How Brands Can Build Trust Though Privacy Tools

How Brands Can Build Trust Though Privacy Tools

By letting users take control of what information is shared, brands can greatly improve their relationships with customers

  • 4 may 2018

Privacy is a delicate issue in the digital age. Research indicates that millennials are both more aware of but less concerned about potential online security risks than other generations, which means that companies dealing in personal data have the opportunity to tap into digital-savvy users who are both open to sharing information about themselves but also acutely aware of how that data can be misused.

As Facebook’s recent woes go to show, trust is hard to build and easily broken. And though consumers may be more willing than ever before to share information with companies they trust, they also want to know how exactly that information will be used. A recent Pew Research Center poll indicated that 91% of adults “agree or strongly agree” that consumers have lost control of how personal information is collected and used by companies.

To understand the ways in which brands can build trust with consumers on privacy issues, PSFK researchers identified three trends that are helping to redefine the conversation around privacy. These methods allow for greater transparency and more open relationships between brand and consumer, as well as empowering users to take back control of their own information. We take a look at three examples below:

Reciprocal Relationships

Recognizing that data is valuable, some brands are incentivizing consumers to share personal information through opt-in experiences, giving consumers insight and control over what information is shared in exchange for rewards and convenience, creating a stronger bond between the consumer and the brand. GM, for instance, is using IBM’s AI Watson to market brands and services to drivers with GM’s OnStar system. The feature, called OnStar Go, is an opt-in service that will sift through data in order to recognize driver’s habits, allowing third-party marketers to deliver targeted offers, whether nearby coffee shops, reminders about shopping-list items, or paying for fuel from their dashboard.

Ownership Dashboards

In an effort to be more transparent, new technologies are being leveraged to demonstrate the importance of data security, empowering users to take ownership and make smarter decisions about their privacy and security. Snapchat’s Snap Map feature shares the location of posted Snaps on the SnapMap. To set it up, users can control their visibility options, including the option of “GhostMode.” To avoid background tracking, the app updates location when users open the app. If users don’t open the app for several hours, their icons will disappear from the map rather than reflect a long-since-changed location.

Transparent Storytelling

Brands are delivering transparency, value and control to consumers by being upfront about information concerning pricing, policies, and production that goes into their products and services. LA-based brand Reformation opened its expanded factory space to the public. Reformation began offering tours of its factory as a way to talk about sustainability and show its own green practices to reduce waste. Reformation’s goal is to show the reality of its facility; earlier efforts to do so included spotlighting cutters, sewers, pattern makers and other workers behind the making of the company’s apparel on Instagram.

These are just a few examples of the ways in which brands can leverage privacy tools to improve relations with customers. For more insights, check out PSFK’s report Building Brand Trust Through Privacy Tools.

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