Cybersecurity for SMEs


5th June, 2018

Why consumers choose brands that are transparent about data

The data’s in: consumers trust brands that are transparent with their data.

A recent Deloitte assessment of privacy practices of Australia’s top 100 brands has revealed consumers choose brands which are open and transparent about user data.

“Australians want to know how their personal information will be used. And how it will be protected,” said Deloitte national Cyber Risk Services lead partner, Tommy Viljoen.

“Honest communication about which data is being used for what, and why, will be essential for future value exchange”.

Brands are collecting vast amounts of personal data, and the amount of that data increases exponentially each year.

“Each brand will use this personal information differently,” said Viljoen. “Some will commoditise it, others will use it to create a more customised experience. In either case, transparency with the consumer on how their personal information will be used and protected is critical.”

READ: Preparing your business for the age of hyper data awareness

Deloitte conducts an assessment of the public face of the privacy practices of the top 100 Australian brands each year, ranking each sector according to its stated actions.

“There were some big changes in the sector rankings this year given the focus on transparency of personal information processing,” said David Batch, Deloitte’s new national privacy and data protection lead.

“This meant that brands that offer primarily digital goods and services ranked better on transparency measures and Information technology operations was the stand out rising from nine out of 10 to number one and top of the index.”

“Honest communication about which data is being used for what, and why, will be essential for future value exchange”.

“Despite all the media attention for the financial services sector, the good news for them is they stayed close to the top, ranking number two.

“The biggest fall was in the energy and utilities sector which fell to bottom of the list from number four.”

Data courtesy of Deloitte


“We also asked 1,000 Australians over 18 years old, across regions and genders, to tell us what data they provided to the brands in return for goods and services. We also asked what factors influenced their decision to share their personal information,” said Batch.

“We wanted to understand the trust relationship and what factors influence the increase or decrease of consumer trust in brands.”

The key findings

Sixty-nine percent believe that trust in the brand is most important when making a decision about sharing personal information, followed by the benefits received, such as discounts, personalised service and rewards.

Brands are more likely to lose consumer trust and damage their reputation if customer data is used for cross-selling of personal information (68 percent), inappropriate marketing (58 percent), and trading data to enable sales (54 percent).

Consumers are aware that their personal information may be shared with third parties and 41 percent are comfortable allowing a brand to transfer their data if they trust the brand and there’s a benefit for them.

Fifty-eight percent of consumers are unaware of the requirement by law to notify them of any data breach under the 1988 Privacy Act if their data is likely to be misused.

Ninety percent of consumers still expect to be notified if their personal details are involved in a breach.

Seventy-six percent of respondents indicated that they would be more likely to trust a brand after a breach if there was timely notification of the breach, a detailed explanation, detailed remediation plans, and ongoing notifications on progress.

READ: 2.1 million reasons to toughen up on data security

Viljoen says that as the relationship between brands and consumers constantly evolves.

“Brands have to amend their privacy practices to meet both consumer expectations and regulatory change. The increasing emphasis on consumers ‘owning and having control over’ their data is a seismic change to the status quo,” he said.

This year’s Deloitte Privacy Index results clearly establish that trust and transparency play a vital role in determining the strength of any potential symbiotic relationship between the brand and its consumers.

As the Australian Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim said when commenting at the commencement of the Notifiable Data Breaches scheme:

“The success of an organisation that handles personal information, or a project that involves personal information, depends on trust. People have to trust that their privacy is protected, and be confident that personal information will be handled in line with their expectations.”


This article was republished with permission from The original version of the article appeared here: