TechBytes with Joe Toscano (BEACON) and Darren Guarnaccia (Crownpeak)

TechBytes with Joe Toscano, Founder and CVO (BEACON) and Darren Guarnaccia, Chief Product Officer (Crownpeak)
TechBytes with Joe Toscano, Founder and CVO (BEACON) and Darren Guarnaccia, Chief Product Officer (Crownpeak)

What lead to the partnership between Crownpeak and BEACON?

Darren: Crownpeak has been at the intersection of customer experience and privacy management for the past 10 years. Now, with new global regulations, such as Europe’s GDPR and the forthcoming CCPA, companies must engage with their consumers and ensure they not only agree to share their personal data but are informed enough to reasonably give consent, in order to be legally compliant.

Too often though, brands are missing the need to also make this accessible, a huge part of positive user experience. There has been a sharp drop in consumer trust, prompted in part by high profile cases of personal data leaks (Facebook, Equifax, Capital One). Positive engagement can help rebuild lost trust.

We partnered with BEACON to bring a design element to the world of legalese and compliance that is customer-focused. Joe and his team have the same mindset in their approach to this. They’ve also been speaking to legislators and business leaders for several years, so they have a deep understanding of the requirements.

Joe: Since founding BEACON in 2017, I’ve been reading legislation, speaking with legislators, academics, data privacy advocates, and others, and I believe if we want to move this machine, it has to be on business terms. Government takes too long. At BEACON, we work on grassroots events, workshops with business, how to be compliant with CCPA and GDPR, etc. This naturally led us to Crownpeak, as we both identify common problems and create white label solutions that can be implemented seamlessly.

Why is this partnership unique within the industry?

Darren: This partnership is about how the user agreement should look. To date, brands have relied on lawyers and policy makers to draft user agreements, but they only know the words to be used, not how these changes should look or be implemented. This leads to the checkbox mentality. Crownpeak recognized this wasn’t good enough, and once we met Joe from BEACON, the idea began to develop.

Joe: The interface had to be designed with the consumer in mind. Our framework achieves this by giving consumers a voice—to understand what information is being collected on them and for what purpose, and doing so in a way that uses world-class design best practices applied to old, static legal agreements. Our goal is to make the consent process more accessible, to provide real understanding about what a consumer is agreeing to and the companies’ commitment to this agreement. This creates trust as a value, as opposed to basic compliance, where users aren’t really sure what it is they’re consenting too—or if they consent at all.

When building the Trust and Consent Framework, we were careful to make the consent process accessible and beneficial to our constituents, as well as enterprise brands. We’re encouraging brands to take consent seriously and make it more than simply a checkbox approach to meet regulatory compliance. We believe the privacy management process is a solution that’s good for brands, but also good for consumers. By incorporating privacy as part of the customer experience, you build customer trust.

How do you define trust?

Joe: We believe trust is a value—the sum of transparency, consistent value delivery, and a willingness to own the consequences of your actions. Ticking boxes just don’t cut it anymore. There is zero transparency when it’s buried in legalese, offering no actions consumers can take to follow up. Where is the value behind it? We are redesigning this so trust is built into the system.

Darren: In today’s market, we’ve seen not only a sharp increase in data privacy laws like these but also a sharp decrease in consumer trust. Trust has become a conviction-based motivator. We see this system as an incredible opportunity to rethink the way consumers engage with legal agreements across the internet, to encourage trust between the user and the organization. We believe the work we’ve produced has the opportunity to become a new industry standard, globally.

What do you mean by trust as a conviction-based motivator?

Darren: It’s about trust becoming a differentiator for customers. If you look at how Apple is now treating trust—messaging it into everything they do— just as they led with design and user experience for decades. This positions trust and security as a conviction-based motivator synonymous with a brand. We are now giving brands the tools to build transparency and earn that trust.

How much control does the consumer have with your technology?

Darren: The Trust and Consent Framework has different levels of control the user can easily navigate. Basic Functionality you can’t opt out of because it’s data that’s needed by the brand to run the very basic functions on a site. However, there are also layers of data the brand would like to collect to make the site experience better for that user but that are not required, such as access to their microphone or camera. We let the user break these down and consent to each action individually, all at once, or not at all.

