Dr Heather Anson

5 QUESTIONS WITH DR HEATHER ANSON

We spoke with Anson Evaluate’s Director, Dr Heather Anson about the evolution of her business and the working process behind the company’s brand strategy.

What can you tell us about Anson Evaluate?

Anson Evaluate is a leading compliance and training firm, based in the UK and working on a global scale. We provide companies with everything from compliance advice and outsourced Data Protection Officer (DPO) services to assessments, training and publishing; everything a business needs to make sure they’re fully-equipped to comply with data protection regulations and other compliance obligations. We have a particular speciality in helping companies around emerging technologies.

How has the company grown?

When we launched, it was predominantly to help people better understand what they needed to do for things like data privacy and other regulatory compliance issues. At that time the prevailing law was the Data Protection Act 1998. When GDPR was introduced in 2018 we saw an increase in corporate awareness of their obligations around data protection and data privacy which led to a natural growth in our business. Unfortunately, the market for GDPR compliance spawned a vast number of individuals and companies praying on the business community, desperate for answers increasing the degree of misinformation in the industry. We, however, can be relied upon to provide businesses with credibility and quality, and help them get through all the noise.

We have also been able to serve our clients in broader areas, while still providing them with the tools they need to successfully navigate issues around compliance. We have consulted with MPs on topics ranging from data privacy, compliance and artificial intelligence, served on expert panels and even participated in a Commons debate about the fourth industrial revolution and compliance issues for small technology firms.

Anson Evaluate logo

What sort of tools do you provide to your clients?

Evaluations and assessments of companies is the first and most important tool in the tool box. It allows us and our client to understand what is needed and how we can best help them achieve success. The other tools that we utilise are training courses, one on one support and publications. These are some of the best ways to educate people, which is why we invest our time into creating customised and accessible training and publishing materials like our GDPR Manual. Resources on compliance are often impossible to read particularly when produced by legal professionals. To avoid this pitfall I have done a lot of research on how to make resource manuals more accessible so that it could actually be useful — everything from language down to fonts, spacing and paragraph lengths.

One of our category of clients in law firms. Lawyers spend most of their time reading treaties on our own area of law. Being a lawyer myself I know that I don’t want to have to read complicated explanations on topics I don’t practice. So we want to be able to create manuals that are readable by our law firm clients but also that we can hand over to individuals who aren’t a legal professional, and for them to be able to understand it and put it into practice.

What was it like working with HERRON + CO?

Before we met with the team at HERRON + CO, I was calling the company DLUK Evaluate. I thought it would be useful to have some kind of cross branding with the law firm I helped set up and run as a consultant with Peter Wright, called Digital Law UK. But it turns out that everyone — including Paul and his team — thought they were the same company. Paul recommended that we really distinguish the branding of the two companies from one another, to make it clear they were independent offerings. Part of that process was changing the name of the business to Anson Evaluate. My law firm in the US was called Anson Law so there was a precedent being carried through there. The word ‘evaluate’ came from the consulting side; the idea that we truly understand what’s needed as part of delivering our services, and the fact that we are always evaluating our own practices to meet our clients’ bespoke needs.

There was a lot of discussion of what I wanted people to feel when they first accessed the Anson Evaluate website. Something that the HERRON + CO team did really well was to truly understand what I wanted to portray as a brand; that we are equally professional and approachable. I think they did a great job of getting that message across; I’ve had several people comment on how professional and approachable the website feels. It’s not anything specific about it that I can put my finger on. I think that’s just the magic of what they can achieve as a brand agency.

What work do you do outside Anson Evaluate?

I’ve had the privilege of teaching law students from across Europe through the European Law Students Association (ELSA) summer and winter law schools. I’ve taught on topics ranging from data protection and data privacy in an online world to blockchain, cryptocurrency and smart contracts as well as foundational topics in contract law and mediation. This has allowed me to teach and visit cities across Europe including Trieste, Italy; Poznan, Poland; Prague, Czech Republic; and Lviv and Kharkiev, Ukraine.

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