Vertical by Vertical: How Self-Regulation Enables Consumer Trust

July 13, 2015

Photo:  Peggy Hudson, senior vice president of government affairs, Direct Marketing Association (standing), introduces a DAA Summit 2015 panel discussing self-regulation for online and mobile data collection, how DAA Principles are implemented in their respective companies, and the consumer trust the engenders as a result.  Seated left to right are Sheila Colclasure, public policy & privacy officer, Acxiom; Rachel Glasser, global marketing data protection and privacy program manager, GroupM Connect; Kathryn Farrara, senior counsel, marketing, Unilever; and Scott Meyer, CEO, Ghostery.


Big Idea: How companies implement DAA self-regulatory Principles and how these principles enable consumer trust create significant business benefits.

The Digital Advertising Alliance Summit 2015 in June featured several companies that examined their own respective journeys with self-regulation and the DAA Principles – and were willing to share just how they leverage adherence for multiple effects.

“Think of this panel as a how to,” began Peggy Hudson, senior vice president of government affairs at the Direct Marketing Association and a DAA Board member, as she introduced the market-facing panel to discuss the importance of self-regulation in engaging consumer trust. “Self-regulation is what helps you to continue to innovate, to grow data and push the envelope, without getting on the wrong side of the regulators,” Hudson said.

“How has the DAA helped smooth the contract phase of your campaigns?” Hudson asked.  

Kathryn Farrara, senior counsel of marketing at Unilever, was directly involved in the implementation of the DAA program. She said, “I cannot remember a time before the DAA program at Unilever. They were very familiar with self-regulation, they had seen how it works and knew that it [self-regulation] can bring an industry together to create a level playing field, and avoid additional regulation.” A task force was created, involving members from legal, marketing and information technology, to get the program up and running at Unilever.

“It’s [The DAA program] been a singular point of reference that we can all come together on,” said Sheila Colclasure, public policy and privacy officer of Acxiom. “The DAA is a powerful point of reference that we can all agree on and talk about in a common language.”

Scott Meyer, CEO of Ghostery, said that he can remember a time before the DAA but, the biggest piece now is that brands have to understand the connection to business value.” He noted that consumers have more information about privacy, and that if brands are not compliant with DAA Principles it will affect their brand image.

The Beneficial Effects of Self-Regulation

“How does self-regulation keep pace with the dynamic needs and expectations of consumers? How has self-regulation helped you?” Hudson asked.

“We have a very mature program and we are very invested in the self-regulatory approach at Acxiom,” Colclasure said. “We have fully bought into this idea that we must act ethically...You have to do an ethical interrogation of each of the [DAA program] components… You can’t just write policy for policy’s sake, you really need to do the operational deep dive into the implementation.”

“The use of the icon helps serve our company and clients by making them a player in the self-regulatory space,” said Rachel Glasser, global marketing data protection and privacy program manager at GroupM Connect.  “It’s an easy enough concept to have people understand, the concept of ‘AdChoices’ is easy enough for them to grasp and understand quickly. For us it’s a great way to build our brand… to show consumers we are making the effort to be transparent and using data responsibly.”

Moving from Policy to Practice – Building Consumer Trust

“What role does consumer choice play in online advertising?” The DMA’s Hudson asked.

Scott Meyer of Ghostery commented that questions about policy and implementation in the industry are becoming more tactical rather than philosophical and that this is a big win.

 “The DAA took Principles that were logical, but difficulty to arrive at on your own, and made it easy to understand,” Unilever’s Farrara said. “The DAA gave us this outline of what it means to be transparent, and what consumers need, before the consumers could tell us this themselves. Having a resource that gives you a clear road map for this, [and what] this should look like, is really helpful.”

Colclasure said, “While Acxiom is not consumer facing, we do serve major consumer brands. For us this is a simple process where you can create transparency and offer choice … [This process] infuses trust.”

Meyer noted that one client company finished the process in three weeks. “The DAA contract is simple, the Ghostery contract [as a DAA Approved Provider] is simple, and then it’s about implementation,” Meyer said.  “With any compliant program much of the success comes from the lack of news about it.  The best way to look at the success is to look at the list of companies that are participating.” [Editor’s Note:  TRUSTe is also a DAA Approved Provider.]

Next Steps – Mobile, Omnichannel and Otherwise

Where is your company headed? What do you see that’s coming next, and how do you see addressing some of these challenges?” Hudson said.

“For us it’s a question of how to continue innovation, and encourage clients to be innovative, take challenges and test new technologies, all while being compliant and transparent with the consumer,” Glasser said. “We have learned a big lesson from mobile and now we try to stay two steps ahead of what the next big things will be and how can we do this to scale and still be a leader in the industry.”

“We are really focused on Omni-channel,” Farrara said. “Understanding consumers’ journey across devices and physical places and figuring out how we can then take that information and improve the experience for them.”

This dynamic DAA Summit 2015 panel covered the challenges and changes of the self-regulatory environment. And DAA Principles provide a framework for organizations of all sizes and industries to engage consumers, and enable their trust through transparency.

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