Why honesty is an all important policy for brands in the digital world

James is editor in chief of TechForge Media, with a passion for how technologies influence business and several Mobile World Congress events under his belt. James has interviewed a variety of leading figures in his career, from former Mafia boss Michael Franzese, to Steve Wozniak, and Jean Michel Jarre. James can be found tweeting at @James_T_Bourne.

Four out of five consumers are more likely to “respect” an honest company, according to survey data of over 2000 consumers published today by Intent HQ.

This means being upfront and honest about how a user’s personal data is being used – and according to the social data analysts at Intent, it’s a key point for brands to unlock consumers’ trust, as an honest customer will reward your endeavour.

This comes from such basic best practices as adding social logins to your brand’s site, as well as being upfront about the site’s use of cookies.

According to the results, the vast majority (86%) of respondents don’t like their cookie data being mangled and being repackaged as personalised ads. MarketingTech has spoken to plenty of ad execs on the view of search retargeting as being creepy, not to mention Facebook’s alternative suggestions. One such exec is Declan Kennedy, CEO of Facebook ad partner StitcherAds, who naturally saw it as fair game for consumers, and a great opportunity for right-thinking brands.

“Facebook is not a social media company,” he told MarketingTech back in June. “It’s a direct marketing response platform in our world. Brands who don’t get that need to just get to speed a bit quicker.”

Consumers who dislike these targeted ads will either ignore them at best, or see them as an intrusion of privacy at worst.

Yet the overriding theme from this report carried similar overtures to a paper Webtrends released earlier this month: if a consumer trusts your brand, they’ll give you all kinds of personal data. And in a data-heavy age, this is potentially game-changing currency.

Intent HQ found that for more than half (59%) of customers, providing basic login details in return for personalised offers was “a fair deal”, while 71% were prepared to give at least some data to log in – usually a name and an email.

The report warns there’s a fair share of consumers who will call out brands for even daring to ask for their email address, yet it seems the majority of users are happy to at least give out their email. As the Webtrends report revealed, 64% of Britons were happy to share their name and email address with a retail brand, yet this figure drops to 17% when further information, such as a home address, is requested.

“Consumers have had enough of the blunt-edged personalisation of ads and content targeted using cookie data,” said Intent HQ CEO Jonathan Lakin. “Consequently, advertisers and publishers are now increasingly using permission-based social logins to collect this information.

“This latest survey underlines that consumers really do value brands that gather and use data responsibly, knowing that their actions will have a long-lasting effect on customer relationships,” he added.

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