Contrary to belief, many Canadians who are comfortable in the digital world are not ready to share personal information indiscriminately to brands, finds a survey conducted for the Canadian Council of Public Relations Firms (CCPRF).
The survey, conducted on the Angus Reid Forum, finds only 18% of Canadians who are “digital natives” (defined as those who centre many of their digital activities online) say they always share personal information when brands or companies ask. The number drops to 8% among those who defined themselves as “digital visitors” and 5% among the “not digitally savvy.”
“We decided to explore this debate about who gives up information more freely,” says David Gordon, chair of CCPRF and managing partner of Cohn & Wolfe.
The results challenge the generally accepted perception that digital natives are “willing to blindly give up information,” Gordon says. “They are a cannier bunch than the misconception has allowed.”
And when digital natives do give up personal information, they’re looking for something in return, he says, adopting a “What’s in it for me?” or “What am I getting in exchange?” attitude.
The study finds digital natives are more willing than their less digitally-savvy counterparts to barter their personal data for special offers, exclusive access and discounts, under the right circumstances.
Only 25% of digital natives say they will share their personal information with a brand in exchange for a half-off discount, but that figure doubles to 50% when people are offered VIP access or an exclusive experience.
Most Canadians, especially those who have grown up in the social world, place significant value on brand and corporate trust, the survey finds: 63% of all survey respondents say they are likely to share their personal information with a brand or company they trust, versus 74% for digital natives.
The survey also finds that if a well-known company experiences a data security breach, it will cause a ripple effect of distrust: 43% are less likely to share their personal data with a company in the future. But only 26% of digital natives will take that approach, while 12% say they will audit their digital footprint.
“The digital natives accept the challenge of the environment and are willing to maintain that relationship versus just shutting down the relationship, which speaks to the value of the brand,” Gordon says.
He says the survey shows that when brands develop a strategy they should ask: “What are we giving in return? Strategies require us to invest in relationships. It’s a two-way street with our audiences.”
The online survey was conducted February 20-21 among 1,008 randomly selected Canadian adults, and had a margin of error of +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20.