Wow! The holidays have been wrecking my weight stabilization plan, and the last big two for the year are not even here yet! I have been watching my weight creep up like a slow growing plant. I had not weighed myself for two months, and now I have seen that I have gained 25 pounds. I thought I would be okay having a little sugar and milk in my coffee and eating a blueberry muffin for breakfast. I was piling on the carbs and backing off on the protein. Now I am drinking the best weight loss shakes and cutting back the calories.
It is a simple formula to lose weight. You either need to take in less calories than what you burn, or you need to burn more calories than what you take in. Technically, you could eat your daily calories in doughnuts and still lose weight. Being that it is sugar and fat, it may be much harder, and you would also be starving yourself of needed nutrients. However, if you burned 2000 calories a day and ate 1800 calories in doughnuts, you would eventually start to lose weight. Continue reading →
There’s nothing better than warming yourself with a delicious treat in the middle of winter. Particularly if you’re celebrating one of the best days of your life and have the opportunity to dig your teeth into a sugary sensation.
Wedding cake might be the dessert of choice for most weddings, but there are so many other dessert options you can choose from. Whether it’s something that your venue or caterer provides or a food truck you can’t live without on your big day, having a range of dessert options will not only keep your guests happy but it will also make sure you don’t miss out on anything!
So if you’re looking for the perfect winter wedding desserts to complement your wedding cake this season, then look no further.
There’s nothing quite like a hot pudding on cold or (hopefully not!) rainy day. And there are so many flavours to choose from. From self-saucing chocolate puddings, stick-date puddings, bread and butter pudding, rice pudding and traditional plum puddings; the list goes on!
Pudding will be an easy addition to your menu for many caterers and will help warm your guests from the inside out. Bonus tip, pair it with some hot custard to add to that wintery feel. You’ll thank me later.
Waffles aren’t just an American breakfast food, they are a delicious dessert that has made its way around the world. A hot waffle paired with Nutella, banana, custard or strawberries will have your guests drooling with anticipation from the moment you say “I do.”
Plus they’re readily accessible now with many couples choosing to order food trucks for their weddings. This can be a great option if you’re having a wedding with an outdoor area or outdoor access and can help keep your guests entertained while you’re off having photos.
winter wedding desserts
French Provincial and European-style weddings are very on-trend at the moment, so take your theme to the next level by having some European street-style crepes at your wedding.
They’re fun, handmade, and can be topped with a range of amazing and delicious toppings to bring the whole dessert to the next level.
Just be careful if you’re having something with drips of chocolate on it and wearing a white dress. You don’t want to end up wearing your crepe!
Continuing on our theme of delicious European and breakfast foods are Dutch pancakes, also known as Poffertjes. Rather than being a thin pancake style like a traditional crepe, pikelet or pancake, Dutch pancakes are fluffy balls of pancake that can be served on plates or skewers.
Another treat that will be perfect for your food truck fetish, Dutch pancakes are served in bite-sized, easy to eat pieces and are just as delicious served with sugar or cinnamon as they are served with syrups and melted chocolates.
This is definitely one treat that will give you the warming satisfaction of seeing the heat rise off it as it’s passed over the counter.
Pies, tarts and flans
If something a bit more traditional is your style then consider a hot pie, tart or flan to share for your dessert. Like pudding, these amazing pastry combinations can be served with a range of amazing sides and come in a variety of flavours for you to choose from.
Apple pie, blueberry pie, pecan pie – the list goes on! And what’s more, it’s a style of dessert that many caterers or venues should be able to achieve for a wintery day.
It’s also easier than ever to make your pastry gluten-free to have a dessert that will be available for all allergies and dietary requirements.
Tea and coffee are often a staple at weddings and readily available for your guests to end their evening with. But if you’re having a winter wedding consider ordering a coffee cart or hot chocolate cart instead.
While we might kid ourselves that hot chocolate is just another hot beverage, I’m sorry to say that it does actually come under the dessert category. It won’t stop me from ordering my breakfast dessert in the mornings though!
There’s nothing better than warming your hands around a piping mug of hot chocolate on a cold day, and this will be a great addition to your winter menu. You can make it that little bit more fancy by adding extra bits and pieces like marshmallows, vanillin sugar, cinnamon or caramel for an extra delicious treat.
Hot Jam Donuts
Whether you’re calling them ‘donuts’ or ‘doughnuts’ there’s no denying it, they’re delicious. Donut walls have become a big feature of weddings over the last 12 months and having the different types of icing and decorations displayed vertically on a wall is a great way to make your dessert table stand out that bit more.
However, if you’re having a winter wedding then consider skipping the iced donuts and go for hot jam donuts instead. You might not be able to display them on a wall but your guests will thank you when they get to sink their teeth into something warm and sweet.
Mulled Wine or Mulled Cider
Some people might consider these more a staple than a dessert, but we think that they fall into both categories.
