Bridging the Trust Gap: Data Misuse and Stewardship by the Numbers

By John RoseAlexander Lawrence, and Elias Baltassis

This slideshow can also be viewed on LinkedIn SlideShare.

These slides present results from The Boston Consulting Group’s 2015 Big Data and Trust Consumer Survey of more than 8,000 consumers in the US and the top five European economies (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK) and the results of BCG’s 2015 Big Data and Trust Company Survey of the data stewardship practices of 140 companies in eight industries.

The top findings include:

  • Consumers will stop or significantly reduce spending if they believe that a company has misused data about them or other consumers. 
  • Consumers are primed to view many uses of data as data misuses. 
  • Concerns about data misuse remain at high levels across generations and countries. 
  • Trust unlocks access to data, but few companies know if consumers trust them, and they may not deserve that trust because of weak internal enforcement mechanisms. 
  • The requirements of data stewardship can be grouped into four major areas: internal policies and procedures, data use and collection practices, transparency about current practices, and notifications and permissions for new data uses. 
  • Most companies are being recklessly conservative: they are failing to use data for new purposes that consumers are actually open to. 
  • When they do deem a new use to be acceptable, they don’t often feel compelled either to transparently inform and educate their customers about the collection and use of information about them or to give them the choice to grant permission, even though that is what most consumers want.

Many companies are on a collision course with their customers when they use data in new ways. Unless companies do something to combat the toxic environment of distrust that surrounds data use, consumers will be predisposed to view all new uses of data about them as misuses.