Make customer data useful with data privacy

February 21, 2019

Privitar engineers data privacy to enable data first brands to utilize customer data

Foresight Factory invited Privitar to The Creative Exchange to discuss why engineering data privacy is essential for every data first brand that needs customer insight to drive NPD and CX innovation.

Who are Privitar and what is data privacy?

Privitar works with brands including the NHS, HSBC and BT to protect sensitive customer data within these companies. Although a similar discipline to data security, data privacy has an altogether different focus. The aim of data security is to prevent anyone accessing a file or database. Data privacy is controlling what anyone seeing a file or database is able to learn. It prevents data from revealing anything that makes an individual within a dataset identifiable. The benefit? Companies can still analyse customer data to build great products and improve customer experience without compromising the privacy of individuals. 


Why data privacy matters for consumers?

On the day, Alex Mitchell, Customer Insight Lead at Privitar, took us through the results of the recent Privitar Pulse research, which focuses on consumer and company attitudes towards personal data (see below for methodology). Overall the picture is clear, consumers want information, regulation and control over their personal data.

  • Privitar found that 73% of consumers say companies are not transparent in the way they get permission for data use. A further 66% are concerned about how businesses use their data. Our research paints a similar picture.
  • For companies with a poor reputation around handling data, Privitar’s survey results paint an even starker picture. 60% have avoided transacting with companies they don’t trust on data privacy. In even worse news for brands, 61% become detractors if a company does not protect their data privacy.
  • Alongside this, Privitar found that 9 out of 10 consumers believe that technological advances threaten their privacy. This highlights the  tech-apprehension that drives our trend Murdered by Modernity.


How data professionals see data privacy?

Consumer fears are further compounded by data breaches such as Facebook which is currently being grilled by UK law makers over the Cambridge Analytica scandal. This has made concerns over use of consumer data more mainstream.  Strong data protection regulations, best embodied by GDPR, have made the handling of consumer data a further area of concern for brands – and enjoy the support of consumers.

Data professionals are aware of the risks that comes with collecting consumer data. 74% of those surveyed by Privitar agreed they were concerned about the reputational threat of failing to protect consumers. As a result, fears of a harmful or embarrassing data breach keeps companies from using data to its full potential. In total, 69% of businesses agree they could do better at making data accessible to those who need it.

What can brands learn from Privitar?

The rewards are there for brands that can harness the power of their data. Especially for those improving the customer experience across the purchase journey. As we explore in our consumer trend The Me Me World, the promise of data-driven personalization is transforming consumer expectations. Now consumers, and in particular a significant majority of Millennials, say they like brands to recognize them as a customer. Technology like Privitar’s enables brands to use their customer data safely – giving consumers both the experience and the privacy they expect and deserve.

Although technologies like Privitar work in a largely behind-the-scenes capacity, brands may want to consider highlighting their efforts to make data private in their communications with concerned consumers. Consumer appetite for transparency  is pronounced. Data privacy technology can be used to validate brand claims about trustworthiness when it comes to personal data. Their use can act as a third party arbiter, to signify they are actually acting to take protect consumer data.


If you want to learn more about how privacy powers data-driven brands, Privitar’s In:Confidence event on April 4th promises to be a groundbreaking forum for the data privacy and advanced analytics community. Come and join a one-day extravaganza of talks, panels, debate and immersion, focused on some of the most pressing topics challenging the digital ecosystem.

Privitar took part in The Creative Exchange @ Foresight Factory, where we invite innovators, experts and industry disruptors to share their ideas. Get in touch to join in or read our last interview with Alcohol disruptor Punchy.

The Privitar Pulse survey sample was made up of 5,000 consumers. 2,000 in the UK, 2,000 in the USA and 1,000 in France – and 1,500 data professionals split evenly across these markets.


Written by Sebastian Jones

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