"GDPR will fundamentally change the way we plan PR activities and communicate messages"

Many PR pros are ill-equipped with regards to the requirements of the incoming European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Given the importance of personal data for the daily work of professional communicators, e.g. media relations, pr.co and LCG already provided our top 10 tips to achieve compliance.

Today we present the first part in an interview series on the triggers and impact of GDPR and Filipe talks us through the practical changes PR pros need to be prepared for. The second part of the interview will be published in July 2017.

Filipe, thank you for talking to us. Please tell us a bit more about yourself, about LCG and your role at the company. 

My pleasure, thank you for the invite! Well, I’m Filipe Pereira, born and raised in Lisbon - the beautiful “City of Light” - and I’m currently the Head of Digital Lead & Protection (DLP) unit at LCG Consulting. The DLP unit offers the full comprehensive services of GDPR training, assessment, implementation and organisational and processual auditing. Adding to the ten years of experience as PR/Communication & Management Consultant and over five years of experience on business intelligence, database management and integration of datasets, I’ve also gathered a strong background in research & product development, better understanding the reach of strategic goals and business objectives.

LCG provides consulting services has multidisciplinary skills in the areas of strategic and operational management, innovation & gamification, information systems, decision management support and business intelligence, finance and accounting, legal and incentives.

Where does your interest in data privacy and protection come from?

Given the continued digitisation of our private and professional lives, any company that heavily relies on identifying influencers and on establishing trustworthy relationships with these, will face a period of required adjustment as personal information plays a central role within the realms of data management.

What is really at stake here is that society is catching up with this “new” reality in which individuals manage and have control over their online identity. I find it extremely relevant and crucial that legislators embrace this change of paradigm regarding personal data, i.e. personal data is no longer an asset for organisations to get their hands on and use to their best interest. The new rules for more transparency and to reinforce the individual’s access rights as well as data portability, allow to protect the owners of such data from illicit treatment and form intrusive techniques of tracking and profiling.

How do you see the current privacy legislation within the EU?

A global digital world requires common transnational directives and regulations and it actually took a while for the EU to act on this requirement. However, if we pay attention to other pieces of legislation that have recently been approved, the focus is not just on data privacy but there is also quite a bit of movement in other digital areas such as copyright, payment systems or law enforcement.

Currently, there are discrepancies between countries’ privacy legislations and a non-uniformed approach. A European regulation will help to create that common ground.

The EU GDPR will replace current legislation in May 2018 - Is the law catching up with technological progress and continued digitisation?

As we’ve transformed into an information society, the general mindset and practices haven’t quite evolved at the same pace. As in the past, sooner or later we would be facing situations where there would be a clash. A couple of incidents such as the Schrems’ case or Google de-indexation case just helped pushing the argument that an EU regulation was needed.

Also, as reputation management is of fundamental importance to PR pros and other communicators and heavily relies on an effective management of personal data, the industry is impacted in unprecedented ways by the changing attitudes to personal information.

What will actually change if you compare the incoming GDPR with the current EU Data Protection Directive?

In absolute terms, the sense of data ownership that individuals will acquire and how ultimately, they will learn how to appreciate taking control of their respective online personae. For a more pragmatic answer, I would highlight two main quite disruptive changes: privacy by design and requirement for opt-in consent. The first implies a change of organisational mindsets and corporate culture whilst the latter completely overhauls the way organisations plan PR activities and communicate their messages. Those targeted are now opt-in attentive receivers, fully interested and engaged with the brand.

Are all industries similarly impacted? How?

All industries are impacted, but companies with core businesses that rely heavily on individuals’ data processing (whether it may be influencers, individual clients or staff) or that process data on behalf of their clients as third parties, will be more exposed to the impacts of GDPR.

The own nature of this regulation will enforce its application over public and private entities and I believe that no country will be able to hold back its impact. The perception of what is a trustworthy brand and the risk of damaged reputation implies a change of mindset.


This ends the first part in this interview series with the second part to be published in July 2017. The team at pr.co thanks Filipe wholeheartedly for this interview!

About LCG Consulting: LCG provides consulting services, with multidisciplinary skills in the areas of strategic and operational management, information systems, decision management support and business intelligence, finance and accounting, legal and incentives. You can find more information about the company on their website or on their pages on LinkedIn or Facebook.

About Filipe Pereira, Head of Digital Lead & Protection at LCG - Filipe has over 10 years of experience in communications' consultancy, over 5 years of experience in data management and heads up LCG's digital compliance team. You can connect with him via LinkedIn.


Recommended further reading on GDPR:

2) Pat Clawson, CEO Blancco Technology Group: An interview on organisation readiness

4) Mimecast - Download Forrester Research brief: You Need An Action Plan for GDPR

5) Ardi Kolah LL.M Executive Fellow & Co-Director, GDPR Transition Programme: “The next big personal data attack waiting to happen…

6) Martin Sloan, Partner, Brodies LLP Cyber Risk, Data Protection and the GDPR: Why Senior Management Should Be On Board