Given all the headlines about Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, many of us are now acutely aware of how brands we interact with gather and use (sometimes improperly) our personality and personally identifiable information. That makes now the perfect time to remind you own customers and users about how you collect, employ, re-sell and protect their data.

I know your legal team has its own approach to this -- which is absolutely necessary -- but consider a plain language version that outlines clearly how and why you do what you do with information gathered in surveys, user profiles, etc. Customers need to truly understand how and why you use their data

Shopify's privacy policy simultaneously makes the attorneys and the users happy. Here's an excerpt from their site:

This screen grab from Shopify illustrates an article on plain language terms of service on The Word Factory Blog

Similarly, Tumblr's terms of service are clearly "translated" using a conversational tone:


As we see from these examples, plain language isn't boring. Plain language ensures that the concept is, as my Grandmother Memory would say, "plain as day". (Y'all might say "clear".) Now matter how you say it, straightforward, uncomplicated language has power. It doesn't dilute the idea, it distills it. (For those of you not familiar with making moonshine or other spirits, that means it's more potent!)

Taking this extra step shows users that you're not hiding behind a lengthly legalese set of terms, which gives them stronger confidence in giving you their information. And right now, trust is a more important driver of loyalty than almost anything else.

While you're at it, make sure you've got a clear crisis response plan, including a dormant crisis website,  for when there is a breach or other improper use of data -- because there likely will be.

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