This week I went to an excellent seminar run by Charity Comms all about how charities can prepare for GDPR.
For those of you who don't know, GDPR is the new General Data Protection Regulation, that will be coming into force in the UK in May 2018. You can read more here.
It's been a hot topic for businesses over the last few months but I think it's an opportunity for brands.
(Quick caveat: I am no data protection expert. If you are worried about this legislation, please seek advice from experts. Like these people.
1. It's an opportunity to show that you care about your customers and take their concerns seriously.
People don't understand how their data is used and they worry about it. GDPR is all about protecting your customers' data and managing it responsibly. This is a good thing. So it's an opportunity for you to demonstrate that you care about your customers (or clients or donors) and solve something that's a real worry to them.
2. It's an opportunity for you to explain why customer information is so important to you.
Companies collect a lot of data about their customers and audiences, often for reasons that really benefit their customers. Like improving services and products. So if you are collecting data for good reasons, there should be no issue in explaining why you need this data and how you are using it for their benefit. Just like Cancer Research did earlier this year. (And if you can't explain why you need it, then why are you asking for people's data?)
3. It's an opportunity to be open and honest with your customers.
How refreshing it will be to read data protection statements that are upfront, clear and concise, as opposed to legalese hidden in small print. By explaining what we're doing with their data properly, our customers will probably respect us even more.
4. It's stuff you should be doing anyway
One of the things I've heard people worrying about regarding this new legislation is data opt-in. Especially around email marketing lists. However, you have needed consent to send someone a marketing email since about 2003. This is not a new thing. And forcing people to opt out of your communications, or adding them to your list without asking is frankly, a crappy thing to do in any case (excuse my language). Isn't it better to spend your time and money communicating with people who want to hear from you, rather than spamming people who forgot to untick a box, or met you once?
As Adeela Warley from Charity Comms said, "GDPR is an opportunity to connect with supporters." This is as true for businesses as it is for charities. So, why not see it as an opportunity to be transparent with, and do the right thing for your customers?
They'll probably thank you.
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