Hot drinks are a definite must-have for your wedding so to diversify your beverage menu consider some vats of mulled wine or mulled cider for your day. This can be a great option to warm your guests up after the ceremony and during your reception before your hot desserts are served.
Plus you can go down the route of having them available as just drinks, or making them that little bit sweeter if you’re having fewer desserts. Mulled wine and cider recipes including butter and chocolate are a great way to add that thick creamy element to the drink and make it that much sweeter.
You’ve probably heard of whitewashing, defined as the glossing over or covering up of scandalous information through a biased presentation of facts. But greenwashing isn’t as well known. It occurs when a company or organization spends more time and money claiming to be “green” through advertising and marketing than actually implementing business practices that minimize environmental impact. Environmentalist Jay Westerveld coined the term in 1986 in a critical essay inspired by the irony of the “save the towel” movement in hotels.
Origins of greenwashing
The idea of greenwashing emerged in a period when most consumers received their news from television, radio and print media, and didn’t have the luxury of fact-checking in the way we do today. In the mid-1980s, oil company Chevron commissioned a series of expensive television and print ads to broadcast its environmental dedication. But while the infamous The People Do campaign ran, Chevron was violating the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and spilling oil into wildlife refuges.
Chevron was far from the only corporation making outrageous claims. In 1991, chemical company DuPont announced its double-hulled oil tankers with ads featuring marine animals prancing in chorus to Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”. It turned out the company was the largest corporate polluter in the U.S. that year.
Greenwashing has changed over the last 20 years, but it’s certainly still around. As the world increasingly embraces the pursuit of greener practices, corporate actors face an influx of litigation surrounding misleading environmental claims.
In February of 2017, Walmart paid $1 million to settle greenwashing claims that alleged the nation’s largest retailer sold plastics that were misleadingly touted as environmentally responsible. California state law bans the sale of plastics labeled as “compostable” or “biodegradable,” as environmental officials have determined such claims are misleading without disclaimers about how quickly the product will biodegrade in landfill.
Even the water industry tries to overrepresent its greenness. How many plastic bottles have you seen with colorful images of rugged mountains, pristine lakes and flourishing wildlife printed on their labels? Arrowhead promotes its Eco-Slim cap and Eco-Shape bottle while claiming, “Mother Nature is our muse.”
“The core theme has stayed the same,” said Philip Beere, founder of sustainability content marketing company g Communications. “The No. 1 violation is embellishing the benefit of the product or service.”
Beere said he believes greenwashing is rarely caused by malicious plots to deceive, but is more frequently the result of overenthusiasm, and it’s easy to see why marketers are enthusiastic. Sixty-six percent of consumers would spend more on a product if it comes from a sustainable brand, according to Nielsen’s Global Corporate Sustainability Report, a figure that jumps to 72 percent among millennials.
Brainwash or Greenwash?
With the belief that consumer demand for sustainability is the frontier of our transition to a greener, fairer and smarter global economy, Futerra’s 2015 Selling Sustainability Report offers 10 basic rules for avoiding greenwashing.
Fluffy language: Words or terms with no clear meaning (e.g., “eco-friendly”)
Green products vs. dirty company: Efficient light bulbs made in a factory that pollutes rivers
Suggestive pictures: Images that indicate an (unjustified) green impression (e.g., flowers blooming from exhaust pipes)
Irrelevant claims: Emphasizing one tiny green attribute when everything else is un-green
Best in class: Declaring you are slightly greener than the rest, even if the rest are pretty terrible
Just not credible: “Eco-friendly” cigarettes, anyone? “Greening” a dangerous product doesn’t make it safe.
Gobbledygook: Jargon and information that only a scientist could check or understand
Imaginary friends: A label that looks like a third-party endorsement … except it’s made up
No proof: It could be right, but where’s the evidence?
Outright lying: Totally fabricated claims or data
There are plenty of wonderful companies telling their environmental stories to the world, and even some who aren’t that should be. The incidence of “pure greenwash,” purposeful untruths or impacts of products, is not that prominent. However, there’s a lot out there that gets close. Beere describes the buzzwords commonly used to greenwash as a “slippery slope” and advises any company ready to go down it to invest in educating their marketers.
“Eco-friendly,” “organic,” “natural” and “green” are just some examples of the widely used labels that can be confusing and misleading to consumers. If you’re ready to slap some grass on your logo, be transparent with customers about your company’s practices and have information readily available to back it up.
One example of transparency is activist outdoor clothing retailer Patagonia. Unlike most companies, Patagonia doesn’t sugarcoat its use of chemicals or the fact that it leaves a footprint. The company’s sustainability mission is described as a “struggle to become a responsible company.”
“We can’t pose Patagonia as the model of a responsible company,” the website reads. “We don’t do everything a responsible company can do, nor does anyone else we know. But we can tell you how we came to realize our environmental and social responsibilities, and then began to act on them.”
