Many marketers view the forthcoming General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) that will come into effect in May 2018 as a daunting prospect, another business challenge to overcome. But Ardi Kolah, executive fellow and programme co-director at Henley Business School, takes a different view. He believes that GDPR, which is an update of the 1995 Data Protection Directive, presents businesses with an opportunity to deepen trust with consumers and strengthen brand reputation. Speaking at the DMA's Data Protection event, held in London in February 2017, Kolah urged marketers to view GDPR through the lens of "reputation, not regulation".
The current consumer data protection landscape is "a bit of a 'car wreck'", he said, citing several high-profile incidents of data breaches from brands including Facebook, Talk Talk, Experian, Ashley Madison, Three, Tesco Bank and Yahoo! Indeed, the latter had the world's largest data hack with 1 billion user accounts breached in 2013, yet, astonishingly, the online search platform did not report the breach until 2016. Kolah described this as the "big daddy of how to screw up your reputation".