Jan'23·Jordi Capdevila·3 MIN
How CMOs can drive brand safety
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The ongoing spat between Twitter and global brands like Apple, Amazon, Nestle, Coca Cola and others has dominated headlines over the last few weeks. Some of the decisions by Elon Musk to unblock controversial public figures on the social media platform have not gone down well with big brands who are concerned with advertising their content on a forum that could potentially propagate unregulated content and extreme views.
Media Matters's non-profit organization released a report suggesting Twitter has lost half of its top 100 advertisers. Does this hint at how serious managers are about brand safety and to what lengths they could go to protect it?
CMOs today understand that when a brand does not do a thorough job, the negative impact is amplified due to social media and immediately hurts key company performance indicators like sales volumes and stock prices. Hence, ‘Brand safety’ is the number one priority for CMOs in the online world.
For the uninitiated, ‘Brand Safety’ is defined as the steps a brand takes to keep its reputation safe. This is particularly important in digital advertising, where ads can be easily placed on a wide range of websites and platforms.
By focusing on brand safety, CMOs can help ensure that their ads are placed in appropriate and effective locations. This can help protect the brand's reputation and ultimately drive business success.
In today's digital landscape, there are several challenges that CMOs face when it comes to monitoring and controlling how and where their brand is mentioned. These include –
- The speed and reach of online content – Controlling how a brand is perceived online is especially difficult. Today’s audiences are not particularly forgiving of brands that make mistakes with their messaging and positioning. The recent Balenciaga campaign is an example of how a brand’s campaign failed to understand the implications of its ads.
- Fake news and misinformation – The rise of fake news and misinformation on the web has made it difficult for CMOs to ensure that they aren’t inadvertently supporting or being associated with inaccurate content. Recently, Eli Lilly fell victim to fake Twitter handles that proclaimed it was giving away insulin for free.
- The growing digital advertising ecosystem – Today’s digital advertising ecosystem is fairly complex and continues to grow, making it tough for CMOs to have complete visibility into who is being roped in to manage the company’s advertisements or where those ads are being placed.
While this might seem rather grim, there are measures and technologies that CMOs can start looking at to make managing brands easier. These would include the following –
- Establishing clear guidelines for the brand - It is paramount to define what the brand stands for and what types of content align with its values. This also needs to be revisited from time to time to ensure that what the brand stands for is contemporary. Once defined, ensuring the same is communicated to marketing teams, creative teams, and the larger digital advertising ecosystem is crucial.
- Collaborating with reputable publishing and advertising platforms – CMOs must actively select the platforms and partners they work with. Ensuring that the larger ecosystem has more-than-adequate measures to address brand safety is essential. It’s also important and self-serving to work with these platforms to address issues and find solutions.
- Leveraging contextual advertising – CMOs are moving from depending on rudimentary control mechanisms like keyword lists and URL blocking to embracing ‘contextual advertising’ that not only meets brand safety but takes everything up a notch to cover ‘brand suitability’. Using contextual advertising, CMOs can help ensure that the brand's advertisements do not appear alongside inappropriate or offensive content. Additionally, contextual advertising can significantly more effectively target people interested in the brand's products or services.
- Prioritizing data privacy - While it was easier to track user activities when marketing teams were able to leverage cookies, as we move towards a ‘privacy first’ cookieless world, CMOs should take additional steps to ensure that their brand's marketing and advertising efforts comply with data privacy laws and regulations and that they handle consumer data in a responsible and transparent manner. Consumers who feel that a brand is irresponsible or not transparent with its data will tend to disassociate themselves from the brand.
- Enhance social listening and media monitoring - CMOs need to invest in technology to have a real-time pulse on how a brand is mentioned online and in the media. Analyzing customer sentiment, evaluating trends, scrutinizing ad placement and targeting, understanding potential risks, can help brands take relevant timely steps to improve brand safety.
We at Seedtag have been helping CMOs balance brand safety with the desire to push boundaries regarding creativity. By deploying the relevant tools and workflows in place, we ensure that CMOs can focus on creativity and maximize the returns on their advertising expenses while ensuring that critical aspects like ‘brand safety’ are taken care of.
Click here to learn more about Seedtag and speak to a contextual advertising expert.