5 Top Tips to Tackle GDPR

GDPR can be a little daunting, especially to small businesses that don’t have the resource to analyse and implement a compliant procedure. There is so much information out there it’s hard to define what needs to happen.

However, the main concepts and principles of the current data protection act don’t differ too greatly to the new law, therefore if you’ve already got a comprehensive procedure in place that’s a great starting point you’ll need to enhance some elements and change a few points along the way. In particular the new law has greater emphasis on the data controller’s documentation and the individual’s rights.

Here are our 5 top tips:


Ensure that you communicate within your business about the impending change to the law. Having input from key stakeholders within the business can help to identify risk of compliance. If you have a team working together from different areas of the business then you’re likely to uncover any problems quickly.

Ensure you designate a Data Protection Officer if you carry out large scale systematic monitoring of individuals and large scale processing of special categories of data or data relating to criminal convictions and offences. The role of the DPO is to implement procedure, be accountable for the processing of data, to monitor compliance of GDPR and data law and be the first point of contact to supervisory authorities and the individuals whose data you process. However, allocating a GDPR project manager will be very beneficial in reaching compliance if you are a small business and you do not carry out any of the above.

Some aspects of GDPR will have more of an impact on businesses than others so with a team of key personnel you’ll be able to highlight which parts will have the biggest impact and then prioritise your planning.

Take a step back

Yep! It’s time to take that famous step back to audit and document the personal data you currently hold, this includes customer data but also employee data and why and how you process it. You must ensure that the data is correct, in date and relevant. If you have any incorrect data this needs to be rectified and documented. This is also proof for the GDPR’s accountability principle, you must be able to show your path to compliance which brings me to the next tip……….

Create policies and procedures

If you have policies and procedures or not, you’ll either have to create from scratch or adapt what you have to ensure you’ve taken on the new changes in the law. If you have all the relevant documentation for your data processing you’ll be able to prove your compliance quickly and easily.

Get consent

I’m sure you already gain consent to record and process data but you’ll need to review your messaging and ensure the following:

  • Be granular, clear and specific
  • Make sure the message is prominent and not hidden or in small type
  • Include a positive opt in – the individual needs to physically tick or sign to give consent
  • Properly documented
  • The ability to easily withdraw

Clarity is King!

You must be transparent in your privacy notices about what data is held, how it is used and for how long it will be held for. Clearly state the above and make sure it’s easily accessible to the individual so they fully understand how their data is stored and processed.
You need to include the following:

  • Your lawful intention for processing the data and how it might be shared
  • How long you will retain the data
  • The individuals rights: to complain to the ICO, to request access to their data free of charge in a commonly used format and within one month, to request correction or deleting of data and to object to data processing

These tips just scratch the surface of what the new law implicates, but this gives you a framework to tackle GDPR within your business. GDPR not only effects marketers and retailers, it effects any business that processes data. These tips come from how we’ve approached the changes in data law that GDPR is enforcing.

For detailed resources visit the ICO’s Guide to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

If you’re a small retail business looking for help then please contact our sister company Digital Team on Demand who will be able to swoop in a GDPR hero to help you plan for compliance by 25th May 2018.

Note that this blog post is not intended to construe legal advice or offer comprehensive guidance on GDPR. This is just our professional opinion.

How 24 Year Old Girls Consume Media

Please note this blog post was written by Jo-Rosie Haffenden before leaving the company.

By Jo-Rosie Haffenden (24 years and 11 months)

Matthew Robson (aged 15) wrote a memo for Morgan Stanley called ‘How Teenagers Consume Media’ and caused a stir. Then Dan Wilson wrote a comic retort to this, for the older gentleman (well, 31) – I thought as none of them represented the females – I would jump on the memo-wagon and have my say.


We listen to Radio 4 a lot and remember key phrases from the news and sport so that we can repeat them at work and pretend to have an informed opinion. We enjoy the plays on this station too, but not the comedy shows – they are rubbish. Radio one used to be good, but it is too fast paced and the music grows louder and more irritating so we generally don’t bother with radio unless we are in the car. We also miss John Peel.


