GDPR Is Coming….

How brands can make the most of GDPR changes

Most areas of modern life now revolve around data, so you’ve probably heard of GDPR over the last few months. GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation, a new EU legislation that will bring major changes for how companies handle customer data, starting from May 25, 2018.

Although GDPR is an EU framework, it has implications for businesses both within Europe and beyond. At the heart of GDPR is an aim to empower individuals by giving them more control over their personal data. By simplifying the regulatory environment for businesses, GDPR aims to position brands to make better use of the digital economy.

As the above graphs show, online conversation volume around GDPR has been increasing since the start of 2018, as the May deadline approaches. In this post, we look at the conversation around GDPR and data protection so far this year, examining data from English-speaking social media conversations across Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Our aim is to take the overall pulse of GDPR-related conversation and identify positive opportunities for brands to engage with consumers about data protection.

Protecting consumer data

As this word cloud shows, data protection, privacy, and compliance with the new legislation – in other words being ‘GDPR ready’ – are among the most important GDPR-related concerns for brands. So what does this mean for you as a marketer? For starters, under GDPR regulations you’ll need to seek explicit permission from customers before using any of their personal data. This means that creating targeted, relevant and compelling brand communications is more critical than ever before.

Helping brands do better marketing

The conversation around GDPR is attracting more positive sentiment than negative, as the below graph shows. After all, consumers should see the new regulation in a positive light, as it has been designed to offer greater protection of their valuable personal data. Brands too, can view the coming of GDPR not as a threat, but as an opportunity to improve their approach to data-driven marketing.

To get ready for GDPR, businesses will need to conduct a data audit to make sure the data they hold on customers is accurate and current. This is a golden opportunity for marketers to improve their understanding of their brand’s most loyal customers, and use this knowledge to create hyper-relevant new offers. GDPR compels marketers to seek customer permission to keep using their data, so those who give you permission are far more likely to be deeply engaged with your brand – making them ideal prospects for new marketing campaigns.

Strengthening customer relationships

GDPR compliance involves getting customer permission to include their data for every unique use case. At first glance, this may sound like a hassle, but in reality it offers an excellent opportunity for brands to build stronger relationships with their most loyal customers. In a post-GDPR landscape, you should make driving positive engagement a central part of your brand’s marketing strategy, as it will help you persuade customers to give you permission to use their data.

Opportunity for change

When the GDPR was first announced back in mid-2017, it caused considerable upheaval and worry among businesses, not least because of the potential for significant monetary fines for companies handling customer data incorrectly. With the exact details of the new legislation seeming complex and unclear to some, many businesses found themselves worrying about the negative side of GDPR, rather than seeing it as an opportunity to switch up data handling processes to more closely reflect a digital data-first age.


As our data shows, GDPR is one of the hottest conversation topics this year. It affects all industries across the whole EMEA region. Although the requirements may seem complex, in reality there are numerous easy-to-follow guides out there. What’s more, it can be viewed positively, as an opportunity to put your brand in sync with the modern data-first era, while unearthing new ways to reach your most dedicated customers.

For more insights on to how use public social media data for GDPR compliant consumer insights, check out this guide: Guide to Social Data Sources for Brands and Analysts

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