REaD Group staff completing the ten peaks challenge for MS Society

There was laughter, there were tears, some unexpected scrambling, a few blisters, a bit of chafing, sun burn and A LOT of sweat – but we all did it!

The sun was just rising over the picturesque Lake District hills when 29 intrepid REaD Group staff (and one trusty canine companion in Bella the dog!) set off on our 10 Peaks Challenge to raise much needed funds for MS Society.

The Challenge: Conquer 10 peaks in less than 10 hours

The Route: a 15ish (our various distance measuring devices couldn’t quite agree) mile route taking in some of the highest peaks and most spectacular views in the Lake District, including the mighty Scafell Pike

The Team: 29 REaD Group staff (30 if you count Bella the dog!)

There were highs….

Reaching the top of peak 10 in 6 hours – we totally rock!

The views – simply breath-taking!

The joy of cooling our burning feet (and in some cases whole bodies!) in The Stickle Tarn

Almost losing Adam T in a steaming bog (the muddy kind) – or should that be a low!?!

The bliss of the first sip of a cold pint/cup of tea at the official finish – the very welcome sight that is Wainrights’ Inn

Tucking into Chicken/Veg Tikka Masala and Lemon Meringue Pie (or 3 if you’re Tickers…) at the youth hostel

The sense of camaraderie and achievement – there’s really nothing like it!

And the lows?

Well none really – apart from THE SWEAT! With sunshine AND humidity, we were sweaty in places we didn’t know we had – ‘nough said!   And being chased by an enormous thunder storm (which a least had the decency to wait till we had got to the pub).

Huge thanks must to our fantastic guides Matt, James, James and (yes) James from Lakeland Mountain Guides [https://www.lakelandmountainguides.co.uk] who made us laugh and kept us safe and also the lovely staff at YHA Langdale [https://www.yha.org.uk/hostel/yha-langdale]

A massive effort and achievement from everyone, and we are a few whiskers away from reaching our £10k fundraising target so any donations would be so much appreciated.  Come on people!

Our JustGiving page will be live until 30th June:  https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/readgroup10in10

REaD Group Chairman , Mark Roy, speaking at a GDPR event May 2018

Insightful, practical, really informative and enjoyable (yes an enjoyable GDPR event!) are just a few of the positive adjectives used to describe the REaD Group GDPR breakfast briefing. With only 3 days to go until ‘G-day’ the event was very timely – and very well attended – with a room packed full of experienced and informed marketers, Agency side Account Managers and data professionals.

There is more to GDPR than Consent!

To set the scene, REaD Group CEO, Jon Cano-Lopez, kicked off proceedings by referencing the latest consent guidance from the ICO (published only a few days before the event).  The first statement in the guidance reinforces that consent is often not the most appropriate legal basis for processing data under GDPR:

ICO guidance: “The GDPR sets a high standard for consent. But you often won’t need consent. If consent is difficult, look for a different lawful basis.”

So, although the GDPR presents some new hoops for marketers, data managers and compliance teams to jump through – there is more to GDPR than consent – and life will go on beyond 25th May!

The sky won’t fall in on 25th May!

Hannah Crowther, Associate at renowned law firm Bristows LLP, delivered an engaging and no-nonsense presentation packed with salient advice (she even got some laughs!).  Lamenting the barrage of opt-in requests we are all experiencing, she advised caution when deciding whether to re-permission your data – in many cases it is not necessary – particularly for existing customers, members or subscribers.

Her top tips for staying on the right side of the GDPR?

  • If you are embarrassed to say what you are doing with personal data you shouldn’t be doing it!
  • Avoid surprising people – use the Legitimate Interest balancing tests to determine what an individual would reasonably expect to receive
  • Give individuals control over their data and what happens to it, for example, including a clear means to update their preferences or opt out- and document it

Her informed legal view: If you have carried out your checks and balances – by using Legitimate Interest Assessments in a serious and thoughtful manner – and you can evidence your process, you are unlikely to be in ICO fine territory.

What about the right to erasure? This is another area of GDPR receiving a lot of coverage but also greatly misunderstood.  In fact, in many instances requests can be legitimately challenged by an organisation – using the outcome of a balancing test and where there is an overriding legal basis for continuing to hold and process the requester’s personal data (she used the examples of current employees or customers who need to be invoiced).

It’s a journey not a destination!

A pre-recorded interview with experienced CDO at Age UK, Michelle de Souza, gave us insight and sound advice – based on her hands on experience of preparing for GDPR.  Their two year GDPR journey has taken them from relative disinterest internally to embracing the new principles based regulation.  Michelle likened the run up to the enforcement of GDPR to preparing for your driving test, hoping you will pass – and that you don’t get pulled over!

