How To Use GDPR Compliance To Boost Brand Value

GDPR Compliance To Boost Brand ValueFor the past couple of months, the online world has been speaking a lot about the GDPR compliance. Naturally, the marketers and the consumers are curious about the impact of the new regulation.

However, before we discuss what the GDPR compliance is and how they are relevant to you, you must understand that all of these rules are there to make your online experience easier and safe.

Though it might look like a burden to modify your existing strategies and policies according to the new requirement of GDPR compliance, in the end, it is you who will reap the rewards.

Additionally, you must know that the GDPR compliance comes into play from May 25, 2018. Therefore, it is now or never for you to restructure your online marketing policies. At this juncture, if you get your hands on something that can make your transition more comfortable, the job becomes more natural.

Keep reading the following sections to know more about GDPR compliance rules and its impact on your business to avoid any non-compliance later.

What is GDPR?

GDPR or General Data Protection Regulations are a set of rules created by the European Union to protect the personal data of individuals locally. The GDPR compliance guidelines by Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) also speak about restricting the data that the businesses export or share.

In other words, the GDPR compliance aims to ensure that the citizens are protected, and they are in control of their data. The rules also intend to grant the citizens of withdrawing their consent when they want to.

Why GDPR compliance is necessary

The GDPR compliance requirements are tabulated to shield the citizens against the potential risk associated with the users’ data. The EU is committed to maintain and protect the misuse of the personal data of its citizen in the wake of the latest cybersecurity issues and the globalization of data.

You might feel that GDPR compliance is only for the businesses operating in the Europe countries as the EU governing body compiled them. However, if you have an online presence, you must be aware of the GDPR compliance rules, as you need to abide by them if you have a European customer. As having a customer means that you will be dealing with the customers’ data, so the rules of GDPR automatically applies to you too.

So what could happens if you decide not to abide by GDPR compliance in your business, or your digital marketing strategies?

Well, for starters, you could be facing the negative implications of not adopting GDPR. The consequences might include warnings, ban on data processing, suspending data transfers, and a restricting the data you have.

Moreover, non-compliance with GDPR is punishable, and you could end up paying a huge amount of money as fines. The penalty of GDPR non-compliance is a sum up to 4% of your annual turnover, or 20 million euros.

The GDPR penalty depends on many factors. It can depend on the nature of any issue that might arise, your intentions regarding the problem, and your record of past infringement. The factors might also include the type of data involved, the method of discovery, and the steps you are taking to lessen the risks.

Therefore, you understand now that GDPR non-compliance can hurt your business. To avoid any such messy affair, educate yourself with these following 12-point GDPR overview so that you can modify your business strategies.

The rules of GDPR: How to check your GDPR compliance

1.Create Awareness that you are GDPR compliant

One of the first thing that you must take care of in your GDPR compliance journey is to spread awareness among your company. The GDPR compliance rulebook says that the key people and the decision maker of your organization must be aware of the fact that you are implementing GDPR.

Well, the rule may look bizarre to some, but this step is critical to the success of proper GDPR implementation. The governing body has included this rule to ensure that the decision-makers in your company accept the impact of the law.

It is crucial that they prepare for any consequences to avoid any miscommunication during the later stage, in case you are not in line with GDPR compliance.

What can you do about it?

Make sure you spend some time understanding the GDPR rules issued by Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). Subsequently, sit down with the key people of your organization to explain about GDPR compliance and its implications.

Moreover, understanding these rules are necessary as it could alter the way you approach marketing your business online. It could help you implement the requirement of GDPR compliance more seamlessly, and without any conflict of interests with your management.

2.Holding information of consumers

When you deal with online audiences, it is expected that you possess more personal data about your customers or subscribers. The data stored may be the email addresses or the phone numbers, but the fact remains that you do have it. The GDPR compliance requires you to check all of these data and document them.

By “checking the data,” ICO means that you should document everything you know about the data. It includes the identification of the details of the personal data, the source from which it was obtained or accessed, and who else can access it.

What can you do about it?

To document all of the data, you might need to run an information audit. However, the check can actually be beneficial for you. Let me explain how.

Well, first, it is a mandatory requirement for the GDPR compliance. So, whether you like it or not you still have to do it. This audit takes you one step closer to the GDPR compliant status.

Secondly, the data audit will help you to understand your users’ behavior and engagement. You can also find out the non-responsive subscribers, and redesign your marketing strategies at some later phase. You can either discard these non-responsive audiences from your marketing channels or restructure new plan to engage them. Either way, weeding them out will help you to optimize your marketing budget.

3.Communicate Privacy Information

More often than not, you must have noticed that every website or online business have a small link to something known as privacy notice. You must have one on your site too. The privacy notice speaks about your identity and your business. It also asks your subscribers to provide you with their communication data if they want to associate with your company.

However, many people do not fully fathom the importance of privacy notice and take it for granted. The GDPR compliance rules put an end to it. Along with the current criteria of the privacy notice, ICO has made a few additions.

What can you do about it?

According to the new GDPR regulations, you must mention your lawful basis of data processing along with the existing requirements. Additionally, you need to explain the retention period of the users’ data. You must implement all of these after reviewing your current privacy policy.