Do your best to tell your sustainability story and avoid greenwashing. After all, we all know how costly a trip to the cleaners can be.
Brexit Will Affect Your Business – Here’s Everything You Need to Know
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They’re calling it the divorce of the century, and the most happening news coming out of Britain after the birth of Princess Charlotte last year. Britain has formally voted its favor to be excluded from the European Union, and though this will take months to follow through, we know the outcome now. Since the U.K. plays a huge role in world economics, the decision will leave an impacting role in every field, including business and entrepreneurs, regardless of which side you were on in the debate. Politically, the move led to David Cameron’s resignation, even though he had pledged to keep running his office even voters voted against his stance on E.U. membership. But exiting from its largest trade partner will definitely cause changes for Britain. What does the change spell for entrepreneurs? Here’s what we know so far:
The pound is crashing.
Even though actually changes should have taken years to develop, the pound is already plummeting down as compared to the US dollar, especially in Asian countries: as much as 9 percent as of right now and 3 percent against the yen. Japan’s main stock market tumbled by almost 8 percent, the lowest it has been in nearly three decades. Within minutes of Friday’s results, markets across the world took a hit. The pound plunged to 31-year low while the rupee was down almost 96 paise. India’s benchmark Sensex took a big 1,058-point plunge in early trade immediately, eroding nearly Rs 4 lakh crore from the investors’ wealth held in stocks.
India’s trade ability might be easier with the U.K. but more difficult with the E.U.
The U.K. is a popular base for Indian operations and sales to the rest of the world. With the U.K. out of the E.U., Indian firms will have to re-think their strategy. As much as 33 percent of Indian investment in the U.K. is in the information technology and telecom sectors. If push comes to shove and it has to migrate to the continent along with other manufacturing firms, Indian investment into the UK will be diverted to the EU, with their own set of regulations and now differential taxes.
Manufacturing and automobile industries will feel the change.
Even though the U.K. automobile manufacturing industry isn’t powerful enough to dramatically change the global automobile industry, the impact would definitely be felt. Britain’s largest car manufacturer is the Jaguar Land Rover, owned by Tata Motors. According to a Reuters reports, Tata Motors could stand to lose as much as 1 billion pounds by the end of the decade because of the split. Almost three-quarters of the cars produced in England are exported, but with the exit there could be new tariffs that could make U.K.-made cars less competitive.
The global economy could be impacted.
England’s exist jeopardizes the way we planned for the world economy to recover. The U.K. accounts for 18 percent of the European Union GDP. The block could lose as much as one-sixth of its total economic output with the exit. After the United States and France, India is also the third biggest factor, with 800 companies doing their business in the U.K. What’ll happen to their trade remains to be seen.
What is clear right now is change is evident and global businesses now will ace different regulations and increased customs. Try importing or travelling into the U.K. via Europe and it’ll be a lot more complex. However, what remains to be seen is if different means good or bad.
The European Union agreed on a sweeping overhaul of fragmented data protection laws on Tuesday that will force companies to report data breaches and face huge fines for misusing personal data.
The new law enables EU national authorities to levy fines of up to 4 percent of revenues on firms breaking the law, which could mean billions of dollars for big tech companies like Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Microsoft Corp. and Facebook Inc.
Member states and EU lawmakers have been negotiating since June to reach a compromise on the reform, which was proposed by the executive European Commission almost four years ago to replace a patchwork of national laws dating back to the 1990s.
Politicians hailed what they called a “breakthrough.”
“Today everything is digital so we need rules for an enormous amount of issues and those rules have to be applicable, they have to be sensitive, they have to understandable for every normal user,” said Felix Braz, minister of justice of Luxembourg, which holds the rotating EU presidency and therefore led the negotiations on behalf of member states.
Under the new data protection regulation, companies will face tighter restrictions on how they reuse Europeans’ data, something that will be of concern particularly to tech companies that hold swathes of personal information and use it for advertising.
Privacy concerns over where data is stored and how it is used are rife in Europe, especially after former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed how U.S. authorities harvested information directly from tech companies like Apple Inc and Microsoft.
Companies will have to report breaches that are likely to harm individuals to national authorities within 72 hours, something legal experts expect will reveal the true scale of data breaches in Europe.
Seeking to make operating across the 28-country EU easier for companies, the new law establishes a single regulator for multi-nationals in the country where they have their European headquarters, the so-called “one-stop shop.”
However, uncertainty over how national data protection authorities will be able to cooperate will lead to years of litigation, lawyers say.
“This will come, it cannot be avoided,” said Jörg Hladjk, a lawyer at Hunton & Williams.
Right to be forgotten
Businesses will have to get people’s “explicit” consent to use their data — something they have said is unwieldy when dealing with huge sets of data — and appoint a data-protection officer to oversee privacy issues.
