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  • GDPR in PR: A European Law That Impacts Everyone

    By Mark Pinsent, Managing Director, Hoffman Europe One of my favourite quotes comes from the late Douglas Adams, author of ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ (though I should stress that I don’t necessarily subscribe to the view, I just like the quote!): ‘I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.’ But while Adams may have had publishers willing to be flexible, some deadlines are difficult to ignore. Here in Europe we’re hurtling towards the March 29th deadline for the UK leaving the European Union — the infamous ‘Brexit’ — after which none of us has any real clarity about what the short- or long-term effect will be. Without doubt, Brexit is 2019’s headline deadline. A year ago, we were concerned (though, to be honest, slightly less so) with another impending deadline: that of the implementation of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR. In a similar fashion, even with the regulation coming into force on May 25th, 2018, 12 months ago many people were still largely unaware of the potential impact on their businesses, and how they needed to effectively prepare for GDPR. It was critical that they did, however, as the penalties for breach of the regulation can be punitive: up to a 20 million euro fine or 4 per cent of annual turnover. The goal of GDPR is a positive one: better protection of the personal data of individuals (in the European Union). In simple terms, it does this by regulating the processing of personal data by an individual, company or organisation. In reality, this gives individuals more transparency and understanding of how their data is being collected, stored, used and shared, and an ability to control this. And just because GDPR is an EU regulation, and specifically designed to protect the personal data of those residing in the EU, it doesn’t mean that organisations based beyond the EU’s borders are exempt. If the data held relates to an individual who’s in the EU, GDPR applies. Many businesses, of course, rely on collecting, analysing and using personal data to succeed — for instance in marketing and customer service — and the concern was that GDPR would see this ability significantly limited, as consumers opted-out (or declined to opt-in) to their data being collected used in these ways. A fundamental part of the function of public relations — particularly on the agency side of the fence — relies on the collection, storage and use of personal information. The ability to generate earned outcomes inevitably relies on the ability to contact journalists, analysts and influencers, which implies the creation of contact lists and databases holding personal data about these individuals. The worry was that in needing to seek the consent of these critical audiences to retain their data, many would take the opportunity to rid themselves of the burden of a bulging inbox and opt-out. In reality, a couple of things have helped here: the admittedly rather grey area of ‘legitimate interests’, and the increased use of third-party media database providers. Legitimate interests The concept of ‘legitimate interests’ is a useful one. Essentially it means that if an organisation can claim to need to process personal data in order to do its job, then it should be allowed to do so (though not that this negates any need for transparency in the data they capture and use, nor the ability for individuals to choose not to have their data kept and used). But clearly, for the PR industry, there’s an obvious case to claim legitimate interests in gathering, storing and using journalist, analyst and influencer data in order to carry out their work. The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office provides

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Chicken Rice for the Soul more

  • The Secret Sauce Behind Global Collaboration

    To “borrow” a line, offices don’t work with each other. People work with each other. With this in mind, the Agency has taken steps in its operation and implemented several programs all in the name of helping staff members get to know their colleagues in other offices around the world. One of these programs is […] The post The Secret Sauce Behind Global Collaboration appeared first on Chicken Rice for the Soul.

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Ishmael’s Corner more

  • 300,000 Books, Let Me In and Pogonophilia

    The Art Of Storytelling In Business Communications And Public Relations. Techniques For Effective Business Communications. The grab-bag post returns for the first time in 2019. As a refresher, I invented the grab bag as a forum to share three shards on business communications that otherwise couldn’t stand on their own. Here goes.   Who Will Get the Books? Fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld died last month. According to Le Figaro, the ...more The post 300,000 Books, Let Me In and Pogonophilia appeared first on Ishmael's Corner ~ Storytelling Techniques For Business Communications.

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The emphasis on visuals combined with words makes for crisp storytelling


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In a content mad world, visuals can cut through the clutter
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