Data privacy regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union or the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in the state of California, are inescapable. By 2024, for instance, 75% of the entire world’s population will have its personal data protected by encryption, multifactor authentication, masking and erasure, as well as data resilience. It’s clear data protection, and its three pillars—data security, data ethics and data privacy—is the baseline expectation for organizations and stakeholders, both now and into the future.

While this trend is about protecting customer data and maintaining trust amid shifting regulations, it can also be a game changing, competitive advantage for organizations. In implementing cohesive data protection initiatives, organizations that can secure their users’ data see huge wins in brand image and customer loyalty and stand out in the marketplace.

The key to differentiation comes in getting data protection right, as part of an overall data strategy. Keep reading to learn how investing in the right data protection supports and optimizes your brand image.

Use a data protection strategy to maintain your brand image and customer trust

How a company collects, stores and protects consumer data goes beyond cutting data storage costs—it is a central driving force of its reputation and brand image. As a baseline, consumers expect organizations to adhere to data privacy regulations and compliance requirements; they also expect the data and AI lifecycle to be fair, explainable, robust, equitable and transparent.

Operating with a ‘data protection first’ point of view forces organizations to ask the hard hitting, moral questions that matter to clients and prospects: Is it ethical to collect this person’s data in the first place? As an organization, what are we doing with this information? Have we shared our intentions with respondents from whom we’ve collected this data? How long and where will this data be retained? Are we going to harm anybody by doing what we do with data?

Differentiate your brand image with privacy practices rooted in data ethics

When integrated appropriately, data protection and the surrounding data ethics creates a deep trust with clients and the market overall. Take Apple, for example. They have been exceedingly clear in communicating with consumers what data is collected, why they’re collecting that data, and whether they’re making any revenue from it. They go to great lengths to integrate trust, transparency and risk management into the DNA of the company culture and the customer experience. A lot of organizations aren’t as mature in this area of data ethics.

One of the key ingredients to optimizing your brand image through data protection and trust is active communication, both internally and externally. This requires organizations to rethink the way they do business in the broadest sense. To do this, organizations must lean into data privacy programs that build transparency and risk management into everyday workflows. It goes beyond preventing data breaches or having secure means for data collection and storage. These efforts must be supported by integrating data privacy and data ethics into an organization’s culture and customer experiences.

When cultivating a culture rooted in data ethics, keep these three things in mind:

  • Regulatory compliance is a worthwhile investment, as it mitigates risk and helps generate revenue and growth.
  • The need for compliance is not disruptive; it’s an opportunity to differentiate your brand and earn consumer trust.
  • Laying the foundation for data privacy allows your organization to manage its data ethics better.

Embrace the potential of data protection at the core of your competitive advantage

Ultimately, data protection fosters ongoing trust. It isn’t a one-and-done deal. It’s a continuous, iterative journey that evolves with changing privacy laws and regulations, business needs and customer expectations. Your ongoing efforts to differentiate your organization from the competition should include strategically adopt and integrate data protection as a cultural foundation of how work gets done.

By enabling an ethical, sustainable and adaptive data protection strategy that ensures compliance and security in an ever-evolving data landscape, you are building your organization into a market leader.

To learn more about how the three pillars of data protection and how you can incorporate these into your data strategy to get the most of your data, visit The Data Differentiator, an educational guide for data leaders.  

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