Building Brand Trust Through Transparent Data Practices

Being transparent with your data collection is now an important part of running a successful online business.

Building Brand Trust Through Transparent Data Practices

Our lives are online now more than ever. Most people know that everything they put online has the risk of being seen by those they don’t want it to be. While most people think of online safety regarding their family photos or personal comments, their data is another sensitive spot. It isn’t just the data they input either that companies are gathering, information from their smartwatches and phones and home smart devices gather plenty of background data users may not even be aware of. Due to some less-than-ethical data collection practices in the past, consumers want to interact with brands they can trust and want to be in control of their data. 

The Significance of Brand Trust

All brands know that they need to be trustworthy in order to get and maintain customers. For most, this looks like making a useful product, marketing it accurately, and delivering on the promises given. But there are plenty of ways a brand can be trustworthy that have nothing to do with what you offer.

 In fact, in recent surveys, a company being transparent about its data collection was more important than the product being offered. Over half also say that they trust companies more if not only are they transparent but what they collect makes sense. It is estimated that some 73% of data collected by a company goes unused having not had a specific reason for being collected in the first place. Some companies see this as a way to have data they might need in the future already stored while consumers see it as an overreach of trust.     

Understanding Transparent Data Practices

There are two ways to be transparent with your data practices. One is letting a user know what data is being collected and why. Second, is allowing your customers to easily see the data you collect even after they say yes. Depending on the data and your business, giving them a way to opt out of certain data collection is also important. In general, being clear about why you are collecting data and allowing customers to say no to unnecessary things (though possibly reminding them they might lose their custom experience and recommendations) is how to create transparent data practices. 

Customers also want to know how you plan on protecting their data. Identity theft is one of the top concerns of online users. So what about when the unthinkable happens, your company experiences a breach in security? Letting your consumers know right away and telling them what data was possibly at risk is the best approach. 

Challenges And Considerations

Some businesses may have misconceptions when it comes to data transparency. The idea that it is expensive, time-consuming, not necessary, or could cause your business to lose its competitive edge is all out there. While there is certainly an expense and time allocation cost in regards to data transparency, the pay-off of a loyal customer base is well worth it. In regards to competitive edge, companies have to realize that data collection is not new and your customers have most likely already given permissions to competing companies just by nature of doing their own research on products. Ultimately, this is where your superior product now comes into play and not your customer's data. 

The Future of Data Transparency

Being transparent with your data collection is now an important part of running a successful online business. Being open doesn’t just allow you to build trust with your base, but can also give you access to more data as consumers are more willing to let you collect it. Getting ahead of the curve on transparency might also help you in the near future. Certain states are drafting data collection regulations with California already having the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). A federal law might also be coming soon. Data collection transparency also extends into AI and Machine Learning that is beginning to be used more and more by companies. Keep following us for more info on modern business practices and how you can remain at the top.

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