“If you are doing something that doesn’t feel right then you probably shouldn’t be doing it.” Elizabeth Denham, Information Commissioner

Mark Roy – Founder and Chairman of REaD Group – spoke passionately about GDPR being a force for good.  Surely it is better for businesses to be more transparent and honest about what they are doing with personal data so consumers can be more informed and more engaged?  Talking about Recital 47 that states explicitly that the processing of personal data for direct marketing purposes may be regarded as carried out for a legitimate interest.

By Direct Marketing the GDPR refers to Direct Mail (not email, telephone or online – which are still covered by PECR).  Mark expounded the virtues of Direct Mail as an effective, more trusted, less invasive and creative channel to market.  Research confirms that consumers trust direct mail more than email and that it makes them feel more valued.

In Mark’s view, once the GDPR dust has settled, the real game changer will be the ePrivacy Regulation (ePR) which is expected to replace PECR in 2020 and will shake up all digital channels.

Closing on an optimistic note, he reiterated that businesses that embrace GDPR will thrive beyond May 25th – and the future for data driven marketing is bright!

Photo of Mark Roy presenting at the GDPR Impact Series 2018

Take a room full of switched-on marketers, data practitioners and legal and compliance professionals from brands and agencies keen to learn about how to thrive in a post GDPR data driven world.

Add in a group of informed and forthright speakers and panellists.  Provide a holistic view of the new data world order post-GDPR – covering qualitative research, legal stance, channel view, a GDPR journey and industry view…..And bingo!

So what did we learn? 

Ultimately the research presented by David Reed, DataIQ confirms what we already know (or certainly should do!) – that to build and retain trust you must tell people what you are going to do. And do that (and only that!).

The responses outlined also reinforce the importance and relevance of the core principles of GDPR: accountability and transparency. The full research is published and available to download here

For an event focussed on GDPR there was a refreshing consensus from speakers and panellists on the contentious topics of consent and legitimate interests.

Complete the balancing tests correctly and honestly and you can use Legitimate Interests as the basis for direct marketing to your customers and also for third party data.

Mark Watts, Partner at law firm Bristows LLP summed it up nicely, stating “consent is not the only game in town” and reiterating what the ICO have been saying for months that all the legal bases for data processing under GDPR are created equal!

Refreshingly candid, he referenced GDPR Article 47 which explicitly mentions that Legitimate Interests may be used as the basis for Direct Marketing.  Legitimate Interests are also very broad and include commercial interests of an organisation – as confirmed in the latest guidance from the ICO.

ICO: “The legitimate interests can be your own interests or the interests of third parties. They can include commercial interests, individual interests or broader societal benefits

https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-the-general-data-protection-regulation-gdpr/lawful-basis-for-processing/legitimate-interests/

The rights of individuals are also broad and this is at the heart of the balancing tests required for applying Legitimate Interests as a legal basis for processing data.

Direct marketing and GDPR

Royal Mail MD, Jonathan Harman, gave us 12 reasons mail can help your brand to thrive in a GDPR world, including:

  • You don’t need consent for postal marketing
  • Mail offers higher response rates than email
  • No fines as yet for using mail for marketing
  • Mail primes other media

He also cited some compelling stats that confirm that consumers like and trust communication using this channel:

Respondents to MarketReach research confirmed that mail is more believable (87%), makes them feel more valued (70%) and creates a better impression of a company (70%).

The key take-away – direct marketing has a key role to play in the post-GDPR world!

GDPR is a journey not a destination

The engaging and charismatic Michelle de Souza, CDO at Age UK, gave us an honest account of their GDPR journey via a pre-recorded interview with REaD Group’s Scott Logie.

Her advice?  Be pragmatic, be optimistic, be responsible marketers and remember that GDPR is a journey not a destination. Leaving us with the positive view that organisations should have the confidence to keep going.

Get it right and the future IS bright!

REaD Group Chairman and Founder, Mark Roy, put together a strong case to dispel the negativity around GDPR, reiterating REaD Group’s stance that GDPR is a much needed force for good.

Referencing the recent controversy involving Facebook and data sharing as a compelling example of why the accountability and transparency obligations at the heart of GDPR – essentially doing the right thing by consumers – are very much needed and should be welcomed.

Picking up on Mark Watts points, he was also very clear that legitimate interest isn’t just for customers  – that it allows contact with everyone providing it meets the balancing test requirements.

All in all, a great event with some very tasty take-aways!

Want some no nonsense advice on GDPR?  Check out our FAQs or give us a call!