Can Privacy Be A Source Of Competitive Advantage?

Privacy regulations like GDPR and CCPA impact companies that deal with customer, employee and vendor data. Even technology giants have started to incorporate privacy right from R&D and prototyping phases, when they build new products that collect data (think smart speakers or AR/VR platforms). It’s called Privacy by Design.


One of the examples I thought of, in terms of privacy as an source of competitive advantage, was Apple. It has spared no effort in developing its “Privacy is a Fundamental Human Right” strategy, and incorporates this heavily in messaging and promotion.


So, can other companies also take a cue, and should they also build privacy into their competitive strategy?


For something to be a source of competitive advantage, you need to have customers or prospects to value that aspect enough, to actually switch and eventually pay. EYs Global Consumer Privacy Survey 2020 throws light on this.


- 54% of consumers say COVID-19 has made them more aware of the personal data they share

- The most important factors among consumers when they share personal data is secure collection and storage (63%), control over what data is being shared (57%) and trust (51%) in the firm


Net-net, if these assurances are not provided, consumers will go elsewhere. Marketers now have a term for these type of consumers – they call them “Privacy Actives”, i.e. they care about privacy, they are willing to act, and they have actually switched companies or service providers over data or data-sharing policies.


Privacy is no longer an academic discussion. It is real. It is an imperative for growth. Companies have to adapt 1) Product Development, 2) Business Strategy, 3) Promotional Strategy, 4) Customer Support to accommodate these concerns and position themselves favorably amongst privacy actives and the public in general. We already see innovative and forward-thinking companies looking at privacy as vital-to-growth, and not a compliance check-in-the-box.




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