All marketers know how the saying goes: your brand is not what you say it is. It is what they say it is. In other words, it’s the consumers, the way they perceive and talk about your company, that decide what your brand is.
Knowing this, it might seem like an impossible task to secure the company brand, especially nowadays, when information travels like wildfire on social media. Luckily, that’s not the case.
Here is how your marketing team can achieve brand safety:
Brand safety is not equal to complete control
Let’s first establish what brand safety is, because it is not the same as gaining control over your brand.
Brand safety in regards to programmatic advertising is about ensuring that your ads don't appear in a way or in a context that damages the brand, for example on sites that are seen as damaging. Overall, it can be anything from hate sites and sites with adult content to sites that are excluded based on your specific brand criteria.
Brand safety is furthermore about ensuring that your ads look appealing to the consumers across channels and formats. It’s about putting your best foot forward so that the viewers perceive your brand as professional and safe to deal with.
Will this give you complete control of your brand? No, because you will never be able to control what people say about you, but it will help you safeguard the brand.
You can go from success to global failure in a heartbeat
It doesn’t matter if you’re a big, established company, your brand will never be set in stone. Consumer perception can change in a heartbeat and, thanks to the internet and social media, a bad marketing campaign can influence people across countries, just like United Airlines and Pepsi experienced this spring.
Although common sense and compassion will take you a long way we, unfortunately, can’t eliminate all risk when working with advertising. Things may sometimes go wrong, and that’s why it is crucial for the brand that we as marketers can fix our mistakes as quickly as possible, that we can make changes in real time across channels.
Three steps to improving your company’s brand safety
In addition to acquiring the right tools for brand-safe programmatic buying and creating content that can be changed in real time, there are three steps you can follow that will help you safeguard your company’s brand:
1) Make sure the brand book is operational
The 200+ page brand book we used to create is ancient history. Make sure the brand book is operational and accessible and make changes throughout the year, so it's always relevant for your target audience.
2) Establish procedures for approval
Who has the final say before a campaign is launched? What if it’s late at night and you want to respond to a big social happening?
Establish procedures for approval, but remember that some things can’t be controlled, and you must, therefore, keep an open mind.
3) Define boundaries
Few elements in our brand book are set in stone. Logo placement, use of white space, design and message can benefit from creativity and experimenting. However, before you encourage your team to start breaking the rules, establish boundaries and make sure everyone is aware of them.
Do you want to learn more about how your brand can benefit from using creative content? Check out the e-book we made: