Beyond Cookies: 3 Ways Smart Brands Are Building Customer Connections

What happens to digital marketing when the cookie crumbles? With Apple's iOS 14 policies and Google's deprecation of third-party cookies in 2024, the way brands have traditionally targeted and tracked users for digital marketing is undergoing a major shift. The good news? This disruption opens up an opportunity for brands to shift the paradigm toward one that is more aligned with the consumer values of transparency, consent, and providing value in exchange for data shared. In this blog, we'll explore five innovative ways brands are adapting to this change, leveraging everything from consumer touchpoints to gamification, to gather first-party data. By the end of this read, you'll have a clear roadmap to leverage first-party data effectively, building deeper trust and more meaningful connections with your audience.

The good news? This disruption allows brands to shift toward a new paradigm, one better aligned with core consumer values like transparency, consent, and exchanging data for value. In this blog, we'll explore three innovative ways brands are adapting to this change, leveraging personalisation, creator communities, and value added services to engage and learn more about customers. By the end of this read, you'll have a clear roadmap to leverage first-party data effectively, building deeper trust and more meaningful connections with your audience.

Product Personalisation

Customisation is in demand. Product personalisation transforms customers into co-creators, crafting experiences as unique as their fingerprints. This allows customers to curate their own products, resulting in a dual benefit: customers get precisely what they want, and brands gain direct insights into consumer preferences. The future of product personalisation is not just about offering choices; it's about learning from those choices to better understand and cater to the market's evolving needs.

The key to successful personalisation lies in a brand's ability to continuously adapt their offerings based on emerging consumer insights and market trends. Analysing user-generated content across social media, reviewING platforms, and forums is crucial in this regard. By utilizing sentiment analysis and text analytics, brands can decode customer sentiments and preferences. Such tools transform customer feedback into actionable insights, almost like conducting real-time focus groups. For example, a paint company discovered a 70% preference for bold colours through a product mixer tool - a testament to this approach's effectiveness. At merx, we have already enabled product personalisation on conversational channels such as WhatsApp for many of our customers, with excellent results.

Looking ahead, product personalisation will become an integral part of the brand-consumer relationship, a journey of mutual growth. Each custom product sold enriches the understanding between a brand and its customers, marking the future of commerce. In this future, every product is a story of collaboration, and every purchase reinforces the brand-consumer bond.

Partner with Content Creators and Join Livestreams

Livestreams build communities. This content format that lets creators broadcast in real-time is exploding, especially among younger demographics. These digital gatherings are more than just broadcasting platforms; they are thriving communities where brands can connect with their audience in real-time.

For example, a cosmetics company noticed contouring questions spiking across numerous top beauty vlogger streams. They quickly developed an educational contouring tutorial to address this emerging interest. In China, brands are taking it a step further by launching their own livestreaming channels. This allows even more direct dialog with consumers and influencers. The future is “shopatainment” - blurred lines between entertainment and shopping.

In the coming years, brands that effectively harness the power of live stream data will find themselves at a significant advantage. They will be better equipped to meet customer needs and stay ahead of market trends. Ultimately, live streaming is set to redefine the landscape of customer interaction, making it an indispensable tool for brands looking to thrive in the digital age.

Offer value-added services - the F1 Example!

Providing useful services that solve customers' problems is a strategy that successful brands are increasingly adopting. These brands understand that adding value to customers’ lives fosters a deeper connection. A prime example of this is Formula 1's innovative approach to engaging American fans. They recognized the challenge of time zones for U.S. fans, who often missed live races due to the time difference.

In a creative solution, they introduced the F1 Wake Up Call service, offering fans a wake-up call from their favorite driver on race day. To participate, fans simply provided their contact details, and on race morning, they received a personalised call. This initiative was more than just a marketing stunt; it was a thoughtful service that directly addressed a fan-specific problem.

The response from American F1 enthusiasts was overwhelmingly positive. Fans shared their excitement and appreciation on social media, celebrating the unique experience of being woken up by a racing icon. This led to a significant increase in engagement and a willingness among fans to share their personal information with F1.

The F1 Wake Up Call demonstrates the power of understanding and addressing customer needs in a meaningful way. The more creative the solution, the deeper the customer connection. Make alleviating frustrations priority one and view promotions as secondary. Offering utility and entertainment attracts opt-ins without hard selling. Help customers first and the customer-brand relationship will reciprocally flourish after. When you lessen pains, gains follow.

The Hygene factor is trust

Starting with building trust is now fundamental in the evolving customer-brand relationship. Customers are increasingly willing to share their data with brands, provided two key conditions are met: they gain value from the interaction and, crucially, they trust the brand.

The rise of creator brands exemplifies this new paradigm. Creators garner audiences by consistently adding value, often without cost. Over time, this approach cultivates deep trust within their communities. The intimate knowledge creators gain about their audiences is invaluable, ensuring that when they launch a product, it resonates strongly with their followers.

In the future, trust will be the cornerstone of successful customer relationships. Brands that emulate the creator model, focusing on adding value and building trust, will see a more engaged and loyal customer base. Customers, feeling valued and understood, will reciprocate with loyalty and open sharing of their preferences. Brands that prioritize trust will find themselves with not just customers, but advocates. In essence, trust is more than a marketing strategy; it's a comprehensive business approach that recognizes the value of genuine connections. The future of branding lies in this trust-centric approach, transforming the way businesses interact with their customers.


The shift in consumer industry dynamics presents a clear message: to win over discerning customers, brands must focus on building trust and offering genuine value. The strategies discussed – from leveraging first-party data and personalisation to engaging through live streams and solving real-world problems – are crucial for fostering this trust. In the future, successful brands will be those that see their interactions with customers not just as transactions, but as opportunities to establish a mutually beneficial relationship. By focusing on trust and value, brands can not only attract customers but also turn them into loyal advocates.

Don't let the cookieless era catch you unprepared. Reach out to the Merx team today and discover how we can transform your digital marketing strategies for a world that values transparency, value creation, and meaningful engagement.

Ready to explore how you can better engage and add value to your customers in a cookieless world? Reach out to the @merx team today for any questions or to schedule a demo of our platform.