March 1, 2018 Blogby Maarten Stultjens

How the borrowers impact consumer identity

In a series of blogs, Maarten Stultjens (VP Sales & Business Development at iWelcome) discusses the major consumer trends of 2018 and the foundational impact of consumer identities on these trends.

Can you imagine? My dad actually owned a car!

In a series of blogs, Maarten Stultjens (VP Sales & Business Development at iWelcome) discusses the major consumer trends of 2018 and the foundational impact of consumer identities on these trends.

At iWelcome, being an Identity Management company, we tend to talk passionately about technology. This time we take it from a different angle. We asked ourselves two questions: What are the major Consumer trends and how do they impact consumer Identity? And how crucial is Consumer Identity for operating Consumer brands in the upcoming years?

After reviewing various market research reports, we have chosen one as a guideline: the Euromonitor “Top 10 Global Consumer Trends for 2018” by Alison Angus. The names attached to these trends are quite picturesque:


  • Clean lifers
  • The Borrowers
  • Call out culture
  • It’s in the DNA – I’m so special
  • Adaptive Entrepreneurs
  • View in my Roomers
  • Sleuthy shoppers
  • I-Designers
  • Co-living
  • The Survivors


Not surprisingly, but happy to conclude again, Consumer Identities are foundational for responding to Consumer trends. In a series of blogs, I will highlight these trends and relate them to Consumer Identities.


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How The Borrowers impact Consumer Identity

In this first blog, we will look at how “The Borrowers” impact Consumer Identity. Euromonitor describes this evolving trend of the new generation of “sharers, renters and subscribers” and how it differs from the baby boomers, who tend to be “buyers”. In a few years our children might be saying stuff as “can you imagine, my dad actually owned a car!”. The most important thing to remember: Borrowers want Access, not ownership.


Access, not ownership

These 3 words are at the heart of Consumer Identity. The borrowers require a customised user experience based on preferences like location, taste and size. The trust between the borrower and the ‘owner’ is built up progressively and in a granular way. From a lightweight relation where the borrower can see what the owner has in store, towards a transaction where more privacy-related data is shared and finally for payments. Also, the borrower is often not an individual but a group of people, for example when renting a house on Airbnb.



Building trusted relationships with consumers

Consumer identity is evolving from a simple social registration and login towards a much broader subject. Consumers are progressively sharing information when they engage further with brands; from a lightweight registration for convenient use of a free service, towards identity and attribute verification when renting and payments are involved. These validations will not only be based on traditional trusted sources like governmental registers (e.g. a driver license), but also on remote identity validation or on activities in a social network (e.g. recommendations where borrower and renter are both evaluated). A consumer identity platform must be able to accommodate these third-party verifications progressively during the lifecycle of the relationship. On top of that, the verifications have a ‘trust level’, a ‘validity’ and a ‘purpose of use’, requiring a managed lifecycle and controlled use of the information.


Dialogue design in the customer journey

We are used to the term “customer journey” referring to progressively building a trusted relationship as described above. However, this is usually not reflected in the dialogue with the consumer. If we want consumers to share information, we must to do so at an appropriate moment, in an appropriate way and with a clear reason. Everybody can think of a very uncomfortable human dialogue on a first date, where you are hardly ready to share your mobile number and you are being asked about everything you only would want to share only when entering in a marriage. At the same time, it has a clear advantage to share your phone number when you are expecting a parcel so that you can be informed when the delivery has been delayed. This type of dialogue design, in an understandable and ‘human’ way, will be key for progressively building a trusted relationship.

From a technology perspective, this requires progressive profiling, preference management through API-based interaction of portals and apps that usually gather this information, with the CIAM system. The shared information of the borrower may not be misused, so a clear “purpose of use” must be registered as well.


Identities are part of communities

Consumers have been treated for a long time as single individuals. This is a complete misperception and has been proven wrong big time by all kinds of social networks. In organisations we are used to relationships as teams, locations, projects and professions. In a very similar way, consumers interact and have trusted relationships with families, friends and teams. For our industry, this results in supporting relationships between consumers. We have seen this implemented as ‘family accounts’ or ‘parental control’ for some years now and this will be extended to neighbours, sports teams, friends and all other kinds of personal relationships. These relationships have a meaning and this meaning will be expressed in ‘mandates’. If I am not at home, the parcel can be delivered to my neighbour on number 35. CRM systems are not fit for these relationships and mandate management. Consumer identity relationships and mandates will drive the need for and fundamentally impact CIAM platforms.

So, this consumer trend of ‘Borrowers’ demands for revisiting Consumer Identities and the technology required to support these processes.


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iWelcome, IDaaS, Cloud IAM, CIAM

Maarten Stultjens

VP Sales and Business Development

Maarten has more than 15 years of sales and business management experience in Identity & Access Management. 

Before joining iWelcome, Maarten co-founded BHOLD, the world’s leading role-based access control software – a technology that was later acquired by Microsoft.