True Views: GDPR, an opportunity not an obstacle.

Dialogue between brands and consumers has been revolutionised by data. Communication is more personalised and more seamless than ever, delivering customers the right message, at the right time. For this reason, customer information has become pivotal to commerce.

Retail channel shift – and its associated digital landscape – has played a huge role in the proliferation of data. And while it has allowed brands to mine and analyse these data to inform and adopt more strategic, and personalised, delivery of content, the value of data has seen companies, and consumers, become more at risk of serious data breaches.

To combat this, new regulation comes into force on 25th May 2018, in the form of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) to ensure more effective and safe management of data. The new regulations make retailers and consumer brands nervous for two reasons. First, the data currently held on record by retailers will be open to scrutiny by regulators and individuals alike, and second, unless consent for the collection of existing customer data can be clearly proven, retailers and brands must obtain explicit authority from every customer as to its storage and use – not only going forward, but for all existing data. This is a huge, unwieldly, yet unavoidable, task for compliance teams, with the prospect of severe repercussions including material penalties, if regulations are not met.

Yet, setting this aside for one minute, GDPR can – and should – be viewed as a golden opportunity for businesses. Why?

If a customer is confident that the data they have explicitly agreed to share is better managed and more securely stored, they are more likely to be encouraged to part with more detailed data. And this is where the rewards are: by having higher quality, more up-to-date, relevant and detailed data from a consumer means that brands can serve better informed, more targeted marketing messages, in turn creating a better experience between brand and customer. Trust breeds trust and reciprocal advantage is a core outcome of compliant data storage.

If we view GDPR as more than a compliance exercise, and instead make it a core focus for the business, it will become a strategic opportunity and differentiator that can – ultimately – positively impact the bottom line.

05 December 2017