The regulation also enshrines the “right to be forgotten” giving EU citizens the right to have obsolete information about them deleted from the web, an issue that generated heated debate last year when Google was ordered to scrub search results appearing under a person’s name.
Teenagers under 16 wishing to sign up for social networks like Facebook and Twitter Inc. will be able to do so only with their parents’ permission, unless individual countries opt out and lower the threshold to 13.
Tuesday’s agreement also includes a law protecting personal data shared between law enforcement authorities.
The agreement is subject to final endorsement by both the European Parliament and EU member states, expected by early next week.
(Additional reporting by Alissa de Carbonnel in Strasbourg, France; Editing by Barbara Lewis, Susan Thomas, Larry King and Lisa Shumaker)
The New EU General Data Protection Regulation: Big Data Protection Gets Personal
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The adoption by the European Parliament of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) sets the stage for profound repercussions to digital privacy on both sides of the Atlantic. The GDPR is a prominent example of new wave of global privacy regulations that is forcing business to rethink how they collect, manage and govern access to personal data. And unlike past generations of legislation, GDPR provides organizations ample motivation to perform; failure to comply could result in penalties as high as 4% of global revenue.
The regulation’s broader intention is to galvanize a new, integrated approach to data protection that drives transparency and puts privacy on an equal footing with information security. Transparency is not just an operational requirement — it also means that organizations will have to maintain intelligence into their use of private data, ensure usage compliance as well as regularly verify their data protection and privacy policies.
Getting Past Good Intentions
Many organizations have already initiated governance programs to manage how data about their customers and consumers is processed and accessed in anticipation of more stringent data privacy and data residency requirements (especially with advent of Privacy Shield and the demise of Safe Harbor). The implicit assumption in the GDPR provisions is that these incremental efforts won’t be sufficient. Doing your best with the current approach will not be enough.
Instead, GDPR exacts very specific requirements around how personal data is collected and processed. Rather than accumulate data with the expectation that at some point in the future it will help to drive insights into revenue generation opportunities or uncover potential operational efficiencies, the GDPR is structured on the assumption that organizations will know beforehand why they are collecting customer and consumer data.
At a point when many organizations have taken advantage of new technologies to amass literally petabytes of data about customer and consumer behavior, the GDPR mandates that organizations only process and collect the data needed to support a service. This requires new levels of understanding for what data is collected, where it resides and how it is consumed by applications and data scientists.
It also places greater focus on consent. The Regulation described a ‘purpose limitation’, which stipulates that “Only personal data necessary for each specific purpose of processing are processed”. In the language of the Regulation, any other operations on the data that are not consistent with the initial justification for collecting the data is referred to as an ‘incompatible purpose’, unless the data controller can show there is a legitimate interest. The GDPR stipulates
informed consent to collection of personal data, with the requirement for either “a statement or a clear affirmative action” — an emphatic shift away from the implied consent model.
Further complicating matters for privacy, compliance and risk officers is that all the new rules and requirements apply to a more rigorous definition of what is personal data. It has long been common practice for organizations to “de-identify” data before it is analyzed. However the threshold for successfully removing direct or indirect identifiers in data has in recent years proven to more challenging as researchers have shown an ability to re-identify previously assumed anonymous data. For this reason, under the new GDPR regime it will be critical for organizations to not only classify what is personal data accurately but also score the degree of identifiability to control how different data is shared and analyzed.
It’s not entirely alarmist to speculate that the GDPR will force organizations to re-engineer their privacy practices for Big Data. Certainly, new technology and processes will be necessary to manage privacy and monitor compliance for GDPR before it becomes binding in two years’ time. Given the significant penalties for failing to do so however, the EU likely has the necessary stick to change corporate practices around privacy.
What is clear with the passage of GDPR is that organizations will now need to prioritize privacy like they previously did security. Modern business is built on personalized service. But with personalization comes an equal responsibility to ensure and document privacy protection. GDPR is a clarion call to business that personalization without privacy is not just bad, it’s illegal. Operationalizing privacy from data discovery through data governance will require new thinking around Big (personal) Data.
Nutella Burgers And Other Crazy Fast Food Items From Around the World
McDonald’s Italy’s newest menu item is a sweet treat.
If you’re traveling abroad and need a taste of home, take note: from McDonald’s to KFC to Dunkin’ Donuts, fast food eateries from across the globe take a slightly different approach to their greasy cuisines.
Check out these 16 fast food items that will either make your mouth water and/or your jaw drop.
Nutella “burger,” McDonald’s, Italy
Image credit: McDonald’s | Facebook
In Italy, McDonald’s announced a new treat, called the “Sweety con Nutella.” It’s two sweet rolls with a helping of the chocolate hazelnut spread, which actually originates from Italy.
