How Companies Can Handle Data To Build Brand Trust

The past year a ton of legislation has come to the fore to restrict advertising and access to data. This probably needed to happen but it has made businesses have to rethink their strategy. Going forward it would appear businesses need to focus on building consumer trust and make sure they are prepared for upcoming changes.

Companies would traditionally refer to advertising as the Wild West. An area where there were no rules and you could do what you wanted. Although there were ethical practices there were no laws, so companies could theoretically do what they wanted and practically they often did.

Well, there is a sheriff in town now and so these companies have quickly found themselves in a position where they have to get stuff in order. GDPR saw to that.

Since these regulations have come to the fore, and with further restrictions on cookie use on the horizon, the platforms that businesses use for advertising are rethinking and changing their rules to fall in line. A new strategy is key then for companies to be able to continue to market themselves and reach their audience while complying to the system we now find ourselves with. So what is the strategy? How do businesses move forward? Perhaps by using these concepts.

Find alternative and privacy-focused methods of data analysis.

If the focus now is rebuilding consumer trust then one of the ways to start rebuilding that is to be more responsible with how we use their data. A starting point is to be explicitly clear with how data will be used at the very point that it is attained. Once that data is stored it needs to be done so securely and in a way that even if the companies security was compromised that data would be encrypted to the point that nobody could take advantage anyway.

One way of doing this is by using noise. By doing this you have the data for an individual but it isn’t linked to that individual. It s a bit like blurring someone’s face out of a picture. You can still see all the things around them but there is no way of relating them to the person in the picture. With differential privacy, the “picture” is blurred to the point that you can’t identify the person but you can still get information from it. Using this method protects user data in a very real way.

Of course, using a method like this has its limitations. It might be great for companies that need data for analytics and measurement. However not so useful when it comes to targeted advertising. Google has realised this and is being proactive in supplying resources which can aid companies in developing data practices which work for the consumer and for the companies themselves.

Transparency and putting privacy at the fore.

When I say transparency I don’t just mean getting users to read a privacy policy, because who reads them anyway? There should be a clear and concise message about how data will be used. But more so then that companies should take their data management seriously. The onus shouldn’t be on a consumer to read the fine print. And consent to using data should be seen as a privilege by companies. Once they have that data they can put themselves in pole position by handling it sensitively. This is how brands can build a feeling of trust. As well as being good practice right now this will probably become law in the not too distant future. Companies who are ahead of the curve will save themselves work and look good as a consequence.

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