Moreover, you must inform your subscribers that they have a right to complain to the ICO, provided they feel that there is a problem with how you are handling their data. The privacy notice must convey all of these in a clear, concise, and understandable language.

4.Rights of Individuals while providing information

Though you have a business to grow, still you must respect the rights of your subscribers. You must also check your procedure to ensure about how you would handle or delete data electronically without violating any clause.

The GDPR rules list out several rights that you have to maintain. These include the right to be informed, right to access, right to rectify, right to erase, and a few more. One of the inclusion speaks about the right to portability. It is critical to mention and explains the rights of the subscribers while porting their data from one location to another.

Well, the GDPR compliance law about subscribers’ right is both good news and bad news. It is bad news because the process to implement all of these enhancements might be quite lengthy and might take some time.

However, the good news is, these rules may help in weeding out all your shady competitors in the end. When you lay out so many rights to individuals, it increases the trust factor your subscribers have in you. Eventually, these subscribers would be easy to target with products and services more suited to their need.

What can you do about it?

Make sure that you explain the rights of your subscribers before they submit their personal details. You must include all points that they have the right to, and they can access the details easily. Your website must also describe the process and precaution of data porting to the subscribers.

Additionally, you must educate your staffs and officials about the rights of customers and the implications of GDPR compliance. It will take care of the issues that might sometimes arise between your business and the subscribers they are dealing with.

5.Access Requests Subjecting to Usage

The above rules for the GDPR compliance speak about what you should do with your current settings and strategies in place. However, the fifth rule asks you about your future course of action.

To elaborate, let’s say, you already know that you must allow your subscribers to exercise a few rights about their data. However, you must further include an explanation of how you look to handle user requests after implementing the new rules. That also, you must comply with any user requests within a month.

The user requests here means answering to the users if they request access to their data. Therefore, you must have an action plan about how you would take care of the requests. You can also refuse the requests. However, if you do so, you must provide your user with a plausible and legal reason for the denial. If they are not satisfied, you can ask them to put up a complaint about you to the ICO.

Thus, technically you as well as your users stay protected against all the possible violation of data, with ICO handling the issue in case of any discrepancies. Moreover, the law allows you to be in constant communication with the users. Hence, you will be able to judge the user intent of your product and services, thus optimizing your campaigns in the future.

What can you do about it?

You must stay in constant communication with your subscriber and let them know your future actions regarding their personal data. You must always communicate with your subscribers when it comes to their data. Moreover, you must satisfy the user request as soon as possible to avoid any GDPR compliance issue against your business.

6.Legal Basis for Processing Personal Data

If you feel that maintaining the fifth rule of GDPR means you can deny your subscribers the access to their data with a casual refusal, think again. The sixth rule for GDPR compliance provides a safeguard to the fifth rule.

Therefore, before you exercise the previous clause, you must identify and disclose the lawful basis of processing personal data to your subscribers. It means you should make it clear about your accountability beforehand. It also means that the subscribers will have a stronger right to have their data deleted if they want.

What can you do about it?

Well, let me show you an example so that you know what lawful disclosure means.

Google mail updates on GDPR

The above mail from Google explains why it is so necessary to implement GDPR to your business. Moreover, it also shows you how to let your subscribers know about it.

You can follow the same procedure and let your subscribers know about their legal basis. It will help you to avoid quite a few hassles if your subscribers are pre-informed of your data usage.

7.Asking for Consent from subscribers

When you send out a marketing communication or promotion, you want people to engage and interact with it. You also want people to opt-in with your marketing channels, so that you can communicate with them whenever you want.

Therefore, it all translates to a simple fact. Anyone with a massive subscribers list has the edge over those who do not have it.

Some build the subscribers list over the years, asking for consents and permissions. However, some people also make this list overnight, by collecting the personal data of the subscribers through every means possible. The GDPR compliance rule puts an end to the practice of data collection through any other means, other than the subscribers’ consent itself.

The GDPR explicitly puts the importance on collecting data only if the subscribers agree to be a part of your business. You have to record how you ask for permission, record the data, and manage users’ permission now. Moreover, you cannot take silence as a measure of consent from your users.

Additionally, asking for consent must be very clear, and must include the option of opt-out. The guidelines must also mention how the users can easily withdraw from your association if they willing to do so.

I spoke briefly about the effect of GDPR in your SMS marketing strategies. It mentions about the opt-in process, the importance of consent, and much more. However, GDPR compliance is not just restricted to SMS marketing. You have to implement the same strategies of SMS marketing all through your marketing channels through which you ask for a consent from the visitors.

What can you do about it?

Be clear while asking people about their details. Make sure the consent form or the opt-in form contains all the necessary details that the users need to know before they submit their details to you. Additionally, mention your reason for collecting the data from the users and how you are going to use them.

8.Obtaining Children’s consent

One of the significant downside of internet among countless positives is the way it affects the children through malicious online content. The GDPR regulations seek to safeguard the children from any possible hazardous effects too.