Cheese Katsu Burger, McDonald’s, Japan
Forget about a McDouble, McDonald’s in Japan is taking things up a notch with its new Cheese Katsu Burger. The item features traditional pork katsu — a breaded and deep fried patty — nested between two sesame buns.
But that’s not all — what would this McDonald’s item be without an American twist? We’re talking cheese, of course. The pork katsu cutlet is fried and oozing with cheese on the inside and also topped with cabbage and mayo.
Zinger Double Down, KFC, Korea
Forget about your typical Double Down, KFC in Korea has taken things to another level. The Zinger Double Down is a burger topped with bacon and cheese that sits between two fried chicken fillets drenched in barbecue and white pepper sauce.
If that won’t make your heart stop — we’re not sure what will.
Lobster Surf & Turf Burger, Wendy’s, Japan
Image credit: Kazuhiro Nogi | Getty Images
Wendy’s in Japan takes things up a notch by turning your fast food experience into fine dining.
For a limited time, Wendy’s Japan offered luxurious items such as a Lobster Surf & Turf Burger and the Premium Caviar & Lobster Sandwich.
In the past, the eatery’s menu also offered a Foie Gras Burger smothered in goose liver and truffles sauce. The item was only available for a year and later removed from the menu in 2012.
Gracoro Burger, McDonald’s, Japan
Image credit: McDonald’s Japan
Like Wendy’s, McDonald’s also likes to test funky products on the Japanese market.
McDonald’s Gracoro Burger — only available during winter — features a patty filled with macaroni, shrimp and white sauce with a breadcrumb crust. The patty is topped with cheese and “demi-glace” sauce and sandwiched between buns.
Chicken Tikka Masala, Taco Bell, India
Image credit: Taco Bell India
In India, many customers don’t go to Taco Bell for a Mexican-style Burrito. Instead, Taco Bell locations offer takes on the country’s traditional items, such as a Chicken Tikka Masala Burrito or rice bowls adorned with a variety of spices.
Kimchi Quesadilla, Taco Bell, South Korea
Since its release in June, this mashup has been a surprising hit at Taco Bells in Korea, making up some 10 percent of the restaurant’s sales in the country.
The Kimchi Quesadilla combines the traditional Korean dish with the Bell’s chicken and cheese Quesadilla.
Deep Fried Salmon, KFC, Japan
Image credit: KFC Japan
Move over fried chicken — at KFC, Deep Fried Salmon was a hot commodity. The name says it all: the dish is simple fried salmon with your favorite KFC dipping sauce.
Pork and Seaweed Donut, Dunkin’ Donuts, China
Image credit: Dunkin’ Donuts China
Forget about sprinkles and chocolate — in China, Dunkin’ Donuts takes a saltier approach: the Pork and Seaweed Donut is exactly what it sounds like.
Flying Fish Roe Salmon Cream Cheese Pizza, Pizza Hut, Hong Kong
Image credit: Pizza Hut Hong Kong
In America, we think Pizza Hut’s cheese-filled crusts are bizarre — but maybe this item will make us think twice.
In Hong Kong, Pizza Hut’s limited-edition Flying Fish Roe Salmon Cream Cheese Pizza is out-of-this-world whacky. The 2014 limited-time item featured crust filled with salmon flavored cream cheese and flying fish roe (fish eggs).
The pie was available in two flavors: Crayfish Seafood Deluxe (crayfish, scallops, shrimp, clams, cherry tomatoes, peppers, red onions and thousand island sauce) and Sausage, Pepperoni & Pomelo.
Double Down Dog, KFC, Philippines
Image credit: KFC Philippines
In January last year, KFC lovers hurried to try KFC’s craziest concoction. With only 50 served at participating stores in the Philippines, patrons clamored to get their hands on the Double Down Dog — a hot dog wrapped in a fried chicken bun.
Cheeseburger Pizza Crust, Pizza Hut, U.K.
Image credit: Pizza Hut UK
Here’s a solution to all you indecisive eaters.
Can’t decide between a pizza or a cheeseburger? At Pizza Huts in the U.K, you can order your pizza with a Cheeseburger Pizza Crust. The 2,000-plus calorie dish initially debuted in pizza huts in the Middle East and has since expanded north to the U.K.
Cheetos Crunchwrap Slider, Taco Bell, Canada
Image credit: Taco Bell Canada
Although it has yet to make its way to the American market, Canadian Taco Bells recently released a Cheetos Crunchwrap Slider for a limited time.
A junk foodie’s dream, the new item comes in three flavors: Beefy Cheddar, Spicy Chicken and Supreme — all of which are infused with Cheetos, of course.
Green Peas Patty Sub, Subway, India
Image credit: Subway India
To replace meat for the country’s large population of vegetarians, Indian Subways offer a variety of alternatives — one of the most popular being the Green Peas Patty sub.
