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Brand Safety 101: What It Means & Why It Matters

Nathan Johnson - July 1, 2020 - 0 comments

Brand safety is becoming a common discussion among digital marketing leaders. With an ever-changing landscape for both client and public engagement, comes additional risks to budget, customer experience, and performance. What is brand safety, and why should it matter to you? Today, we’ll shed some light on what you need to know and discuss some of the best practices for managing your brand’s safety ongoing.

What Is Brand Safety?

The term refers to the overall projection and perception of your brand. What may be considered unsafe to your business may not be risky for another. So, you need to define what benchmarks define safety in your vertical. For example, sharing stories about alcohol doesn’t make sense if your target market is expectant mothers. Identify who your audience is and create a playbook of what would be considered unsafe to that audience. Depending on your industry, it may be best to define politics or religion as unsafe territory clearly. On the other hand, political or religious affiliates may be your ideal markets. The goal is to identify before you launch campaigns, so you know you can make a conscious effort to avoid putting your brand safety at risk.

Playing It Safe at the Expense of Reach

Remember, while it’s important to define and monitor your campaign efforts in terms of how they protect your brand, it’s not the only marketing aspect that matters. You want to watch your messages, your digital platforms, and your reviews, but don’t engage in paralysis by analysis. If you avoid certain strategies because you’re worried there may be a negative impact; you are impacting your overall reach of an audience in general. For example, maybe you’re concerned with video usage and potential risk of misalignment on digital video platforms. Knowing videos are a primary reach mechanism for your marketing; you don’t want to forgo using them altogether. Instead, be deliberate about your risk management efforts. You want to find the right combination of efforts and safety to be the most successful.

Brand Safety Management Tools

There are a host of tools available to you in your quest for brand safety. You can engage restrictions on how the public interacts with your business social media, for example. You can also review campaigns before launch with keyword objection tools, to avoid negative association across digital platforms. Some companies make generous use of whitelists, blacklists, and image recognition tools to manage their brand safety. Depending on your company size and objectives, you may be able to tap into some of these to augment your efforts.

What the Experts Predict

There are some brilliant reading sources out there, offering valuable insights from CEOs and marketing leaders about their projections for brand safety measurement in the coming years. Some expert opinions include the lack of control at the corporate level. Despite their best efforts to manage brand safety, the influx of emerging digital influencers and platforms means it’s almost impossible to avoid some risk. Others suggest there may be an increasing number of third-party monitoring companies to partner as vendors for management of the brand safety initiatives.

Your best strategy may be first to assess your current brand safety efforts. Where are you launching campaigns, and how are you engaging your audience? Remember, this includes every digital interface from social media, reviews, and general listings. Identify how and where your brand is being currently defined. You can then outline your guidelines for guarding against the unsafe, maybe implement a few tools to help protect your brand, and create a strategy for future campaigns. For more ideas on best practices for brand safety strategies, contact us!

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