Global brands like Shell have been on a journey of understanding their data and formulating their strategy for GDPR over the past 2 years. However there are still many businesses without a plan in place for when the new regulations come into effect this May.
And as Rob French, Shell's general manager for data privacy, highlights it can be even more challenging for B2B brands to work out how they need to react as a large part of the regulation is drafted with B2C in mind.
It is, however, an opportunity for businesses to innovate and ensure they can use data to improve and add value to relationships - putting the client at the heart of the approach whilst remaining compliant.
Work with your legal team
Contrary to popular belief, the GDPR and the UK’s new Data Protection Bill (the “Bill”) do not represent a complete overhaul of the existing UK data protection framework, and many businesses may find that they only need to make minor amendments to their operations in order to comply with the new rules. Nevertheless, with the increased sanctions for non-compliance under the GDPR, it is important for businesses to understand their obligations and review their practices to address any shortfalls in compliance.
“We’ve spent quite a bit of time simplifying with the legal team exactly what it is people need to know and what the different layers of that message are. That’s making sure we know what something like GDPR really means – and what it doesn’t mean; what people do need to do, what they don’t need to do – it’s very critical,” says French.
Get your messaging right
This is an opportunity to improve the way you communicate with your contacts and increase engagement. A large mailing list does not necessarily mean an engaged audience. If you are creating content that adds value people will opt in to receive it and those are the contacts that are genuinely engaged.
Shell began its GDPR journey nearly two years ago with the intention of “raising the company’s game” around data. “We wanted to be compliant but like any other business we’re here to create value and manage our relationships exceptionally well,” says French. In that time, Shell has gone from “very, very basic” to “quite sophisticated” in its approach. French admits that 20 months ago, the business didn’t know where data was held, what the business was doing with it, or how it all linked together. It therefore didn’t know how close it was to being compliant.