Introduced by IPM President Lord Guy Black and hosted by Chairman Graham Temple, the IPM held its annual Chairman’s Dinner at the House of Lords on Wednesday 13th January. The topic of debate was the incoming General Data Protection Legislation (GDPR) and its potential impact on the creative industries, promotional marketing in particular.
In a lively session, guests were treated over dinner to speeches from Lord Black; Graham Temple; Information Commissioner Christopher Graham; Global Customer Director for Coca-Cola Simon Miles; and CEO of the DMA Chris Combermale. Due to be introduced in 2017, the GDPR has potential for wide ranging implications for brands, agencies and suppliers in the creative industries. While the Agreement is yet to be formerly drafted and agreed, attendees at the dinner were encouraged to use the two years ahead before the legislation comes into force across the EU to prepare their businesses accordingly. The new proposals are strict, and fines for contravention could run to 4% of global turnover for businesses. However, a key theme of the dinner discussion was that the greatest penalty resulting from improper use of customer data would come from the reputational damage to a brand and backlash from its customers themselves, rather than external penalties.
During the evening, promotional marketers were urged to focus on their responsibilities to the consumer when approaching personal data management and use. The EU-wide nature of the GDPR implies a universal view which could be ignored by certain markets, and a current lack of clarity around the regulations means that many promotional marketers could be unaware of its relevance to them. The overall message from all speakers proved that putting the best interests of the consumer first, ahead of commercial or business implications to using data, should be the focus for businesses.
Graham Temple, Chairman, IPM, comments, “The IPM cares about the industry’s ability to self-regulate ahead of external legislation, but it also cares about members’ ability to adjust accordingly to the incoming GDPR. The regulations are something all promotional marketers, from any walk of life, should be aware. Consumers are becoming ever more comfortable with the use of data to inform marketing communications, but this faith is damaged by data breaches and, worse, businesses misusing or sharing that data without consumer consent. To fully prepare for the GDPR will require significant collaboration between our fellow creative industry trade bodies so our members can be adequately prepared. Furthermore, it requires a shift in mindset from marketers and brands alike to be more open and transparent about how customer data is deployed and used.”