• In case you missed it, Monday, January 28th, was Data Privacy Day. Many organizations around the world used the occasion to have an open dialogue on what it means to be stewards of people’s personal information. I myself participated in a company-wide celebration of Data Privacy Day at one of the nation’s largest retailers, where we discussed best practices for security, privacy, and most importantly, what it means to enable trust.

    Businesses are responsible for earning and keeping customers’ trust. A study by PwC Global found 35% of respondents ranked “trust in brand” as among their top three reasons for shopping at a particular store. Earning trust is more than just an important way to win customers—it’s a necessary shift, with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in full implementation, the California Consumer Privacy Act becoming enforceable in January 2020, and more data privacy laws likely to surface in the coming year.

    Now is the time to revisit your approach to properly governing data resources and your communications strategy around data privacy practices. Here are three best practices for building brand trust:

    1. Communicate with honesty and integrity. Consumers want to see that brands are committed to responsible behavior that benefits people. This interaction starts with a promise made at the point of data collection and is followed up with behavior and adherence to rules around the use of that data that shows the brand understands dignity and respect.

    Think about what consumers want: improved experiences built on a foundation of data sourced with integrity. Ensure you have a sound methodology to assess the way in which you are leveraging data and a clear line-of-sight in terms of how it will improve the customer experience.

    It’s no coincidence that more cookie notifications are popping up when you open websites. These pop-ups are mostly in direct response to GDPR. Give consumers a stronger reason to trust your brand and show them how you are adhering to ethical standards of transparency and control.  Educate your site visitors with a brief message or short video clip to show them how data is being used to improve their experiences and build brand trust.

    2. Data security is foundational for building trust. Companies have to constantly innovate, but not at the expense of securitizing data. They must constantly consider how bad actors may manipulate their technology, destroying credibility and trust. One way to combat this is to be crystal clear about the way you monitor and manage data. These daily actions will heavily inform how your customers think about your brand. A recent IBM survey found that 75% of consumers polled will not buy products, no matter how great they are, if they don’t trust the company to protect their data.

    Are you sharing how you are plan to address a data breach or a data privacy incident? What steps do you take to avoid either of these? Do your customers have faith in your network security? Are you being intentional and authentic? Are you honest and open, or are your communications canned and disconnected, from the customer’s perspective? These are all important questions to answer that can strengthen relationships with your customers.

    3. Set intentions and ask questions as you scale. Marketers should always consider: How will this data benefit my connection to my customers? Be clear about how your data strategy is documented and that you have effective mechanisms to implement. It’s important that your data strategy is used across teams, so there’s cross-functional visibility of the decisions made, an awareness of how the strategy supports the business and complies with current regulations.

    Our ability to manage massive amounts of data with algorithms is an awesome responsibility, and one that must be taken with intentionality.

    Our ability to manage massive amounts of data with algorithms is an awesome responsibility, and one that must be taken with intentionality. It’s up to us to set the rules of the game, the terms of engagement, and the operational data governance mechanisms for how we access and leverage data. Together, we can all operate better, for ourselves, and the customers we serve.

    Ensure the above considerations are top-of-mind and known across your company, and begin to build these values and way of thinking into your company culture. At the end of the day, everyone needs to be cognizant of their company’s data privacy policies so they can self-regulate their own work and be accountable for how their company operates and is perceived. We must all focus on being open and honest to establish credibility and take responsibility for data ethics in a field faced with new complexities introduced by the digital economy, infinite data, and advanced data science. Taking this more considerate approach will help your team chart the course for future success, whatever tomorrow may bring.

    Want to hear Sheila Colclasure moderate a RampUp 2019 session entitled “Innovation and Regulation in Perfect Harmony?” Subscribe to RampedUp.us below to receive an email when the session videos are available.

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