‘Brands should promote benefits of sharing data to lift privacy confidence’

Companies need to place a greater emphasis on marketing the financial and service benefits of exchanging personal data to customers currently more likely to trust the Government with their personal information, according to a report.

Mot consumers say they are comfortable sharing their data with brands if it has a tangible benefit such as savings, according to a study.
Most consumers say they are comfortable sharing their data with brands if it has a tangible benefit such as savings, according to a study.

Nearly two thirds (64%) of those participating in Deloitte’s Data Nation 2014 survey said they either “don’t mind” or are “happy to share” their details with companies if it leads to direct benefits.

The tangible view of data gets less favourable as people age, the report found, with 32% of 15 to 24-year-olds happy to exchange their personal details for rewards such as cheaper goods and personalised products in comparison to 25% for 45 to 54-year-olds.

The data disconnect is underlined by record low levels of confidence among the public concerning data security. Three in five (63%) of consumers do not have “much” or “any” confidence that companies will be able to protect their personal data from losses or theft, according to the study.

To build more trust in their data policies, marketers need to look at how consumers can have a clearer view of the benefits that sharing data with public sector organisations can offer.

Despite millions of patient medical records being stolen earlier this year, 60% of people said they were least concerned about public healthcare providers having access to their data – the most of any sector both public and commercial.

Customers’ faith in the Government over brands was echoed by the 51% who trusted other pubic sector organisations with their data, a marked increase on the 36% and 39% for online retailers and financial firms respectively.

Harvey Lewis, director at Deloitte Analytics, says companies need to look at how the data exchange in the public sector is a strategy grounded in transparency and offering customers more control over their data. Consumers believe they own their data “irrespective of the legal situation” and so giving them “some control” back is important, he adds.

For the plan to work, Lewis says brands should look to introduce shortened versions of privacy policies, dedicated microsites to detail how records are used as well as links to those third party organisations that will also have access to them.

Four out of five (79%) of adults agree that companies should offer more details upfront on what data they collect and how it will be used. While most (84%) believe companies should tell their customers which other organisations they have shared personal data with.

“It’s no longer enough to compete solely on traditional values like product innovation or convenience when trying to appeal to today’s digital consumers,” adds Lewis. “The organisations we talk to sense a shift happening from the old world where perhaps they weren’t as transparent, didn’t offer as much control and the benefits weren’t as clear for data. Data has the potential to be the key differentiator for CMOs.”

When the three “core building blocks” of personalised benefits, transparency and control are integrated into a data strategy the report found customer confidence in an organisation is “two to three times” higher than those that do not.

The number of high profile data breaches in 2014 may have contributed to increasing levels of customer awareness of the data capture practices of companies. There were 24,105 news reports referencing personal data breaches in the first nine months of the year, according to Deloitte compared to the previous two years’ figures of 5,474 and 4,023, respectively.

Lewis says: “If awareness [on data privacy] is going up and that’s driven in part by media reports then something needs to change. Even though levels of awareness are going up, levels of confidence have remained static for the last three years. For too long the debate about data privacy has been a negative one.”

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