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In Part 1 of this blog series, we explored the consumer consent lessons that can be learned from sectors that have long grappled with consent. Our “hypothesis” is a simple one: specific industries that existed well in advance of the hyper digitalized world we live in today are well-practiced at working through consent issues. In Part 2 we analyzed the connections between cookie consent, brand trust, and revenue.  In Part 3, we further explore and provide examples of informed consent.

The results from the TrustArc 2020 Global Privacy Benchmarks Survey generally confirmed our hypotheses in Part 1, although we saw a great deal of variation in self-reported performance in every sector. Of the 16 industries that we covered, the seven industries on TrustArc’s Global Privacy Index that ranked above the global mean were respectively:

Informed Consent List

It is easy to see why many companies have not embraced informed consent. Despite consumer complaints about privacy, the vast majority of people are easily distracted from insisting on it through a frictionless approach to “yes”. Even more concerning, experimental research has shown that with even a small incentive, consumers will forgo others’ consent (for a good overview of this eye-opening phenomena, see the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research by Susan Athey on “the privacy paradox”). 

Nonetheless, it’s safe to assume that most companies are both competent at what they do and that their various stakeholders hold them to standards of integrity. So while first impressions matter and something as simple as upfront cookie consent provides the first glimpse into a brand’s integrity, lasting impressions are built on the character of a brand. Brand character as we know is what happens when no one is looking.

Some companies do an excellent job of protecting their consumers and their reputations through processes that reflect principles of informed consent. Examples here are worth noting. 


Cookie policies should be easy for consumers to understand and written in plainspoken explanations of its legalese. A consumer-friendly Cookie Policy builds trust by providing transparency on the types of personal data collected and the purpose it serves.  These principles of informed consent involve both disclosure and comprehension

Provide a user experience that aligns with your company’s brand. A seamless and on-brand consent experience instills consumer trust through  a consistent digital experience across touch points with your consumers.

Give consumers control over their consent preferences and data. Provide them with granular control of consent alongside  both a `Reject All` and an `Accept All` option.  Further, allow them to easily update/change their consent preferences at any time. All of these options together demonstrate that your company values consumer privacy rights. Giving consumers control over their data ensures the element of informed consent related to voluntariness at not only the starting point of the customer journey but also throughout their experience with your brand. It is the first proof of an organization’s competence to manage the informed consent of collecting personal data. As a demonstration of informed consent, it is up front proof of their competence as an organization to manage it.  

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Matt Ferrell, Product Manager for TrustArc Cookie Consent Manager puts this well, “Consent experiences that strike a balance between usability and compliance will stand out. There is absolutely a way to meet privacy AND business needs.”

Perceptive leadership knows that building brand trust is as much a cultural undertaking as it is anything. TrustArc has identified 7 keys to Privacy Management that you can use to propel your brand from privacy “complier” to privacy leader.

  1. Being mindful of privacy as a business.
  2. Embracing privacy practices as a key differentiator.
  3. Pursuing privacy as a core part of business strategy.
  4. Sufficiently training employees in privacy matters.
  5. Having the Board of Directors regularly review and discuss privacy matters.
  6. Ensuring every employee can formally raise a privacy issue with confidence that there will be no reprisal.
  7. Making sure privacy permeates day-to-day business decisions with great importance.

The above example highlights, strong privacy practices can become part of your brand management by applying an informed consent lens to the interactions you have with your consumers. 

Learn more about how TrustArc approaches Cookie Consent by visiting our product overview page