Understanding GDPR through the lens of the media
13 December 2017
Last month, I was part of a panel at the Festival of Marketing discussing GDPR. As we are now around six months until the compliance deadline, it is a great time to review the challenges and opportunities.
The panel, ‘GDPR – everything you need to know today. A holistic view of the new data regulation‘ also included Dr. Michelle Goddard (Market Research Society), Sabrina Bouguessa (Deputy General Counsel – Teads) and Catherine Armitage (World Federation of Advertisers). The session covered a wide range of insights around how marketers of data-driven businesses can prepare for a future where the power lies with the consumer.
You need to look no further than Equifax, Talk Talk and Bupa to find that data is making news more frequently. It is no longer the realm of tech and IT writers but is of interest to each and every trade and vertical. The fact is, GDPR is a ‘perfect storm’ for media. It is a story that tells of trouble (which media love), that moves fast and suits the pace of media (because companies will have 72 hours to announce any breach); and which has human interest (this is our personal data).
Spotting the faultlines
According to research from the WFA, around 60% of marketers think they will be ready for GDPR – which means at least 40% won’t be. Marketers need to make it their business to know exactly what their company will and won’t be compliant on by the deadline next May. And then the need to build their messages accordingly. Reactive lines reading for the circling journalists waiting for companies to fall foul of compliance are an absolute must, as is media training for whoever will voice them.
The big opportunity
For all the doom and gloom surrounding compliance and preparedness, GDPR is also an opportunity. An opportunity for businesses to streamline their data and in so doing create an opportunity to put positive, proactive messaging out there. Those who are really pioneering compliance can create thought leadership. And GDPR messaging can be crafted in a way that matches your tone of voice and brand personality, creating another powerful touch point with customers.
GDPR can also improve the relationship between brands and consumers by opening up new levels of trust. The opportunity, whether you are the market leader, a challenger or disruptor is to make GDPR compliance a commercial point of difference.
Bringing it to the boardroom
Most marketers have a clear element of data handling in their role but GDPR means data is now a broader C-suite concern. If GDPR could impact your brand reputation then it can’t be left in the hands of legal and data teams. Knowing where the threats and the opportunities lie can make canny marketers a valuable lynchpin in GDPR preparedness.