Aloo Patties (made with potatoes), Chatpana Chana Patties (made with chickpeas) and Hara Bhara Patties (made with potatoes and green vegetables) are also among the vegetarian offerings.
Guacamole and Salsa Loaded Fries, McDonald’s, Australia
Image credit: McDonald’s Australia
Now this one might get your mouth watering. McDonald’s famous fries just got even better. With the option to add toppings to “Loaded Fries,” customers can enjoy fries topped with cheese and bacon or guacamole and salsa.
Choco Marsh, Taco Bell, Spain
Image credit: Taco Bell Spain
If you have a sweet tooth, Taco Bell in Spain has the perfect thing: the Choco Marsh is a tortilla filled with chocolate and marshmallow.
Brexit Is Complicating Digital Marketing and EU Data Privacy
The United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union could have significant ramifications for domestic digital marketers doing business internationally. Every day, digital marketers in the U.S. come in contact with mountains of personal data. These can include customer email addresses, browsing habits, age, gender, geographic location and any other data Google, Facebook and other go-betweens allow U.S. marketers to collect.
Until late last year, U.S. marketing agencies were subject to the long-standing Safe Harbor agreement, which regulated the flow of personal data between the EU and the U.S.
Safe Harbor prohibited the transfer of data to a country outside the European Economic Area (EEA) unless that country had adequate data protection measures in place. American agencies receiving EU citizens’ personal data could self-certify they complied with Safe Harbor. This basically attested their practices adhered to a range of European privacy standards. Although the agreement applied to any country outside the EEA, it primarily targeted the U.S. and American companies.
The Snowden effect.
Ever since former CIA employee Edward Snowden leaked classified information, the EU has been exceedingly sensitive about the transfer of EU citizens’ personal data to the U.S. Truth be told, the EU long had regarded U.S. privacy laws as inadequate. The release of the Snowden documents only strengthened that position. In the wake of the leak, the European Court of Justice convened and re-examined the Safe Harbor agreement. The Court, which is tasked with ensuring EU law is applied equally across the EU, found U.S. compliance with Safe Harbor lacking. In October 2015, the Court invalidated the agreement. The decision was effective immediately.
In December 2015, the EU adopted the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to patch the gap. While the GDPR isn’t enforceable until 2018, most U.S. and international companies are using that framework as their guideline to satisfy the EU’s requirements for personal data transfer.
In February, the EU and the U.S. announced Privacy Shield, a new agreement to replace Safe Harbor. Privacy Shield represents a more rigid framework that creates stronger obligations for U.S. companies, stronger monitoring and enforcement from U.S. authorities and an annual review process to ensure new measures are implemented. European and U.S. officials worked throughout the spring to iron out details of the agreement and begin implementing its provisions.
The Brexit complication.
Negotiations surrounding data transfer have gotten only more complex since June 2016, when the U.K. voted to leave the EU. Brexit has raised a number of questions that have yet to be answered. Among them:
Will the Privacy Shield agreement need to be renegotiated?
Will the EU need to negotiate a new agreement with the U.K. similar to the one in place with the U.S.? If so, when would that happen?
Is there a chance the U.K. might find itself flagged by the EU as a jurisdiction with inadequate privacy laws?
Will data transfers between the U.K. and the U.S. have to undergo scrutiny from the EU because personal data from citizens of EU member states might be included?
Will Privacy Shield be put on hold while the EU and the U.K. negotiate the withdrawal? If so, what framework will govern transatlantic data transfers in the meantime?
The Brexit vote and the chaos that now surrounds Privacy Shield creates tremendous uncertainty for U.S.-based digital marketers who collect personal data from customers in the EU. In the short term, however, there is some good news. In the wake of the Safe Harbor invalidation, many U.S. companies — including marketing agencies — incorporated into their agreements “model contract clauses” and “binding corporate agreements.” Both instruments have been approved by EU courts. They allow for the collection and transfer of data from Europe to non-EU jurisdictions, and this practice likely will continue until more answers come into focus.
What comes next?
U.S. marketing agencies still must heed EU privacy laws when dealing with the U.K. Why? Two reasons. First, chances are good that the U.K. independently will adopt many of the same EU policies and procedures. Second, personal data obtained from U.K. sources likely will include information about members within the remaining EU nations.
Marketers target specific demographics on behalf of clients and brands. As the internet has made the world more interconnected, it’s impossible for domestic marketing agencies to simply ignore the data protection measures put in place by countries outside the U.S. Complying with the wishes of these countries makes sound business sense. It enables companies to access some of the world’s largest markets and protects agencies from exposure to international violations and liability.
The impact on marketers.
