Brand Safety: A Digital Component CMO’s Must Pay Attention To


The reputation of any brand is important, especially when that brand represents a particular message that targets a unique audience.

According to a recent study, CMO’s are focused on making sure that their brands are safe when it comes to ad placement. For instance, if your brand represents something positive, and it is placed next to any type of offensive content, it will look conflicting and alienate the desired audience.

This all begins with the digital marketing landscape, and CMO’s are struggling to keep up.

“The CMO Council’s report underscores how marketers are feeling a pinch behind-the-scenes as well, pointing to how many in the chief marketing role are still having a hard time grappling with the distinct challenges of the digital landscape.” MarketingDive reports.

The study revealed that 88% of consumers will take their customers elsewhere if negative brand association takes place.

So, in order to combat these challenges, it is beneficial to understand where exactly the challenges of brand safety begin.  It all starts with a resource called the digital marketing supply chain, that involves IT capabilities.

The Marketing Supply Chain

The marketing supply chain is made up of a few components such as people, process, and technology that work to develop, produce and distribute marketing materials. This chain collaborates and can work inside or outside your organization.

This chain can be anyone from suppliers, brand managers, creative services, agencies, buyers, printers, IT departments and much more.

In order to be effective, all parties must work together to stay connected and consistent with the brand message, targeted audience, and marketing strategies. When they don’t match, the brand will face problems. It is important for the marketing supply chain to be transparent.

“Studies show leading companies spend up to 35% of marketing budgets on Marketing Supply Chain operations. A well-designed supply chain offers reliability, flexibility, and speed to market, yet only 20% of Marketing Supply Chains are fully optimized.” Na reports.

Since organizations spend so much time and money on marketing supply chains, it is crucial that they perform accordingly depending on the brand message.

The Problem

CMO’s concerns are increasing as digital advertising grows. More times than not does a brand’s advertisement end up alongside content that can be offensive, like Youtube videos or popular Facebook content. The heart of the problem lies next to the risk that brands face while using digital components to advertise.

Although this is the root of the problem, the issues surrounding it are still apparent and only growing as society gets accustomed to seeing advertisements online. According to Forbes, the problem with brand safety has a lot to do with adjacency.

Marketers seem to be focusing on the content of digital advertisements, (which is important as well), instead of what they will end up adjacent to. This is where brand safety comes in. Marketers need to focus on adjacency when it comes to digital marketing, just as much as the content.

The adjacency of a brand must align with the desired message. Otherwise, it will fall short, and customers will be misguided.

“Marketers using digital marketing to its greatest possible effect must continue to take advantage of the ability to use precision targeting whenever possible and to embrace the possibilities of programmatic buying. Audience, of course, matters immensely.” Forbes reports.

The Solution

In order for brands to manage brand safety, it is important to think about your audience and the adjacency of the ad. Where will it end up? What platform are you using?

Once deciding the platform, doing some investigation can go a long way, to see where your ad could end up. If it could end up next to something completely outlandish and conflicting to your message, it would be wise to take the proper steps to make sure your brand stays away from that content.

Using the marketing supply chain to assure this happens is the next step.

Knowing your risk and mandating the situation will help protect your brand. You don’t want to end up at the wrong end of a scandal that you are not involved in. Think wisely!


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