We also watch much more television than we confess to, particularly reality TV and feel-good gown-up versions of teen dramas. We pretend to hate chic-flicks and view them as a guilty pleasure but the moment boyfriend’s backs are turned we are watching Marley and Me over and over again. TV isn’t as good as it used to be.

iPlayer is excellent but we secretly prefer 4oD where we can watch reruns of Wife Swap and other programmes which involve couples much more miserable than us. We use these programmes as evidence when we start fights with boyfriends about how ungrateful they are.


Like 31 year old men we also like Sunday morning papers, but only really read the celebrity gossip. We often pretend to be interested in the fashion and style supplements but only so that partners view us as ‘girly’. Secretly we would be far happier reading Heat or The Sun – especially the bits with “Look how ugly/fat these celebrities have got that your boyfriend fancies” articles.


We love music more so than ever because it is free and most of it is designed to be listened to with headphones. This means that girls can listen to it privately, thus we can listen to whatever rubbishy Kate Nash, Lilly Allen, self-indulgent, I-feel-the-same-way-as-you-about-your-boyfriend music we are embarrassed to admit to liking. And, 80s soft rock ballads. When we read that 31 year old men think that DRM is “a pretty good university second only to Oxford and Cambridge”, we pretended to know what DRM was and smiled to ourselves even though really we didn’t have a clue and had to look it up in case people asked.


We like phones. We like text. Especially when it means we can tell female friends our version of any gossip way before they hear it from the horse’s mouth. This works the other way round too and in turn means that we feel like we know what’s going on. We rarely use our phones for anything meaningful or constructive apart from reading our boyfriend’s sent box, and organising friends. We remember giving boys our number and hoping mum and dad wasn’t in when they called. We know how to use phones, but only use the Internet on them when we need to find out the number for something.


24 years olds are adept at using the Internet. We also occasionally look at pornography.

Friends Reunited

Don’t bother – full of boys who used to have crushes on us when we were at school.


Is a great tool to look at younger “band boys” posing in skinny jeans. We look at lots of different posing pictures of them, many of them topless. We say to our boyfriends how disgusting and sad this is, but secretly we think “mmmmmmmmmm”.


Is for watching people who used to bully you and laugh at them for getting fat and ugly with no man in their life. We ogle baby photos hoping that if we say how cute they are, our boyfriends will agree and say that we should have one too. We also look at wedding photos and say “oh look how gorgeous she is” when we are really just thinking “mine is going to be much better than this.” We pity single friends and congratulate relationship status changes with things like “well done – he is a lucky man” or “Well done – he was a dick”.


Is great. It takes us moments to lie about what we’ve been doing. We talk about getting fit and being on diets as well as follow celebrities- mainly for the Twitpics.


Only strip-games; only if we have to.

Mathew Robson

We think this little guy shows great potential. What a brilliant and ambitious child. We want to congratulate his mother and think that our kids will be doing things like this. We think our kids will probably do it better though and be a bit more articulate.

Sexperience on Channel 4

The mini site that’s accompanying Channel 4’s ‘The Sex Education Show‘ is remarkable.

Visitors to the site can browse statistics, watch a number of high quality videos based on the experiences of real people as well as answer questions that they might normally be afraid to ask courtesy of some excellent online content and tools.

Now what Channel 4 have done is not only create a website which supports the sex education television show in terms of online advertising but it strengthens their association with and commitment to education, enhances their authority as a provider of quality and accessible information (whether it’s broadcasting or reporting online) and ultimately strengthens their relationship with users, both young and old, who might view such a resource as valuable.

The Sexperience site provides an interesting case as to how businesses, both large and small, can involve themselves in other methods of communication, whether it’s through harnessing video content, integrating social tools and feedback facilities, sharing knowledge or by investing in quality content which fulfils user need at all stages of the buying circle.

There is inspiration all around… and acting upon these brainwaves can get people talking about you and your business. And that’s a good thing.