The many obstacles and headaches associated with international data protection compliance may seem onerous to domestic agencies, but doing nothing could present greater problems. Even if U.S. agencies choose to deal solely with domestic companies for the exchange of personal data such as email lists and demographic data, there’s no realistic way to sort out which information is outside the EU and which is inside. Companies still have to hash out the names and/or emails on such lists, making it impossible to know which is which and who is who. A single email address belonging to a citizen of the EU in a 5,000-name list obtained by a U.S. marketer is enough to expose all parties involved to a potential violation.
For now, not too much has changed in the wake of Brexit. Every aspect of data collection has the potential to be renegotiated. Privacy Shield has not yet gone into effect, so most companies are using the EU’s GDPR framework to govern their transatlantic personal data transfers.
It’s good for third-party marketing vendors to get in the habit of protecting information via hashing — the process of obfuscating all or part of the digital data. It’s an extra reassurance for third parties who might not have requested personal data from the EU but unwittingly received it, all the the same. Hashing is a solid way to protect data and also can make the retrieval process easier.
With so many uncertainties, U.S. marketing agencies can be sure of one thing: Brexit means it almost certainly will cost more to comply with new rules for collecting personal data. Legal fees, compliance initiatives and added layers of security all will be factors. No matter how the future unfolds for the U.K. and the EU, there will be new challenges — and that means new expenditures.
The good news, of course, is that the U.K.’s departure from the EU could take several years to sort out. For domestic digital marketers, this means continuing to safeguard the personal data they obtain and familiarizing themselves with the GDPR.
4 Ways to Reach Customers with Coupons in a Digital Age
Everyone loves a deal. Realizing this, businesses have long used print-based discount offers such as coupons in newspapers to sell products. But, as consumers have increasingly obtained information online, businesses have seen an increase in consumers’ demand that these businesses shift all their marketing strategies to digital.
While there are still customers who clip paper coupons before heading out to shop at a brick-and-mortar, many more prefer to save while purchasing online. This has driven a gradual shift in the way businesses reach customers. Here are a few ways businesses use the internet to attract consumers looking for a deal.
Online customers can’t present a paper coupon to a cashier at checkout, which drives the need for a way they can get the deal virtually. This is done through issuing exclusive “coupon codes,” which customers then paste into a field before entering their payment information. As a result, coupon code sites have emerged that allow customers to share coupon codes with anyone else visiting the site.
While some big brands may fight the public sharing of coupon codes, these sites can actually be great allies. Deal-seeking customers frequently search these sites for coupon codes they can use to get a great deal. Consider creating a generic coupon code with a longer expiration date that customers can share online, making your customers-only deals slightly more lucrative but with a shorter turnaround time.
Now that 81 percent of all customers research online before making a purchase, businesses can’t afford to be invisible online. Not only should retailers have their deals clearly visible on their websites, but they must find a way to make sure they show up on the deal sites customers use every day. The savviest of couponers usually have some of the most popular deal sites bookmarked, visiting them on a regular basis.
Look for deal sites that have a large follower base, along with regularly posted deals from major brands. The best sites also let customers sign up to receive deals in their inboxes on a regular basis, since this will capture those consumers who forget to check the site every day. Once you’re listed on deal sites, make sure your coupon codes remain active so you can avoid being reported and removed.
The value of loyalty cards goes beyond offering your customers a way to save money. The biggest benefit is that you’ll be able to collect data on each member’s habits. You’ll know exactly what those customers bought, which can be connected to whatever demographic information you collected at signup. In the end, you can use that data to inform your business decisions.
Loyalty cards can also generate an incentive for customers to choose your business over the competition. This is especially true if you have a points-based reward system. When customers know that each purchase helps them accrue points toward a future reward of some type, they’ll be more likely to choose to have lunch at your restaurant or buy from your online shop.
Group coupon sites
Group coupon sites seemed like an ingenious concept, at first. The goal was to require a minimum number of customers to “buy into” a deal before it could go live. This encouraged participants to forward the offer to their friends and family members on social media, which boosted the offering company’s exposure.
Over time, however, many brands found group coupon sites problematic, since they didn’t generate repeat business. If a customer participates solely to take advantage of a great deal, the business rarely sees a profit from that particular sale, and sometimes even experiences an accumulative loss. Group coupon sites can be a way to introduce your business to a wider customer base, but make sure your deal is set to allow you to make at least a small profit.
Coupons remain a great way to get the word out about your brand, whether you’re an online-only business or you have a local presence. It’s important to learn as much as possible about each option and choose the one that best fits your own business goals. Search for a route that will yield the most long-term customers at a minimal temporary loss to your business.
Is your company ready to go global with ecommerce? Maybe it should be. Opportunities to sell globally are substantial and growing. While ecommerce retail sales in the United States are rising — expected to reach $523 billion in the next five years — that number is growing even more rapidly worldwide.
Globally, business-to-consumer (B2C) online sales is on pace to exceed $2 trillion by 2017. E-sales in Asia Pacific will surpass those in North America during that same year. The increased use of mobile devices in those regions, plus better payment systems and advanced shipping methods, are contributing to this trend. Consumers in many overseas markets can’t get the products they want in local markets. This presents a huge opportunity for U.S. retailers.
