GDPR: 1 year on

Honest Communications, a specialist garden and home PR agency, social media management, content creation and communications agency

This time last year GDPR was at the forefront of most marketers’ minds. The deadline was looming so everyone was putting procedures in place to get compliant.

All the commotion and panic has now died down and now its already become a recognised and accepted practice (for most at least). It’s brought data protection to the fore and change the way that brands communicate – for the better.

The result being that, yes databases might have been drastically reduced, but what remains is a strong core of loyal, engaged customers who want to communicate with you. With less spam and increased value placed on communication and the protection of the customer, it’s also brought about increased trust, transparency and honesty (our favourite!).

The real upshot being that marketers are now more data conscious. After spending all that time getting GDPR compliant, sitting through workshops and briefings, filling out forms and carrying out data audits, marketers now want to make sure their data is working to its best potential! This means that results are now analysed more to check if marketing activity is working and then subsequently, evolving. All of which perhaps wouldn’t have been the case if it weren’t for GDPR disrupting the status quo, and stopping the “we’ve always done it like that” approach which can easily creep in.

The big threat of GDPR was always the fines, and there were many rumours that they wouldn’t be imposed or that they were just big numbers banded around to scare people into compliancy among the belief that the real fines would be smaller. However, a quick look at the ICO website shows that fines have indeed been issued and big ones at that (at the time of writing there have been 132 incidents).

Bounty UK, a parenting and pregnancy club, was fined £400,000 for illegally sharing personal data; Uber has been fined £385,000; Heathrow Airport was hit with £120,000 for having an insecure network; BT was fined £77,000 for sending five million nuisance emails and the University of Greenwich received a £120,000 fine for a security breach involving personal data. Even HMRC has been issued an enforcement notice!

It goes to show the difference a year can make! Whilst at the time, when the deadline came in the mention of “GDPR” was met with groans, one year on it’s a very different story.