Mobile Advertising; the Future is Here (Almost)

In the Beginning

The growth of technology brings with it the requisite of money. In this sense at least the monetisation of mobile phones is a reality that we must just face; the mystery has shifted from when to how. There are a number of different ideas being banded around from Google’s free phone in which users ‘buy’ into the ads by taking the phone, to interruption based ads similar to TV breaks. Then again the Gphone was denied by Steve Horowitz in favour of the Android platform which goes in semi-direct competition with Yahoo’s Go 3.0. There are many differences between the two, however the main killer is that Go will come preloaded on mobiles, whereas Android is downloadable and therefore you can turn any phone into a Gphone. Closer to home mobile operators 3 and Orange are already introducing banner ads to support browsing or free video in the case of 3.

But what’s going on here? I thought that my mobile was a very personal device and now there’s talk of ads and downloads? This is exactly one of the biggest problems faced by anyone looking to move within this sector. Privacy of one’s space and personal details is crucial for success, particularly when one company can hold so much information on individuals and not be policed in any meaningful way. Take the example of someone with an iphone, My Location and a social networking site including all affiliation or partner sites tied in together. This alone contains enough information to start one thinking.

The Issue at Hand

Therefore what is most important is that users actually buy into anything with full knowledge and consent and as the most important aspect of almost any business model they are treated with the respect they deserve. Alessandro Acquisti, a professor of information technology and public policy, notes “there is power in default settings” and this became only too true in the case of Facebook. Their choice to the make the Beacon Project’s default setting opt-out rather than opt-in caused a number of privacy concerns and resulted in one husband buying a present for his wife only for the details to appear on her news feed and spoil the surprise.

Privacy issues and protecting users is fundamental within the Internet’s setup and becomes paramount when legal systems take so long to catch up that the privacy debate is almost entirely handled by the companies themselves. This can lead to the debate between customers and profit, sometimes resulting in opt-out systems. In some cases this can be extreme, Verizon decided to sell information on its customer’s calling habits to their agents, affiliates, its parent company and all of their subsidiaries. Would anyone like to hazard a guess as to how many companies that is in total and how much money was made from it? To partially answer the question Verizon described the group of companies as “pretty broad which I think answers itself really.

There are arguments concerning CPNI and how actual customer’s details aren’t released, but looking at trends over the last decade, once you crack the dam expect the flood. There are many companies that are really and truly based on achieving the highest possible level of customer experience, yet with the onus of self-policing left in the hands of companies rather than authorities, it must be a major focus rather than something mentioned in a tiny tab at the bottom. It is about creating a positive user experience and not taking advantage of the user via clandestine methods.

A Eye to the Future

So once the privacy issues have been resolved what is the future for advertising? Well, instead of simply being based around PPC, e.g. what someone is looking for at the particular moment, it could be based around their location, what they have thought about recently (Twitter), what they have searched for and their personal information stored on any number of sites. With My Location and geo-targeting paving the way, and Wifi and Bluetooth offering a tighter form of targeting, it will soon become common to locate yourself, friends or colleagues quickly. Again all of this is not too far way with Admob introducing ‘rich targeting’ which is the start of companies being able to target users via criteria such as device or carrier. With companies accessing this level of information and then buying our calling data there could be another more interesting worry on the horizon.

Sandy Pentland and others at MIT experimented on 100 mobile phone users to find what could be understood about their relationships from their mobile phone usage patterns. For example if you’re married your mobiles will often be very close together during the evening as you watch TV and apart for all of the day as you work separately. However your boss may sit just a matter of meters away from you, and thus have a slightly weaker although static signal, from 9.00am till 5.30pm Monday to Friday. Additionally Pentland notes that “all phones have built-in microphones that can be used to analyze your tone of voice, how long you talk, how often you interrupt people. These patterns can tell you what roles people play in groups: you can figure out who the leader is and who the followers

So most of this sounds miles away and has nothing to do with my current PPC campaign right? Well some of it isn’t too far away and advertisers are already beginning to take advantage of rich targeting. My Location is nearly here and the iphone can even tell if you’re walking or sitting, which in combination with information collected over time a particular time frame could give rise to incredibly targeted, powerful advertising.