But launching overseas isn’t easy. If you think you’re ready to expand your online retail footprint across borders, you need to consider some important factors.
1. Assess supply and demand.
To get a clearer picture of your probability for success in other markets, first assess your business from the local point of view in your product’s new space. Conduct a regional analysis around local competitors, product demand, pricing and consumer behavior.
According to ecommerce provider Pitney Bowes, organizations “need to make sure they have a full understanding of what they’re selling today and the current demand” in international markets. This knowledge will help you home in on the size of the market that exists, the supply-and-demand dynamic for your product and the price at which it can be sold.
For example, McKinsey found that most online spending in China can be attributed to just a handful of online retail segments: apparel, recreation, education and household products. This presents an undeniable opportunity within these markets. Similarly, another study discovered that Australia is one of the strongest markets for U.S.-based online retail. The duty threshold and minimal local supply allow goods to move across borders at an affordable cost. These early learnings either enable ecommerce operations to succeed abroad or doom them to fail in far-flung places.
2. Localize your product.
Businesses that launch physical products in international markets usually need to augment or adapt their solutions to support local preferences. Many U.S.-based businesses have failed to bring existing products to new markets because company leaders think that aggressive marketing or pricing can change entrenched cultural appetites.
One of the most famous examples is Mattel, the toy powerhouse. It failed to launch Barbie in China several years ago due to just such a disconnect. According to reports, Barbie’s look wasn’t attractive to Chinese women. Mattel disregarded local consumer tastes, including the “cutesy … pink clothes” aesthetic popularized by Hello Kitty. The “sexy” Western Barbie was simply off-putting. Mattel poured resources into the market, and Barbie has since rebounded in China. However, this type of mistake would be insurmountable for smaller companies.
3. Localize your site.
Authentic localization is a crucial driver for regionalized sales. Your ecommerce site experience should reflect the time and care you spent customizing the product itself. Consumers won’t make a purchase if they don’t understand your product or can’t tune in to your message. In fact, 87 percent of consumers who can’t read English won’t purchase products or services from an English-language website, while 60 percent of global customers rarely buy on English-language sites.
Believe it or not, some companies rely on Google translate to approximate different languages when expanding internationally. According to Russell Goldsmith, Director at U.K. translation company Conversis, this type of website shortcut is a mistake.
“If you care about your audience in that local territory, you could end up making things worse for yourself because anyone who speaks that language will see that it’s been automated, and that it’s not perfect for their language,” Goldsmith says.
Recruit a local team to help your ecommerce experience adapt to a new market. Make certain your message translates to appeal to consumers in terms of language, style, tone, shopping habits and terminology. It’s also a good idea to include a glossary of terms for translators to keep your brand’s messaging intact.
4. Set prices accordingly.
When you enter a new market, you must price based on local currency. But price points that work in the United States don’t always work elsewhere. Competitive pricing is important in any market — and it’s determined by the local environment. More than half of consumers give more attention to an ecommerce site that has goods at local prices.
Many factors contribute to local pricing in global markets. These include:
Cost to manufacture the product
Fluctuations in foreign currencies
Price an international customer will pay
Your competitors’ pricing
Local regulatory or tax environment
It’s also important to support each region’s preferred payment method. While it’s exhausting to track so many purchasing habits, it can positively affect how your product sells. According to Ontraport, 50 percent of Germans prefer paying with bank transfers, while many Chinese customers favor the international payment platform Alipay.
If a customer tries to buy an international product and doesn’t see a preferred payment option, she or he probably will leave your site and look elsewhere. Offering a wide range of payment tools increases your product’s global reach.
5. Focus on privacy and customer data.
If you’re building a global ecommerce site, you must understand how privacy and customer data pertains to overseas consumers. Customers want to know their privacy is being protected. They need reassurance their personal information won’t be used for unrelated business without their consent.
Cyber safety is a huge problem plaguing modern ecommerce. According to a Norton study, 40 percent of mobile shoppers in the Middle East and North Africa have been victims of cyber crimes. And 71 percent reported observing digital attacks in their region. Alternatively, European consumers are notoriously protective about their privacy online.
Put privacy front-and-center in messaging across your site experience to allay these fears. And back up those words by investing in the technology to keep customers’ private information, private. You’ll want a team in place to manage compliance and other security and privacy-related costs. An EU study points out two of the biggest challenges in cross-border trade: (1) the expenses synonymous with consumer-protection rules and contract law and (2) the costs of fraud and non-payment.
Expanding into the global ecommerce arena can be a challenging yet profitable new step for established and emerging brands alike. Keep the right priorities in mind to minimize the bumps, and you’ll accelerate your success in a new corner of the international online marketplace.