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In Part 1 of our Cookie Consent and Privacy blog series, we explored the industries with a history of consent and the lessons learned from their implementation. We proposed the hypothesis: specific industries that existed well in advance of the hyper digitalized world we live in today are well-practiced at working through consent issues. We hope you enjoy Part 2 of this series, where we analyze the connections between cookie consent, brand trust, and revenue.  In Part 3, we further explore and provide examples of informed consent. 

With privacy risks and implications in the spotlight, the time is ripe to not simply comply with privacy laws but to go above and beyond what is required, leveraging privacy practices as part of your brand building strategy.  Strong privacy practices can become part of your brand management toolkit by applying a privacy lens to your consumer experience programs and marketing activities. TrustArc’s inaugural Global Privacy Benchmarks Survey in 2020 found that 81% of respondents view privacy as a clear differentiator for their company. (1) 

There is mounting evidence that companies that incorporate privacy into their marketing strategy have a competitive advantage. Addressing privacy publicly, transparently, and as an explicit element of your brand helps build trust with consumers, making them more willing to share accurate and complete data with your organization. According to Forrester, privacy management impacts consumer engagement, brand reputation, and, ultimately, revenues as value-based consumers increasingly interact with companies they deem ethical. (2)

The virtuous marketing circle that strong privacy practices create are obvious once described but remain underutilized by most companies: consumers are more likely to provide personal information to companies they know will treat their data with integrity. As a result, companies can deliver more personalized experiences that provide more value to their consumers. The end results of value creation are obvious: better value to consumers nets sustainable gains in company revenue.  

The gateway to gaining consumers’ trust is cookie consent. While some jurisdictions have more robust cookie consent requirements than others, the opportunity to brand your cookie consent experience through purpose-built software remains the same wherever your company serves its consumers.  Here are some key questions to ask yourself to get started:

  • Does our cookie consent solution enable us to demonstrate compliance and build trust with our consumers?
  • Is our cookie consent solution in plain language (not legalese) that is easily understandable?
  • Does our cookie consent banner dynamically display the language based on the website visitor’s location or browser language preference?
  • Is our consent experience “on brand” with the rest of our website experience?
  • Does our cookie consent solution give consumers control over how much of their data is shared with the company?
  • Can consumers withdraw their consent at any time and have their personal data protected?
  • Is our consumers’ experience with our brand consistent with their expectations that our cookie consent sets for them?

More than ever, organizations must consider the delicate balance between personalization and privacy. Personalization is critical in digital marketing but with personal “space creep” causing more and more consumers to be disenfranchised, gathering the necessary data is becoming more of a challenge. Even when data is collected and used for a “personalized” experience within the bounds of regulatory compliance, the benefits are lost if the consumer perceives the experience as intrusive. In this scenario, the personalized marketing experience – the tactic aimed at driving business – becomes ineffective and leads to disengagement, a lost sale, and the potential loss of brand trust. 

Cookie consent is the starting point for your digital compliance journey. Your cookie consent practices should be designed to enable your organization to build, grow, and sustain a trustworthy brand by providing an unparalleled privacy user experience and radical transparency to your consumers. There are two additional steps needed to deliver a truly transparent and privacy-centric user experience. First, gain a comprehensive understanding of your website’s tracking behavior. Next, build and implement procedures for consumers interested in exercising their data subject rights. 

(1) TrustArc Inaugural Global Privacy Benchmarks Survey 2020
(2) Forrester Research, Inc.: “Predictions 2021: Privacy.”, October 2020