January 11, 2023

How to ensure your brand safety

By Jean de Salins
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Your company’s brand image is an extremely valuable asset which can take decades to build. Making sure that your brand is respected and credible is crucial to the ongoing success of your business.

Protecting your online reputation will help you to acquire and keep the trust of your clients. So, brand safety should be a top priority for any business owner. However, many business leaders still don't know exactly what brand safety is and why it's a crucial part of any marketing strategy. 

What is brand safety?

The online marketplace is growing at an ever-increasing rate. With the growth of e-commerce, consumers now have more power than ever before. User generated content (UGC) like comment sections, blogs and reviews can greatly impact whether or not a product or service is successful. In today’s world, companies need to ensure that their e-reputation is impeccable. And to achieve this, your company has to focus on its brand reputation strategy. 

People tend to leave and remember bad reviews rather than good ones. Fresh drama can rise at any time and without protection, these reviews can crush your reputation: and in some cases are impossible to recover from.

A simple brand safety definition is as follows: Brand safety describes any measures that are taken to ensure that a company’s reputation is not harmed because of its advertising online, or how it interacts with its customers. 

With that as the starting point, brand safety includes things like making sure your advertising does not appear on any pages that don't align with your desired image or are offensive to your target audience. Your social media pages also need to be free from abusive content or offensive behaviour. Brand safety also relates to how a company reacts to negative reviews or comments: in the spirit of free speech, respectful, healthy criticism should be allowed, but toxic, illegal and hateful content should not.

Some global brands have been affected by online PR crises they could not recover from. For example, chocolate spread giant Nutella faced reputational damage due to an online backlash against its use of palm oil.

The connection between brand safety and online reputation

Growing an online community and establishing your brand as a trusted entity requires careful management of your online presence. However, as your online community grows, the amount of UGC also increases. 

Generally, UGC is beneficial for growing a brand. For example, user-generated videos on TikTok or YouTube discussing a brand positively have been shown to gather many more views than corporate-produced videos. Unfortunately, there is also another side to UGC. Negative UGC can cause brand safety issues. Offensive content, comments or blog posts can reflect poorly on your brand and harm your brand reputation

Fraudulent claims, offensive messaging and video content, spam and abusive comments created by users can create a bad buzz around your brand and diminish the trust users have in your company. 

Some brand safety statistics

  • A Reuters article stated that 77% of consumers found viewing a brand’s advertising next to offensive content made them think less of the brand
  • 84% of consumers surveyed by IAB stated that brand advertising that appears on reputable sites, such as news providers, increases their trust in the brand
  • 75% of executives have been involved in an avoidable reputational crisis that damaged their brand
  • Social media advertising spends are predicted to reach more than $137 billion per year
  • On average, 75% of brands experience a significant brand safety incident every year

How to protect your brand?

Keeping your band safe from negative UGC or inappropriate ad placements requires developing a dedicated brand reputation strategy. Focusing on brand reputation management is the best way to avoid incidents that can have a negative impact. 

There are a few key principles in maintaining brand safety.     

  • Firstly, make sure that you have developed a clear idea of what your brand values are. Define exactly what your brand stands for and consider what types of sites and media you wish to be associated with. 
  • Next, take action to ensure brand safety. A good brand safety technique is to be absolutely sure of what your brand does not wish to stand for or be associated with. Avoid programmatic advertising deals and instead opt for direct deals. This will ensure that you know where your advertising is being placed, rather than letting an algorithm make decisions that could be incorrect.  
  • Thirdly, make sure you monitor all UGC associated with your brand closely. This is particularly important to ensure TikTok brand safetyFacebook brand safety and YouTube brand safety. By partnering with content moderation professionals and employing effective brand safety tools, you can more easily protect your brand from negative UGC

Bodyguard can help you maintain brand safety across all platforms and build more knowledge on the likes and dislikes of your core audience. Our artificial intelligence technology protects brands, businesses and people from toxic online content such as hate, spam, and fraud, which can seriously affect brand image.

As the only contextual and autonomous moderation solution, Bodyguard automatically identifies and blocks in 90% of toxic content in real time across your social networks including Twitter, Facebook, Twitch, YouTube, LinkedIn, TikTok, Instagram and other platforms.

In combination with human moderators or acting on its own, Bodyguard is highly effective in stopping negative UGC, eliminating toxic behaviour in comment threads, and alerting brands to instances of inappropriate programmatic advertising.

FAQs on brand safety

What is brand safety?

Brand safety refers to the action a company takes to protect its online reputation, ensure its brand remains trusted and guarantees it is not associated with entities or opinions that are in conflict with its values. 

Why is brand safety important?

Brand safety limits the damage that negative UGC or inappropriate programmatic advertising can do to your brand. Employing effective digital brand safety techniques can ensure that a company keeps its good reputation and remains competitive. 

How to limit brand safety risks

Limit inappropriate programmatic advertising by using blacklists and making direct deals with advertisers. Monitor UGC by using an effective, automated moderation tool such as Bodyguard.

Are you a luxury brand or retailer interested in moderation? Find out how Bodyguard is perfectly suited to the unique needs of your sector.

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