Brands need to give purpose statements and purpose limitations and provide access controls to users. They need to keep track of all this and we provide the support to automate that process and keep it simple for them to maintain.

Joe: It’s important to note this isn’t a static agreement—it’s a dynamic one. With our solution, consumers can update one aspect of a ToS agreement or several, without starting from scratch, and their privacy settings are kept in place. All of this makes it a cooperative consensual experience for consumers on the web. Its accessibility helps consumers understand what they can opt-in and out-of, and reasonably give consent.

Darren: Privacy user experience is about giving people as much detail as they would like and not having to hunt for it. It’s not necessarily new, it’s just applying customer experience to privacy.

Do you think this partnership will bring about change in the industry?

Joe: Consider how the attention on pollution and environmental protection lead to companies switching away from single-use plastics and styrofoam. We believe the new standards we’re creating will become that same frame of paradigm shift but for data rights. We’re currently speaking with brand leaders, the ones who take their reputation seriously, and they want to do the right thing but don’t have the resources internally to start from scratch. Our white label solution makes it easy for them, they can rest assured we know what we’re doing and this is an opportunity for them to speed up, lead the paradigm, and not have to do their own R&D.

Darren: Early adoption is a competitive advantage, as this new normal takes hold where consumers value their data privacy. There will be publishers, advertisers and financial services that lead—we want to work with those brands who are leading.

How do you think the industry will develop over the longer term?

Darren: There are a lot of opportunities to creatively expand on this approach to user experience. For example, a loyalty point style offering in exchange for data, or incorporating additional metrics for improved consumer experience.

One word that best describes the ethos of your partnership

Joe: I’m going to say “cooperative.” Not only are we working cooperatively with Crownpeak to develop the future and do so together because it’s much faster to work cooperatively to achieve goals, but we’re also working to make the consent process cooperative at the same time. We believe that there’s not enough cooperation in our world today and we hope we can reinstill that mindset into the market, which we hope will then trickle down into the mainstream of everyday life.

Joe Toscano is the Founder and CVO of the Better Ethics and Consumer Outcomes Network (BEACON), and a former Experience Design Consultant for Google. He also writes for international publications like Forbes, Smashing Magazine, InVision, Adweek, and more.

His is ultimate goal is to improve the human condition through the integration of technology and authentic experience. And is interested in talking about web/technology/product development and design so don’t be afraid to reach out!

beacontrustnetwork logo

The Better Ethics and Consumer Outcomes Network (BEACON) is a social innovation organization on a mission to create a better future, through technology. Founded in 2017, BEACON seeks to aid consumer safety in the digital world and to help businesses regain and maintain trust—a currency more valuable than any other.

BEACON does this by improving technical literacy within the general population and enabling technologists to create products that both increase revenue and positive social impact.

A longtime veteran of the industry, Darren leads product management, product marketing, analyst relations, and partnership division at Crownpeak. Darren Guarnaccia is an International software executive with deep experience in all aspects of corporate and product development. Proven creativity in driving market evolution, company vision, product innovation and marquee relationships with customers, partners, and industry analysts. Adept at navigating global, virtual organizations while maintaining the fierce loyalty of reporting teams. Enthusiastic product marketer with strong technical expertise and social media savvy. More than two decades of success in achieving demonstrable business results.

crownpeak logo

Crownpeak provides the leading, enterprise-grade, cloud-first Digital Experience Management (DXM) platform. The Crownpeak DXM platform empowers Fortune 2000 companies to quickly and easily create, deploy, and optimize customer experiences across global digital touchpoints at scale.

Besides featuring content management, personalization, search, and hosting, it is the only digital experience platform that includes built-in Digital Quality Management (DQM) to ensure brand integrity, best practices, and web accessibility compliance. Crownpeak is also the leading provider of simple technical solutions for complex digital Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC) challenges. These solutions, including the Universal Consent Platform and TagControl, are designed to help companies comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), and other new countries and state privacy regulations.

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