TrustArc: Privacy Must Come First for Enterprises Seeking Brand Trust

Image of Vicky Sidler
Vicky Sidler
Published: Jul 6, 2021

A recent survey of global enterprises by TrustArc, the privacy compliance technology company best known for the venerable TRUSTe seal, highlights the intrinsic link between protecting people's privacy and earning their trust. Simply put, without the former, the latter can't exist.

Some experts believe that when it comes to digital privacy, we're at a breaking point when it comes to brand trust. The blame largely goes to brands that haven't ethically handled the public's online data. Global concerns over data privacy have led to a raft of compliance laws, from GDPR to CCPA to LGPD. Even the Big 5 tech brands haven't been immune from the backlash, with the threat that companies like Google and Facebook might even be broken up over privacy and other concerns.

For marketers—who have contributed to public distrust with an endless torrent of ultra-personalized ads, trackers and third-party data use—privacy policies have often been given short shrift.

This is a critical mistake. As Kate Parker, COO of the data privacy company Transcend, puts it

Why does marketing keep dropping the ball on privacy? Because we treat it like a legal compliance issue instead of a consumer experience. Privacy is often introduced to marketing by lawyers as a matter of box checking without a thought for the potential business value. The opportunity in front of chief marketing officers is to take a risk mitigation process and turn it into a unique brand differentiator. 

Enterprises seem to have gotten this message.

Among TrustArc's findings, the survey of 1,600 respondents from companies with more than $500 million in annual revenues revealed that more than 84% embraced privacy as a competitive differentiator and 86% viewed privacy as a core part of their company's business strategy. These findings represented increases over last year's study.

According to the report: "The external market forces undermining trust in enterprises over this past year included misinformation, the pandemic, cybersecurity threats, rapid technology advance, and a general destabilizing trust in institutions. Establishing high levels of confidence in data privacy on behalf of company stakeholders is a critical element of building brand trust."

Concluded TrustArc CEO Chris Babel, “Privacy management is vital to maintain or build confidence on the part of the consumer for the brand.”

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