The Information Commissioners’ Officer (ICO) is preparing to launch a consumer education campaign that aims to increase the public’s “trust and confidence” in how businesses and organisations use their data.
Launching in April ahead of the new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) coming into effect, the campaign will run under the banner ‘Your Data Matters’. While exact details on the creative and media are still being signed off, it will include a logo, strapline and storytelling content that aims to bring data protection to life.
To determine what that content should be, the ICO set up a hub comprising representatives from companies across a range of sectors, including Comic Relief, RBS, the BBC and Sainsbury’s, and elicited the help of its agency, Squad.
That has led to the campaign focusing on scenarios from everyday life, such as a visit to a travel agent, buying a new PC or watching programmes on iPlayer, that will show how individual data rights play out – both the positive and negative aspects. The aim is to cover the different rights available to consumers and highlight the benefits of a data-driven world.
Speaking at an event held by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) today (23 February), the ICO’s head of corporate affairs Robert Parker said: “The ICO public education campaign is not really about GDPR or 25 May [when the regulations come into law]. This is about increasing public trust and confidence in how organisations store and use public data. But GDPR is an opportunity to increase public trust.
“Informing and educating the public is the first step in the behaviour changed needed to ensure the success of data regulations for brands, the public, third sectors and the regulator.”
The decision to launch the campaign came after research conducted by the ICO in August last year found that only 20% of the public has trust and confidence in how organisations store the personal information. Just 8% said they had a good understanding of how their information is made available to others.
But two-thirds of consumers said they would be more willing to share data once they heard about GDPR and what it means for their data, according to separate DMA data. Rachel Aldighieri, managing director at the DMA said: “While consumer education will not solve all the problems, if marketers can embed the ethos of GDPR into how they talk to consumers, that combined with education will build trust.”
That isn’t to say there might not be negative impacts for companies. While the campaign aims to “strike a balance between consumer education and championing the industry”, one “inevitable outcome” is likely to be that more consumers demand access to their data or make use of the right to be forgotten.
Fedelma Good, director at PwC, explains: “There will be different materials and messages that help to explain to people in straightforward and practical ways how they can exercise their rights, but not in a way that leads to an unreasonable drive to exercising those rights.
“There are concerns that an education campaign may drive an increase in people exercising their rights. That is inevitable but it is not the objective. It is about achieving a baseline of balanced information to help people understand when exercising their rights make the best sense.”