I’ve written in the past about the need for conducting a public relations campaign for your database. You can read that here.

One of the reasons a PR campaign is so critical is the anchoring effect. The anchoring effect is a pyschology term that essentially says that we “anchor” on one piece of information to make decisions. Or to put it another way, we tend to generalize from a specific, based on the “anchor” we’ve got.

In the database world, this means that once we discover some data is bad (e.g., an email address for one of our members is incorrect), then that means all the data in the database is bad.

Anyone who has had responsibility for data integrity in their organization’s database knows exactly what I mean.  It usually goes something like this: A list of members is pulled. Some of the information on the list is incorrect. Fixes are made, but when the next list is pulled, other errors are discovered. Very quickly, the entire staff is talking about how bad the data in the database is. This based on one or two events. The “anchor” has been dropped.

This is why PR campaigns are so critical. Trust degrades quickly and once that trust is gone it’s difficult to get back. PR campaigns can help make deposits in the trust bank that you’re sure to need to draw on later, especially if anchors have been dropped in the past.