REAL PRIVACY IS
MORE THAN
FOLLOWING RULES

COLUMN /
Evelien schrijver

Panic! New legislation! Are we compliant? What do we have to change, what are we still allowed to do, and what can we (actually) do no longer? 

Lead generation, profiling, mailing, re-targeting...everything will be examined in depth with one focus. What am I allowed to do within the loopholes of the law? Or in other words: How can I ensure that I can continue to send my unwanted mail to as many consumers as possible? Companies spend thousands of euros and hundreds of hours on being GDPR-compliant. Because once that label is on the website, everything is solved. Right? 

Why have that focus on what is not allowed, or what is just barely allowed? You can also accept what we have all already known for a long time: the data belongs to the consumer. Full stop! And it is up to us to win the consumer’s trust, so that we are graciously allowed to use the data to serve our customer as well as possible. 

So why not embrace that legislation as an opportunity to prove to our clients that we are worthy of their data? And not because the consumer expects it from you, or because the law says so, but mainly because, as a brand or retailer, you just want to. 

I am sure that the way a company deals with data plays an increasingly important role in the image that a consumer has of that company, and thus in their willingness to do business with that company. A strong brand is one that the consumer respects, and that handles their data with care. 

Treating information with respect is what real privacy is all about. And in my opinion, that goes beyond data security, and certainly beyond a quality label. It is not about storing as much data as possible as securely as possible, or about focussing on obtaining a legal opt-in. It’s mostly about showing the consumer that you deserve all that data. That you actually treat it as a precious commodity. That you do not just send information randomly, even if you know exactly what the consumer would or would not like to read. No, respecting data means that you pleasantly surprise consumers, do not trouble them unnecessarily, and only send information that is relevant. 

It means that you are certain in the knowledge that you will find the consumer who really wants to talk to you. That you will show that you really know and understand them, and that you will really recognize them everywhere. 

If only all of us together would spend more time and money on that...