Customers cite data loss as key brand reputation breaker

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on September 5, 2007

Customers cite data loss as key brand reputation breaker

While top brands may fulfil every promise made and provide excellent customer experiences, most consumers (87%) report having lost respect for businesses that exposed or lost sensitive customer data, according to a survey by loss prevention solutions provider Tablus.

In the digital age, brand equity can be seriously affected by reports of data breaches such as those already experienced by some of the world's biggest brands. The result of these unfortunate incidents is that consumers have become keenly aware of the risks involved in entrusting their information to businesses.

Reputation breaker According to the Tablus survey of 400 consumers' views on how data breaches relate to brand equity, the attitude held by most consumers is "Lose my data and you've lost my business". Among the comments made by survey respondents were comments such as "My patronage to a business depends on more than just the products they offer. Security and confidentiality of customer information should be a priority", and "I trust you with this information. Don't break my trust!"

The survey also identified a strong link between data breaches and brand equity. For example:

  • 93% said that businesses have an obligation to protect sensitive content;  
  • 95% feel that there is no excuse for a company to expose a customer's confidential information;  
  • 85% would prefer to do business with a company that has never experienced a data breach;  
  • 82% said they would warn others against doing business with a company that exposed customers' personal information;  
  • 82% felt that companies that had never experienced data loss were more trustworthy than those that have;  
  • 96% said that companies' highest priority should be protecting customers from data breaches;  
  • 94% agreed that, if there was a technology that could prevent the loss of confidential personal information, all businesses handling such information should use it;  
  • 90% said that they did not trust companies that could not provide protection for their confidential information;  
  • 88% feel that companies that provide better data protection have better reputations than those that do not.

Fragile brand equity "The survey shows how essential content protection is to an organisation, not just from an IT perspective but from the value a brand has in the public eye," concluded David Puglia, vice president of marketing for Tablus. "Newspaper headlines have shown how fragile brand equity can be after a company experiences a data breach, and companies must stay ahead of the threat in order to maintain their reputation."

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