Data privacy and digital trust: A balancing act which hinges on the customer

This article from Trūata‘s CMO, Shallu Behar-Sheehan recently appeared in Marketing Tech.

Protecting data privacy and preserving brand integrity can bring about a whole host of unwelcome processes for businesses, with added layers of complexity evolving from the increasingly stringent regulations and heightened expectations that come with leveraging large data lakes of personal data. However, instead of steering data strategy to react to regulations, brands need to proactively pivot in the direction of their primary purpose: satisfying customer expectations. With an understanding of how their digital footprint is continuing to expand, consumers are calling for more transparency and placing trust in those that manage and utilise data responsibly; this means that brands must now shape strategies aimed at retaining customer loyalty for the long-term in a data-led economy, and this requires contributing to the development of a wider, more sustainable Internet of Trust.

Trusting a brand with the collection, storage and management of personal data should be more than a compliance-led, regulatory exercise. Privacy and the protection of personal data need to sit at the heart of culture and processes in any data-driven organisations that strives for success in a digital economy. Today, the brand custodian is the consumer; the power of the brand is in their hands. To treat them – or their data – with disregard would be a costly mistake in the race towards becoming the beacon brand for digital trust.

Going beyond compliance

The global privacy landscape has evolved in recent years. Broadly speaking, the introduction of GDPR in Europe has paved the way for personal data privacy, but this framework of data protection has also been explored and adopted in other countries, such as India through their proposed Personal Data Protection Bill, Brazil with its LGPD framework, PIPEDA in Canada, or even Australia’s ‘Privacy Principles’. While each have their own nuances, the underpinning tone is that brands need to be held accountable for the way they handle data privacy, both domestically and on an international level.

The misconception, however, is that these regulations are, inherently, state-driven. And this is where brands can fall into the trap of treating their respective legal code as an admin task, while forgetting who they’re actually answerable to. After all, these new directives weren’t aimlessly added to company task lists; they were introduced in response to a rapid proliferation of online usage and tech reliance among consumers. And this trend has been markedly accelerated by the events of the past year as consumers have relied on digital providers for shopping, entertainment, communication, business and almost everything else.

While brands have been busy grappling to ensure their administrative affairs are in order to offset legislation penalties, consumers have been shaping their own expectations of how these organisations – both enterprise and governmental – should be conducting themselves from a privacy perspective.

Following a year in which the digital footprint of the consumer is likely to have expanded and increased awareness around data misuse and data breaches has continued to hit global headlines, the consumer now demands more than just compliance. They expect aptitude, clarity and transparency around how their information is being stored, handled and used.

The full article on data privacy and digital trust unravels the benefits of embedding privacy at the core of brand values.