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GDPR in Europe may be notching up successes when it comes to clocking data breaches, but there is a groundswell of mistrust of companies regarding our personal data. For businesses, this is an important issue if they want to create more personalised and seamless customer experiences.

Where do companies find the opportunity to build this trust? Perhaps climate change can provide the means.

If a company can use part of its marketing and CSR budgets to support the development of low carbon infrastructure across urban communities, for example through ESG sponsorship, it then has the opportunity to positively reflect this experience across its brand.

But it can take this a step further.

Sponsors may well collect media about the communities in which they invest and use it to shine a light on themselves, but they can further develop their relationships by positively reflecting a community’s image back to itself and out to the wider world. This may, for example, use video clips about success stories within the community, or create profiles of specific groups and individuals. This contributes to the community’s sense of value, helping to generate a more cohesive society, and enhances external perceptions, attracting more inward investment.

The trust that this mutual brand-building process is able to build is then reflected in the digital relationship that people have with companies. If companies are more trusted, then people are more willing to share their information and their views, and are more willing to support and promote those companies through social media channels.

The UK has traditionally recognised the value of aid in order to create soft power. Companies can also do this. The link between corporate capital, low carbon infrastructure and digital marketing is looking for a match between enlightened companies and outward-facing communities.

© David Arscott December 2020