Like most businesses, we’ve spent the last few weeks trying to get to grips with the requirements of GDPR and it has not been easy.

 

The latest from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) suggests most SMEs are cutting it fine when it comes to meeting the deadline. In late February 2018 it found a third hadn’t even begun preparing and 35% were only in the very early stages.  Well, if any of those SMEs are reading this blog, our advice would be: get cracking, it will absolutely take longer than you think.

 

GDPR is the biggest shake-up in data protection to date and, although nobody is disputing the importance of protecting personally identifiable information, from a communications perspective, more could have been done to support SMEs.  On the website of the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) there’s two tailored guides to support small retailers and small hospitality businesses, but nothing for SME marketers or PR people and the biggest challenge in implementing GDPR is in understanding how it fits in to your day-to-day activity.  There’s huge swathes of opinion out there, plenty of non-industry specific generic guides and ‘GDPR experts’ touting their paid-for services, but we have found very little of it to be any help.

 

Perhaps demonstrating what a challenge GDPR has proven for SMEs, the ICO launched a new advice service helpline for small organisations, but shortly after launch they were forced to issue this message on their website: “We are currently experiencing an extremely high number of calls to our helpline. We apologise for any inconvenience this might cause.” Getting through for some advice, it seemed, was proving almost impossible due to the level of demand.

 

Communicators who understand their audience are more successful in achieving their communication goals.  GDPR is everywhere, so the campaign has been a success in that awareness is high, but as an SME we have felt that much of the messaging has been targeting businesses much, much larger than ours, so it has been difficult to translate.