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Why GDPR Will Enable Better Relationships Between Brands and Consumers

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) represents a foundational shift in the way that personal data privacy is handled, with enhanced rights for data subjects, stricter penalties for noncompliance, and an enforceable obligation to report breaches. Moving forward, individuals, for instance, will have the right to complete transparency over where and how their data is being utilized by an entity. Organizations have been given a runway to adopt new processes, and now must adapt, or face penalties for non-compliance.

Certainly this has become an enormously pressing issue for both governmental and consumer-facing organizations. Within the marketing discipline, which has become increasingly dependent on the use of consumer data to target personalized messaging, GDPR is of particular importance. Much has been written in recent months about the law and the impact it will have on brands’ ability to market their goods and services effectively.

While GDPR is specifically relevant to organizations operating within the European Union, it would be shortsighted to ignore the rising global conversation centered on personal data privacy. In the United States, after recent fallout over the misuse of data by research firm Cambridge Analytica during the 2016 Presidential Election, Facebook has taken strong steps toward enhancing transparency and data privacy management for users.

Some may fear that this cascading global trend will lead to the end of marketing as we know it. It seems as though once every few years this concern arises, most recently with ad-blocking technology. Instead, data privacy laws, platform updates, and even shifting consumer preferences simply serve to give power back to the consumer, requiring brands to think and act differently to attract and retain the loyalty of their customers. Tony Welz, the Founder and Principal at W2 Communications, does a solid job of articulating this message in his column for Forbes. “Rather than viewing the GDPR as a burden of doing business in Europe, we can use it to reconnect with core principles of true and trusted brand-customer relationships, enabled in a new way.”

At Olapic, privacy has always been central to our mission. Maintaining a high level of trust, transparency, and authenticity between brands and their consumers is at the very heart of our business. As a global company, these changes are material to the way that we help brands connect with their audiences through the collection and activation of user-generated content. Fortunately, we’ve been working to prepare for GDPR and to address the API updates introduced by Facebook and Instagram. As we have always strongly recommended that our clients work directly with consumers to obtain rights visual content, this change is not a vast departure from our current model.

We’ve already started to see some of these industry compliance changes begin and expect more to come. For example, the aforementioned Facebook and Instagram API changes recently announced last no longer allow brands to collect content using hashtags on Instagram. Instead, brands will be required to use @ mentions and photo tags to collect information. As a result of this change, we will be providing our clients with the tools to transition their workflow to align with these new requirements.

Consumer privacy is important and the legal requirements in this area will continue to evolve, especially as GDPR will be interpreted by European courts. Olapic is committed to continuing development of our technology and providing best practice recommendations in line with these requirements. Our ultimate goal is to ensure that our client brands continue to find success with Olapic. Because of our strong platform partnerships, global footprint, and depth of experience in our industry, we are confident we are uniquely suited to help brands navigate the future of marketing, building stronger and more relevant relationships with their consumers as a result.

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