Older Australians are happy to share their data with an energy company if it means it will lead to a reduced power bill. However a supermarket sharing your data with other FMCG companies so they can send you relevant discounts is not cool.
This is the tightrope of trust Carat stretched out last week to clients across Australia off the back of its Data Consciousness Project.
Like all things, data offers great rewards, but can equally punish a company if it misuses it or even neglects to develop or protect its customers’ data What is clear, argued Carat’s chief data and experience officer Brendon Cropper, companies getting on top of their data strategy are getting ahead of their rivals fast.
However if a taxi company buys the geo location of a Gen Y and subsequently sends them a text message offering them a ride home when they get to the station that gets binned as creepy.
In such a topsy-turvy landscape, Carat has been working hard investigating what drives Australians of all walks of life to want to share their data with a company?
For Facebook it’s easy enough to understand, you give them a heap of data and they give you relevant content in exchange. For companies that pre-date the Internet, like banks and retailers, it’s not so clear.
Cropper said: “We want to turn the taps on and keep them on with customers data.”
He added the future is in our hands and tt could go one of two ways.
“It could be completely transformational, if we get our strategies right, our ethics right, it could be completely transformational for our business. If we abuse our data privilege, and it’s important we realize it’s a privilege, not only will consumers turn off the taps, and they are becoming more cognizant of their rights, but government policy will come over the top and look after their constituents.”
And so Carat has charged itself with understanding the levers of growth and constraint. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should, cautioned Cropper.
All of this has taken place amid what he terms the great data awakening of consumers understanding that their data has value and they should get something from it.
At the same time as the awakening, there has been a pronounced decline in people’s trust in institutions and authorities.
Carat’s head of insights Christine McKinnon said the objective of the Data Consciousness Project was to develop a positive exchange with customers.
“We couldn’t go ahead with developing our data strategy if we don’t understand Australian’s attitude towards sharing their data,” she said.
As part of Carat’s efforts to understand what things constitute a positive exchange of data, the company spoke with 1000 people, did face-to-face interviews and data analysis.
What it found was their was five key elements in establishing a consumer’s trust. These are purpose, benefit, trust control and sensitivity.
However McKinnon said the most crucial moment in any data exchange was the why moment. “The why moment, the critical nanosecond when you approached a consumer and you asked for an exchange of data and they hesitated. If they have to hesitate then they have to question why you want their data. If it isn’t immediately apparent; if the benefit isn’t immediately apparent, then you’re off that tightrope. However we also found brand affinity can help neutralize those types of reactions.”