Friday, June 22, 2012

Privacy Concerns Result from a Lack of Trust

Are we looking at things backwards?

In a recent discussion on privacy, PII and what we can/cannot do with data the question arose as to what would lead to a privacy issue in the first place.  There are reams of things written on the principles for dealing with privacy from data protection to permitted use to means of redress.   However less seems to be written of what could we do in the first place that is of value to the consumer that might be preventative.

Our roundtable led to the idea that privacy becomes an issue when we violate the trust consumers have placed with us when they shared information.   In his book Loyalty Leap Bryan Peterson, CEO of LoyaltyOne, makes the point that we give up information in hopes of a better relationship, experience, product or service.  In short, we entrust brands to make our lives better - violate that and the walls of privacy quickly rise up.

Since a brand is in the business of satisfying needs, the better job we do on that front the more likely we'll be trusted to do it in the future.  In this sense trust equates to a form of predictability.  When I know what I'm going to get the more willing I may be to share things that make it better or easier. The shroud of privacy arises when I don't know because I have no experience with a brand or our history is erratic and I simply want to protect myself from abuse. 

Trust results from a series of consistent experiences over time.  So rather than just discuss the constraints of consent, limited collection and openness we also need to discuss in the same meeting how information helps us help the consumer in order to minimize his defenses.  

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