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The Digital Economy isn’t Built to Serve the People

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by Startacus Admin

The Digital Economy
Fahim Pour
, co-founder of early-stage UK tech startup Pukket, argues that the the digital economy isn’t built to serve the people and Fahim envisages a new, 'fairer' future for the digital economy...

Fahim PourI might have been a little harsh with my title up there and I understand your complaints. At the end of the day, we surf the internet with ease, access free flow of information and enjoy being connected on social media networks, all free of charge. So how can one be so sceptical about it?

Here is the thing, this ad-driven economy was never built to serve the people. What we are giving away in terms of our digital footprint in return for the services mentioned earlier, is valuable enough to give life to a $300 billion-dollar industry. There are many that are benefiting from the windfall, including corporates, brands, platforms and even celebrities. As the people who give life to this economy, we are the only ones left out.

Back in 2017, Sean Parker hinted at how Facebook manipulates users psychologically to spend as much time as possible on the social media network. The reality is simple and obvious. We are being lured into this ecosystem with the promise of free membership and the use of such services. We’re allowing corporates in this ecosystem take our valuable data and attention for granted and treating us as objects for the purpose of advertising.

As the people whose presence make this digital economy thrive, we should start appreciating ourselves, our voices, time and attention. We should too The digital economyhave a share of this multibillion-dollar pie. Thankfully, things are slowly changing in the favour of consumers in this space.

As our displeasure grows at branded-content and advertising, we tend to adopt ad-blockers in the masses and that is troubling the big players in this market. It is getting ever more challenging for brands to target millennials whose behaviour is so untypical of any other consumer groups that have come before them. One keyword is gaining significance and that is “Authenticity” with which brands are struggling big time.

Interestingly, the word authenticity is closely intertwined with the everyday people. People trust people, and this has remained the case since centuries before us. We tend to trust friends and family members around us more than anyone else as we have an emotional bond and a meaningful relationship with them.

As it happens the same applies to the digital space; user-generated content (UGC) and word-of-mouth created by the everyday people are the most authentic and impactful form of content out there. More than 90% of consumers prefer UGC over branded-content when making purchasing decisions. Moreover, UGC is 10x more effective compared to branded content.

Nowadays millennials are the most active, creative and influential group of people on social media networks. It happens that brands are an integral part of their day-to-day experiences and moments they share in the digital space; more than 60% of millennials want to be rewarded for their engagement with brands. However, most brands take millennials’ engagement with them for granted and do not appreciate them for the value they create. 

The digital space needs some democratisation, and the marketing industry needs to change its view of who we are as the people and what we are worth to them. We as the people should be acknowledged for the value we create and be rewarded for our engagement with brands in our day-to-day lives.

My team and I have been working on to turn this industry on its head. Pukket empowers people and their voices in the digital space by Pukketrewarding them for engaging with their favourite brands. We’re a two-sided marketplace that aims to create authentic word-of-mouth at scale for brands by leveraging the power of mass-consumers and their social networks. It automatically detects the presence of brands in consumers’ digital and social media lives using NLP and Machine Vision and rewards them with Pukkets (what we call our credit-based system) which can then be used on brand vouchers on our store page. This in turn increases brand loyalty and ROI for businesses as well.

Sharing our experiences should be rewarding. Join the mission and let’s claim our fair share of the digital economy.

recently pitched at the Startacus hosted startup pitch competition upSTART at Digital DNA 2018, which was eventually won by Dublin startup CliniShift - and we look forward to continuing to follow Pukket's journey going forward. 

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Published on: 28th June 2018

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