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Case Study: How to Balance Compliance Demands with Loyalty Program Needs

Adhering to the General Data Protection Regulation and other consumer protection regulations is a challenge tackled by consumer product brands all over the world. How do you follow these guidelines on how customer data is gathered and leveraged without hamstringing your customer loyalty program and engagement efforts?

As one of our clients -- a global beverage company -- experienced firsthand, the Akamai Identity Cloud offers a way forward, striking a balance between regulatory requirements and personalized customer engagement.

Our client was facing the GDPR deadline

GDPR compliance is a challenge even in a vacuum; companies with established customer loyalty programs have an additional layer of difficulty. Our client had placed a great deal of time and energy into launching and maintaining an expansive rewards program with more than 32 million customers from more than 20 countries participating.

Scrapping their loyalty program and the data behind it and starting from scratch was not an option. The brand's customer loyalty program had been honed over the years to provide a truly personalized experience for consumers and helped establish a stronger relationship between customers and the brand. Moreover, the platform helped the beverage company realize a true 1:1 relationship with rewards program customers that didn't run through retailers or distributors.

Although complying with GDPR privacy regulations was certainly a major priority, so too was maintaining the strong customer relationships and direct brand touch points that the company had worked so hard to create through its loyalty program.

Further complicating this scenario was the short window available to bring the rewards program in line with GDPR policies and address any potential data privacy concerns. Our client had two months to implement comprehensive consent lifecycle management solutions before GDPR went into effect.

How Akamai helped our client find the right balance

Because our client had the Identity Cloud in place for years, it approached GDPR compliance from a position of relative strength. Instead of needing to build a customer identity management platform from scratch, a cross-team workgroup from the brand collaborated with Akamai professional service team members to implement additional features needed to meet GDPR requirements.

In particular, this client required a consent lifecycle management overhaul so it could obtain explicit consent from rewards program users to use their data for marketing and personalized outreach. The Consent Lifecycle Management solution in Identity Cloud provides consent forms and templates that allow for customization at a very granular level and can be invoked progressively on any digital property -- including websites and mobile applications. This allows customers to review consent forms in full on any device or platform of their choosing and to manage their consent status accordingly.

Program members and other customers can also go back and review or change their consent declarations at any time. This particular capability was especially important for adherence with GDPR given its guidelines relating to the customers' rights to access and manage their data. It presented a challenging balancing act for the brand and Akamai's professional services team, as companies' obligations to retain customer data during a contest or promotion can conflict with data protection regulations.

To address this issue, our team helped devise a solution that allowed the beverage company to retain data during the promotional period, but then delete that information and notify the appropriate parties once it had concluded.

Working with an experienced customer identity management solution provider in this fashion is extremely beneficial for companies that want to adhere to the latest data privacy regulations and laws without seriously compromising their customer engagement, personalization or marketing efforts. Akamai's work with this global beverage brand proves that there is a way to balance these two seemingly at-odds goals with the help of a world-class CIAM solution.