Imagine a scenario in which a man leaves his house going down the main road to town on a Saturday at 2pm. Taking into account his previous behaviour there could be a good chance he will pass by shops X, Y and Z. Combined with information from other sites such as Facebook etc. an extremely targeted message could be sent informing him that there is a sale in shop Y of black trousers. An extremely basic version of this type of mobile location advertising already exists in certain places like football stadiums where people come into a Bluetooth area and can access information such as film trailers for free.

The elegance of a system like this is that it is not only targeted against what someone could want, but who and where they really are. Imagine half of your office getting a text at 4pm on a Friday saying that the bar round the corner, which knows you have never visited before, is having an impromptu happy hour and was wondering if you would like to come?

In Conclusion

These are the entirely possible implications of advertising when it actually becomes mobile itself, everything can become bespoke in terms of which ad is delivered, the best time of delivery, the method (pictorial, textual etc.) and any number of other aspects can be added. Therefore, crucially, with the correct privacy limitations and buy-in by users from the start this could be a real step towards always having advertisements which are truly in touch with their target, constantly delivering something of interest and generating higher ROI’s for advertisers funding the whole venture.

Image from www.childlocate.org.uk/

Why web writers should support the Hollywood writers strike

Well apart from the fact that if it wasn’t for the last time the writers guild of America went on strike back in 1988, we wouldn’t have the deeply thought provoking and unscripted series Cops, with its catchy little theme tune..”Bad boys, bad boys,whatcha guna do.. whatcha guna do when they come for you”. Genius, stays in your head all day (a bit like a migraine).

Seriously. Being the armchair freedom fighter that i am, i have to applaud any show of strength by the thinking community that doesn’t involve tear gas, especially one that has the power to stop the American media machine dead in their tracks. Imagine flexing your creative muscles and causing a ripple that topples the likes of Lost or the West Wing. That’s pretty impressive stuff and for me it screams the importance of content as loud as most of us SEO consultants do. Like ABC, the Internet would be nothing without the power of words.

There is a lot of talk about Americans turning from TV to the web, when their favourite shows are simply not aired or the standard of writing slumps, due to the horrible deadlines imposed on remaining writers. Techcrunch have said in their article about the walk out that “Users are already choosing online entertainment over TV. Giving content creators of all levels their chance to shine”. The Internet world stats site stated that out of a world population of 6,574,666,417, 18.93% use the web, that’s pretty impressive.

The Nielson Company begged to differ in their Press release “Television Tune in is at record levels”, Nielson stated that the American house holder watches approx 8 hours of television a day. Patrica McDonough Senior Vice President of planning and policy at Neilson said “Television clearly remains a very important part of daily life in the United states”. The Newyork Times published the Neilson statistics, and added that it was easy with all the buzz surrounding social networking sites and You tube video for web procrastinates to label TV as an antiquated medium. My favorite comment came from Robert Thompson from Syracuse University, also mentioned in the article, who voiced his opinion on TV versus Web, saying “The idea that somehow, because we have the Internet, everybody is moving to ‘viewer generated video’ – cats playing pianos – instead of watching professional high budget sorts of stuff, it just isn’t true”.

I do feel that this view point is born out of either defense of one media or another, or simple confusion, but for what ever reason a whole host of intelligent people are misinterpreted the idea of the scope of the Internet. It is almost like they imagine Google exec’s wondering around wearing sandwich boards announcing that the “END IS NIGH – the Internet will one day replace television FOREVER”. I agree that it is idiotic to expect the world population to tune into a chihuahua swimming in T-cup instead of watching their favourite episode of Lost, but i would expect people to perhaps switch off the TV and indulge in another pass time that the web has on offer, i.e: debate, chatting, blogging, downloading music and pod casts etc, because they wish to wake up out of their semi coma existence and get involved. I have inserted Martha Stewart’s favourite piano playing cat Nora with some contemporary Bach, for your None TV viewing pleasure.I did like one comment on techcrunch by Dave R regarding the writers walk out, he asked “Who did they get to write the Picit signs”. Good point Dave, maybe it was Nora. “Go Writers of America, GO. Oh and with all this free time, could you possibly devote some time to working on a new drama about two otters holding hands please”