The governments across the world are imposing quite a few measures to preserve the interests of children. As they are vulnerable, they can easily subscribe to any business if it satisfies their liking. However, not all websites are genuine, and they might misuse the data provided by a child.

Though your business is quite trustworthy, you need to consider the children factor while a user is subscribing to you. The EU governing body would is expected to act sternly in case of any violation regarding GDPR compliance guidelines.

What can you do about it?

To do so, you now have to think of a way to determine the age of a user opting-in. If the user is minor, you have to ensure that you obtain parental consent for the users. Moreover, the terms and conditions of the approval must be written in such a way that children understand the meaning it conveys.

9.Data Breaches concerns

The online world has seen a fair share of data breaches over the past couple of years. Now the GDPR compliance law makes it your duty to handle data breaches in an organized manner.

The GDPR specifically mentions that you must ensure the right procedures and practices to detect, report, and investigate any personal data breaches. Additionally, depending upon the type of violation, you must inform ICO and the individuals about the incident.

Moreover, you must know the possible outcome of any data breach if they happen. You must make provisions to send out information to the affected according to the seriousness of the issue. If the data breach threatens the reputation, finances, or the confidentiality of the subscribers, you must notify them about the violation and the steps you are going to take to protect their interests.

When you have a large base of subscribers, the data generated is massive. Therefore, if you are looking to segment your subscribers, it actually creates the buyers’ persona. Anyone accessing those data due to any breach would affect not only you but also the consumers themselves. You must provide enough attention to this particular rule to safeguard yours as well as the consumers’ interests.

What can you do about it?

Assess your current data protection scenario and identify the potential lapses that might occur in future. You must also have a proper action plan in case you are affected by a data breach.

10.Design for Data Protection & Data Protection Impact Assessment

If you already practice adopting privacy by design approach, carrying out “Data Privacy Impact Assessment (DPIA)” is not a new thing to you. You know the benefits of such practice. However, if the term seems new, you must start practicing it, as it is demanded by the law to do so now.

The DPIA becomes mandatory in a few sensitive cases after the implementation of the GDPR. The scenarios include the introduction of new technology, a significant profiling activity, or large-scale data processing for special data categories.

What can you do about it?

If you are handling a massive amount of data of your subscribers, and intend to change the way you use it, you need caution. In case the processing involves high-risk, you must consult the ICO. Moreover, you must also seek assistance to understand the impact and compliance of such activities.

Hence, your marketing strategies would be under the scanner of the ICO now. Any major marketing decision that involves massive data handling must go through ICO.

Moreover, the Article 29 of Working Party of ICO can provide enough assistance and help you to understand more about the PIA.

11.Data Protection Officers

The penultimate rule to obtain a GDPR compliance tag is to appoint Data Protection Officer for your business. The EU governing body has explicitly mentioned the essential eligibility requirements of such a person. Moreover, the ICO has also indicated about the types of business that have to appoint a DPO.

If you are into online marketing, it is evident that you deal with many users data. Therefore, automatically you fall under the obligation to protect the data from any data breaches.

What can you do about it?

If you already have a Data Protection Officer in place, it will not affect you much. However, if there is no chief DPO in your business, it may cost you financially to appoint one now. You also have to identify and record the roles and responsibility of such a position in your company to avoid any miscommunication at the later stages. Moreover, it is a mandatory requirement for GDPR compliance.

12.International Business Concerns

The EU’s stance towards data protection scenario is now clear to you. However, the GDPR takes another step forward about protecting the online activities with the 12th law. According to this rule, you have to determine your main establishment and designate someone as the lead data protection supervisory authority. The regulation is only valid if you are carrying out cross-border processing over multiple EU states.

The supervisory will be responsible for maintaining all the data protection protocol and must be situated with the principal establishment. The rule clears the ambiguity over the data protection responsibility by recognizing only a single authority in case of any data breach.

However, if you do not have any cross-border data processing, you may not bother about this rule. Even if you have cross-border processing, this rule allows you be aware of any situation that may arise in any EU location through a single person.

What can you do about it?

For every office you have in EU that handles the marketing data of your subscribers must report to a single authority concerning data protection. Though it should not tamper with your general marketing initiatives, still you must be careful about the process of data handling to avoid any mishaps.

Conclusion

As you see now, GDPR is a law created to safeguard your customers against the malpractices of other malicious websites and online business. Understanding the requirement of the GDPR compliance and abiding by it would help you re-invent yourself as a trusted business.

Moreover, GDPR compliance is about maintaining the business ethics as well. The rules might seem harsh at first glance, but if you look closely, they are not. These rules polish the basic etiquettes of a business, which you already maintain. However, the regulation looks to punish those who follow illegal methods to disrupt the online marketplace.

Let us know how you seek to implement these rules if you have missed some of them. Also, tell us the difference that the implementation of GDPR made in your business. You can tell us about them in the comments section below.

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Sandip Acharyya

A former metallurgical engineer, Sandip switched to be a digital marketer and writer. In Way2Online, he authors in-depth guides and articles that tell about the various digital marketing techniques, to help entrepreneurs and marketers to grow and improve their business. He likes to spend his leisure by reading books, watching movies, and making music.

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