Keynote speaker eric saelens gdpr

Erik Saelens – How GDPR will boost or break your brand and your business

As the founder and executive strategic director of Brandhome group, which makes companies grow faster than their markets, keynote speaker Erik Saelens’ work focuses on what makes branding meaningful today and how to make marketing relevant tomorrow. He addresses how brands can maintain or initiate contact with their customers and what these customers really want from the brand.


Here, Saelens tells us the challenges for business following the new privacy regulation, GDPR and how this will affect customers, how we market and our brands.


GDPR, the new privacy regulation, challenges every company operating in the EU and/or towards EU markets to rethink their go to market.


The new Regulation forces companies to ask themselves a lot of questions: How do we process data? What kind of data do we process? Do we really have to? Is it legitimate? How much attention has been given to its protection? Do our clients give much attention to their rights? What is at risk here? How can we keep reaching and engaging with our stakeholders? …


Now that privacy has been redefined by the EU and everybody has to be compliant, privacy has lost its uniqueness and became point of parity. Driven by the new sanctions, all companies have enough incentives to be compliant. Even smaller businesses are aligning.


Why? Transparency and control are the new to follow trends in business and in branding. Creative thinking is necessary to make the common unique again. Companies can differentiate themselves by becoming more transparent than their competitors, by providing more control to their customers than their competitors.


As blockchain will be cutting out the middle man, privacy is cutting out ambiguity.


We must consider the general context, why this came to be and who it wants to target. Special attention should be given to the topic historical data(base) and the ‘laundering operation’ this will require in reality. So that we can understand how the new EU regulation either becomes a blessing or a curse, for every brand and business.


Depending on the audience – e.g. the young generation who is predominantly ‘dataistical’, or baby boomers who prefer control – it can become a blessing. Companies can attract new customers or re-engage old contacts by stating them their newfound importance of their data. However, if both generations valued transparency and control over their data it would have been obvious by now in practice. Yet every company needs to re-examine their market and research what it finds important in the context of privacy.


But it also can become a curse, breaking your business and brand. More macro-economically speaking, the EU is already losing the race of AI-development, which inherently relies on the processing of (big) data. The more the merrier. The EU is making the processing of most of the data very impractical, unclear, burdensome. Since the definition of personal data is so broad, every data is possibly a personal data. Sure it positions itself as a safe haven for privacy, but further research is needed whether the EU is really better off than e.g. US, Switzerland,… On a more micro level, the burdensome obligations such as a data register, the appointment of a DPO and the drafting of numerous legal documents hinder innovation by having to spend time and money on non-essential activities.


Don’t think about the legislation, think about how GDPR will boost or break your brand and your business, and take away your customer base.

[no_blockquote text=”A brand is an immaterial asset, a belief system.” show_border=”yes” show_quote_icon=”yes”]

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Erik Saelens is the founder and executive strategic director of Brandhome group, which makes companies grow faster than their markets.


With over 20 years’ experience in brand marketing and communication,Erik Saelens specialises in rebranding and renaming, and has executed and researched more than 300 brand-change operations worldwide. He is also an expert on brand management and M&A and IPO strategies, and draws on a strong operational background when putting these strategies into practice.

To read more about Erik Saelens, click here.

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