Another client, a well-known soft drink brand, has reinvented itself from a traditional CPG into a consumer-focused, identity first company that is building brand loyalty directly with customers through new and creative digital touchpoints. Others are using identity to drive future innovations - building consumer ecosystems around things like pets, household goods, and doctor-patient relationships.

With that approach, Akamai's identity first clients are able to enable and accelerate their success, delighting consumers by anticipating their needs, respecting their preferences, maximizing trust in their brand, and enabling digital innovation and transformation.

To learn more about how the Akamai Identity Cloud is helping Identity First brands thrive, talk to a Akamai consultant.