Step back from a compliance mindset to seize these three opportunities to strengthen your brand and customer experience.
Like most digital agencies with international clients, we’ve been talking about GDPR for some time now. Effective May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation provides new rights for people to access the information that organizations hold about them, and also requires better data management for businesses. And though it’s European Union law, US-based companies collecting personal data from people in the EU are also affected.
Naturally, when it comes to regulatory matters, we encourage our clients to get the expert opinions of their legal advisers. But we don’t think the conversation ends with compliance—we strongly believe that reflecting on the spirit of the new regulations can help business leaders and product owners tap into opportunities to strengthen their brand and customer experience.
Real transparency enhances perceptions of brands
According to studies conducted by Forrester in 2017, consumers have growing concerns regarding how their data is used. In one study, over 60% of respondents stated that they worry about how their online/mobile behavior can be tracked.
Simply being transparent about your data policies can put people at ease and strengthen their trust with your organization. Going a step further to communicate the tangible benefits of all this data collection can improve perceptions even more. Many people are happy to share information in exchange for content tailored to their interests, or the ability to more quickly complete tasks on your site.
Differentiate with your brand’s tone of voice
While the banner requiring site visitors to accept cookies may be a required fixture, there’s no reason it has to be written in dry legalese. However you educate people about your data protection policies, deliver these messages in harmony with your brand’s tone of voice. Users will be much more likely to read—and understand—your policies if they're described with the same care you take with your marketing copy.
Revisit the dark corners of your UX
Since GDPR requires that users provide “unambiguous consent” to data processing, using passive techniques like pre-ticked checkboxes or inactivity to obtain consent aren’t permitted. But in reality, these kinds of design patterns usually create a poor user experience, and both your customers and your design team will be happy to see them go.
In their place, create user flows that highlight the benefits of engagement. For example, if you effectively communicate the relevance of your monthly e-newsletter, chances are your audience will be happy to knowingly sign up for it—and for that matter, your unsubscribe rates will likely drop as well.
It’s undeniable that the changes demanded by GDPR can be complicated and far-reaching, but there’s good reason for optimism. In fact, a survey of corporate decision-makers showed that 32% expect improved brand perception from GDPR compliance.
And going beyond mere compliance—truly adopting an ethos of transparency with your audience—can transform your response to this challenge into a competitive advantage.