Stocktake: Trust in info and brands is paramount

Protection of consumer information with POPIA and the erosion of consumer trust in brands are in the news this week.

Company POPIA information officers have until mid-August to make submissions regarding their responsibilities; and Havas found that consumers are demanding radical change from brands in the wake of the pandemic global threat; as well as other societal challenges and issues that have come to the fore as we all grapple with a new way of living and working in the near future.

POPIA guidelines for info officers

Following the commencement of the substantive provisions of the Protection of Personal Information Act 4 of 2013 (POPIA), the Information Regulator has now published draft Guidelines on the Registration of Information Officers (draft Guidelines) for public comment. For private bodies, the information officer is automatically the head of the body – such as the chief executive officer – who must take up their duties after being registered with the Information Regulator. The procedure for the registration of an information officer is set out in the draft Guidelines, which stipulate that the procedure must be completed on or before 31 March 2021, advises Avani Singh, ALT Advisory and Regulatory Affairs Council: IAB South Africa, on the POPIA Draft Guidelines on the Registration of Information Officers published by the Information Regulator.

The duties of an information officer are set out in section 55(1) of POPIA, and encourage compliance with the conditions for the lawful processing of personal information; to deal with requests made in terms of POPIA; to work with the Information Regulator in relation to investigations; and to otherwise ensure compliance with the provisions of POPIA. Additionally, the information officer is responsible for ensuring the following:

  • That a compliance framework is developed, implemented, monitored and maintained.
  • That a personal information impact assessment is done to ensure that adequate measures and standards exist in order to comply with the conditions for the lawful processing of personal information.
  • That a manual is developed, monitored, maintained and made available in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act 2 of 2000 (PAIA).
  • That internal measures are developed together with adequate systems to process requests for information or access thereto.
  • That internal awareness sessions are conducted regarding the provisions of POPIA, regulations made in terms of POPIA, codes of conduct, or information obtained from the Information Regulator.

The draft guidelines further recommend that a body must ensure that an information officer and deputy information officer(s) receive appropriate training and keep abreast of the relevant developments in POPIA and PAIA. The deadline for submissions on the draft Guidelines is 16h00 on 16 August 2020, and can be emailed to

Radical brand change on the cards

People demand radical change that makes a meaningful difference to the world around them and this is key for businesses to understand and act on, Havas consumer research has found. In the first quarter of 2020, Havas partnered with Market Probe International to survey 12,521 people ages 18+ in 28 markets on people’s attitudes towards change, particularly radical change. The survey sample was made up of 21% leading-edge Prosumers and 79% mainstream consumers. (Prosumers are today’s leading influencers and market drivers.)

The emergence of COVID-19 met a world that was already battling social justice and ecological catastrophes, with consumers calling for radical change. In different ways, and for a number of reasons, consumers were anxious about the future and as the world wrestles with COVID-19, these anxieties have become more pronounced, demanding urgent action. This is according to the Havas’ Global Prosumer Study, ReACT, done at the beginning of the year across 28 diverse markets.

“As the world manages the current tipping point on various social issues, much of the insights we uncovered in ReACT speak to the state of mind of people and predict further shifts in the consumer landscape. COVID-19 and the economic lockdowns along with the global Black Lives Matter protests have highlighted and exacerbated anxieties on the state of injustice in the world. People are not only demanding change, but radical change that makes a meaningful difference to the world around them, and this is key for businesses to really understand and act on,” said Lynn Madeley, CEO of Havas Southern Africa. There are strong expectations from consumers for brands and businesses to do more, and move from a passive state to one of drastic action to effect real change:

  • Consumers demand radical change: Most people—including three in four Prosumers—believe solving the big issues we face will require radical action. A third of the study’s youngest respondents (aged 18-34) think this requires a complete reorganisation of government and society.
  • Catastrophic predictions discourage people from acting: People need a reason to believe that their efforts matter and that a better future is within grasp. More than three-quarters of respondents engage more with brands that promote a strong vision of the future. Even more people—82%—think consumers would be more motivated to act if they were shown the beauty of all we risk losing rather than reports focused on the bleak reality of eco-destruction.
  • Consumers don’t trust brands: Around 60% of Prosumers don’t trust brands’ sustainability commitments and believe they are only an effort to improve their corporate image. Most people believe that companies are on the wrong side of the battle against climate change, using their economic might to persuade governments not to make meaningful advances on sustainability and reduced consumption.
  • More expectations for big brands to lead change: The majority of respondents expect businesses to play a key role in change and believe that larger companies are better equipped to bring about fundamental transformation. Prosumers are convinced that size matters and 71% think it is the larger companies that will be most effective in creating a better world.
This week in numbers:


A strong majority of consumers globally – 76% – agree that brands should adapt their messages and promotions to the current pandemic realityRetailing Africa received an exclusive preview of the latest Salesforce State of Marketing global report on changed consumer behaviour under lockdown. The recent State of Marketing report reveals how marketers’ pre-pandemic priorities and investments laid the foundation for the empathetic, digital-first engagement our current environment demands. Yet ongoing crises mean standards of engagement are shifting constantly. Asking customers directly about which tactics, channels, and messages resonate as they adapt to change— along with the values they expect brands to demonstrate — provides valuable insight to marketers.

QUOTE of the week:

“As giants fall, will malls begin to shutter? The built environment is a story of the past – in a present changing at bewildering pace. Malls, like office blocks, precincts, towns and cities, must pivot to meet new needs and challenges. They require new financial models, new insights, a different risk assessment and place vision. Before the ‘to let’ signs become overwhelming. Today, it is survival of the most adaptable,” said Mike Freedman, the founder of Freedthinkers, writing for


*Stocktake is a weekly roundup of current FMCG retailing and brand news, curated and edited by Retailing Africa Publisher & Editor, Louise Burgers. Keep the industry updated and send your announcements and news to:


Louise Burgers (previously Marsland) is the Publisher and Editor and Co-Founder of She has spent over 20 years writing about the FMCG retailing, marketing, media and advertising industry in South Africa and on the African continent. She has specialised in local and Africa consumer trends and is a passionate Afro-optimist who believes it is Africa’s time to rise again and that the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) will be a global gamechanger in the next decade.

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