GDPR: Human Centred Good Practice
The 25 May is finally here. It won’t have passed any of us by, but some of us have been more hands on with the details than others. At Untapped, we’ve had the pleasure of working with a fantastic consultant in Data Protection & Privacy and while we had been long complying with the MRS Code of Conduct and existing Data Protection legislation, GDPR has proved to be, in hindsight, a positive opportunity for us.
The essence of the Untapped offering is to bridge unarticulated human needs with the design of products and services. We use a myriad of techniques to get close to people who interact with our clients’ products, services and brands. In this business, respect is always at the core. Last week, I had the pleasure of speaking at a Marketing Careers evening, where a common theme was deep respect for, and a desire to learn more about humans, their behaviours and feelings. It was a good reminder about why we are all working in the Innovation and Market Research sector; because human psychology is what makes us tick and it gives us joy to develop great products, advertising and brands that will delight the people that interact with them.
This resonates very much with what’s at the core of GDPR; putting people at the centre by giving EU data subjects more control over their personal data and making it easier for them to understand how their data is being used and how and when to raise complaints. It comes at a time of unease, when the Facebook / Cambridge Analytica scandal is causing people to lose trust. Time will tell whether the numbers of consumers signing up for Facebook and other social media sites will be significantly affected longer term, but it most certainly will have made users more cautious about allowing access to their information. There’s likely to be a lasting tension between the transparent world of social media and the risks of sharing personal information. As social media plays an increasingly big role in market research techniques, GDPR is timely and should help us stay in touch with consumers.
Here are some thoughts on three really positive aspects of how GDPR enables good practice:
- Strengthening client and associate relationships. GDPR makes us think through those relationships as we consider the role of each party as a Data Controller or Data Processor and update our contracts to reflect the relationship and relative responsibilities. We have enjoyed some good discussions with our clients and associates, leading to benefits beyond GDPR.
- Lawful Basis Assessment. Carrying out a Lawful Basis Assessment on each project ensures we carefully consider the purpose for processing Personal Data of the respondents we recruit and balance this with project needs. We have also conducted a Legitimate Interests Assessment for each project where we feel that is the most appropriate lawful basis. It feels very aligned to good practise in designing any piece of research – always starting with the objective and business needs, then determining the most efficient and effective research design to address these needs. It’s stating the obvious, but is surprising how often clients still ask us for “10 1-on-1s” or an “idea screener” rather than starting with the objective.
- Solid IT housekeeping. There’s nothing like a spring clean and elegantly organised storage system. In recent in-homes for a fashion client, highly involved and pragmatic style seekers showed us their beautifully ordered wardrobe solutions. While not as aesthetically pleasing, it reminds me of GDPR requirements for information storage and transfer security and data retention periods, necessitating a good IT spring clean and system upgrade tweaks.
While we cannot deny that GDPR has required significant effort, it feels like positive effort and we hope that it will encourage business owners, brand and product developers to continue to engage with market research and all it has to offer, knowing it is putting people and their needs at the centre. If you would like to talk to Untapped about how we could help with some of our techniques, we’d love to hear from you!