Data privacy concerns are on the rise in the USA, and consumers are starting to take action! A recent survey by data company SAS showed 77% of consumers have changed their browser privacy settings, 56% have deleted an app due to privacy concerns and 36% have removed a social media account. In the same survey, more than 66% of consumers are also encouraging the government to do more to protect consumer privacy. Some governments have responded, most notably the California legislature’s passage of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which goes into effect January of 2020. There’s also a host of other pending state privacy legislation that marketing and communications teams will need to adapt to in the coming years.

Data privacy has officially moved from a topic that’s discussed at the fringes, to one that inspires emotion and a desire for action. If you have not already, your brand and business need to embrace data privacy and protection now, or risk negatively altering your audiences’ views.

Looking to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) as our ‘canary in the coal mine’, it’s already clear that brands who embrace data protection as a core value are making gains. CMO Council studies have shown that organizations meeting and exceeding GDPR standards are seeing increased trust and engagement levels with their audiences. Transparency, consent and data protection are driving increased trust, which is building additional loyalty and deepening their relationships with their clients.

The first step most firms should take is to establish and reinforce a robust data privacy practice. That means committing to personnel, resources, and budget to ensure that the business is not only compliant with current and future legislation but is also building privacy by design into their processes, products and services.

W2O has always focused deeply on data privacy, particularly in our analytics practice. Now, with global legislation growing more complex and privacy concerns continuing to rise in the public’s awareness, we are formalizing our own data privacy practice to ensure both we and our clients are at the leading in both compliance and data ethics.

As the new Global Data Privacy Officer, my focus, like everyone else at W2O, is on our clients and how their programs are impacted by the changing data privacy landscape. My goal is to help clients not just be ahead of compliance needs with appropriate privacy legislation, but also identify strategic opportunities to take advantage of the rise of privacy awareness in the public’s consciousness.

What does that look like? Primarily, I will be working with clients on marcom and business strategy, with privacy communication positioning, online privacy platform workshops, product privacy assessments, privacy legislation awareness training, incident response planning, as well as corporate positioning strategy in order to drive our client’s reputations as privacy leaders

W2O will also offer privacy operational strategy, including privacy governance program design, website cookie consent management tool implementations, data subject access request processes, data mapping recommendations, processing activity records processes, vendor risk management evaluations and more.

As legislation changes around the world, W2O is committed to ensuring our work is uniquely innovative, effective and built on the bedrock of data privacy, helping to fulfill our mission to make the world a healthier place through marketing communications.


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