How Data Transparency Can Shape the Future of Your Brand and Your Connection to Customers

Author: Laura Aldridge VP, Data Privacy Officer | RAPP

 eliminating these tracking mechanisms. It also served as a wake-up call for marketers, underscoring the urgent need to adapt to the evolving digital landscape.

Historically, the use of third-party cookies has allowed companies to track user behavior online with little to no transparency. This practice is now facing a fundamental shift. Marketers are compelled to rebuild consumer trust by overhauling their data collection methods. In response to these changes, some of the larger companies have initiated mergers and acquisitions with smaller tech firms. This strategy aims to secure alternative data sources, representing a crucial pivot in their approach to gathering consumer insights. This transition challenges marketers to not only seek new methods for data collection but also to ensure these methods align with increasing demands for privacy and transparency.

The long game

Understanding that consumers want to protect their data, and knowing many feel uncertain about which companies to trust, presents an opportunity for marketers. Brands that are perceived to offer significant consumer value consistently maintain a competitive advantage over those that do not. When a brand’s value proposition is exceptional, such as Patagonia’s dedication to sustainability and combating the climate crisis, it naturally earns consumer trust.

Creating trust stems from repeated, positive interactions over time. It’s also important to recognize that not all consumers are alike; some may be more open to sharing their data early on, while others may need more time to become familiar with your brand. Employing data minimization—to only collect what you need—isn’t easy, as the temptation is to gather everything you might need upfront. However, demonstrating to your customers that you are using their data for something meaningful and offering them a valuable exchange will also increase trust. It’s crucial not to seek all the desired data at once but to employ a progressive data capture strategy to build trust gradually.

For example, initially, you might request a customer’s email address to send them a newsletter. Once you’ve fulfilled this promise, you could then ask for their mobile number for updated information on a delivery. Success in these initial interactions increases the likelihood of receiving that additional piece of information.

Data minimization and clarity

Most data science teams can achieve more with less, thanks to advanced technologies. Therefore, it’s wise to take a scrub brush to your data capture forms. If the information you are asking from your consumers is not critical to your business goals, don’t ask for it. Another way to practice data minimization is to routinely de-identify data. By removing personal identifiers, you demonstrate to consumers that you care about their privacy, which will go a long way in building trust.

Of course, consumers won’t know about the efforts you’re making to earn their trust if you don’t communicate with them. Bring your creative and legal teams together to craft a clear, consumer-friendly message about your data privacy standards. Trust is built on clear communication. Bank of America exemplifies this principle by offering assistance and advice to their customers, along with clear explanations (why it matters to them) for the data they require. Their email communications are straightforward, using language consumers can understand, which simplifies the process for consumers to place their trust in them. Consumers understand the necessity of providing information in specific situations and rightfully expect to be informed about the reasons behind these requests.

The phase-out of third-party cookies is inevitable, but this presents an opportunity to emphasize data transparency and foster stronger connections with consumers. By adopting this approach, you can position your brand as a trusted service while gathering sufficient, relevant data to reach your business goals.



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