Understanding Brand Safety

Understanding Brand Safety

Misplaced advertising is an issue that every company has had to deal with on the ever growing online media field. There are different ways to approach this since it is a task that must be performed with an enlightened sense of analysis which only human mind is capable of possessing. This is what makes this the most sensible topic for advertisers. This often leads to difficulties and several “rookie mistakes” when a person is new to this task. I’m going to use this blog entry to write about the things I used to be confused within the marketing industry. It’s something I think I must do to help others not making the same mistakes I did at some point in my life.

The core of Brand Safety is to understand what a brand is. We tend to think that the brand is the name, logo or even the slogan of a product or company. Well, that’s what I used to think too. Drew Boyd defines the Brand as the promise of the company or product. Personally I love this definition, I think it describes the real meaning. The name, the logo and the slogan are linked to the brand, but they are not the brand themselves, the brand is the promise behind these elements, the brand is what the customer thinks. Let’s see a couple of big brand examples:

  • Coca Cola – when I think of Coca Cola I think of emotional moments. It’s funny how I think about this instead of just a delicious sparkling syrup that tickles in my throat when I drink it. But that’s the magic of the brand, we attach the product to the brand not the brand to the product.
  • Apple – The technology famous brand promises us to be innovative and make it easier for users. It’s easy to identify Apple’s products.
  • Harvard University – When I hear about Harvard, I think about history, excellence, business oriented, top schools in America.

In marketing, when we talk about brand safety is not just monitoring the image of the brand, the logo or anything in particular, is to be actively monitoring the brand’s promise in every element attached to it and in all the channels your brand is shown.

One of the hardest challenges for the new era of brand safety is online advertising. The new buying and distribution models have shifted away from human capacity to programmatic ads positioning. If we add to the almost impossible algorithms the increase of traffic fraud, it becomes a nightmare to any advertiser. The risk of misplacement Ads, bots pushing fraudulent impressions, and the decrease of brand equity is just way too high.

In a nutshell, Brand Safety if more important these days than ever before. It is so easy to tweak the brand promise, since it would be virtually impossible to monitor all possible channels, that we need tools and processes to ensure that any ad won’t appear in a context that would damage the brand, and this tools and practices are called: Brand Safety.

This is just the beginning of a series of tips, hints and pieces of advice that I will be posting about mastering the art of brand safety. I hope they will be of great use to all the people out there in the same place I was when I first started this journey.