Blog Post

Developing a Brand Reputation Strategy in 3 Simple Steps

03/09/2023 - Carley Wells

Whether through celebrity brand partnerships, false and harmful user-generated content, or inappropriate content in the media buying space, we live in an era when brand reputations can crumble or reach new heights overnight.


Because of this reality, advertisers must plan and implement best practices for brand safety to protect business reputations and partnerships as a whole.


What Is Brand Safety?


Brand safety is simply ensuring a brand’s reputation is kept safe when advertising online. In reality, brand safety involves implementing various tactics to avoid the risk of brand content appearing alongside unsafe, insensitive, harmful, or compromising content. The most obvious place for these risks to occur is in digital ad placement. However, ensuring brand safety means accounting for anything that could cause a negative association with a brand, including any negative press, unsuccessful brand collaborations, and legal action surrounding a brand.


While it might not seem like the mere association with negative content or controversy should impact a brand’s reputation, 80% of U.S. consumers claim they would stop or reduce their frequency of buying a product if its ad appeared next to harmful online content. With this in mind, brand safety and building a brand reputation strategy should be the top priority when creating digital campaigns.


Brands that prioritize brand safety can enjoy the following benefits:


Higher engagement: There is a higher chance that consumers will stay on a page and engage with ads when they are placed in a brand-safe, positive environment.


Positive first impressions: The goal of digital advertising is to draw in new consumers, and the content that surrounds an ad will inherently say a lot about what a brand stands for.


More loyal customers: Being able to leave a good first impression with brand-safe content pulls more consumers into the marketing funnel and ideally converts more consumers into customers.


How to Ensure Brand Safety


There are a variety of ways in which advertisers can develop an effective brand reputation strategy, and as with any advertising or marketing efforts, strategy comes before action. Thankfully, you can ensure brand safety by implementing the three following steps:


1. Create a brand reputation strategy.

Strategy is an integral part of any business decision, and brand reputation management is no exception. It is crucial that you first define what “brand safe” means for your unique brand while working to understand where your ads have the potential to be placed. Determining these factors will build the structure of a brand reputation strategy that will decrease the risk of ads appearing next to brand-unsafe content before a campaign launches.


Deterring a negative experience can look like keeping up-to-date on industry and business news, establishing a clear brand identity that is familiar to your target audience, or determining the types of content that are contextually relevant to your brand. Together, these initiatives help narrow down and define what would be considered risky or unsafe for your brand so you can make positive and safe advertising decisions.


The other element of a strong brand reputation strategy is having a PR resource that actively shares positive content related to your brand, including new business developments, executives speaking at industry conferences, employee awards, etc. You can then leverage this credibility to act quickly in the event that mistakes happen and controversy occurs.


2. Invest in premium ad buys.

With programmatic media buying, you can blocklist (or blacklist) certain websites from running ads — this is especially useful to ensure your advertisements stay off of potentially harmful sites. In contrast, you can also whitelist websites that you definitely want to run ads through.


However, even with those brand safety measures in place, there’s still a chance that something might slip through the cracks and appear next to brand-unsafe content. Mistakes can happen. Yet it’s imperative to note that even one or two bad placements can be detrimental to your brand’s reputation management.


Fortunately, purchasing premium ads through a private marketplace (PMP) takes the guesswork out of ad buys and eliminates potential risks. With premium ads, you know exactly what content your advertisements will appear next to. For example, if you choose to purchase within Expedia PMP, you can rest easy knowing your ad will be shown to consumers browsing for hotels, flights, or other travel-related needs. In this way, PMP premium ads ensure your ads are placed next to content that does not carry any risk to your brand’s image or reputation.


Premium ads come with the benefit of full transparency and brand-safe placement, but they also come at a higher price. By incorporating a mix of premium and open marketplace programmatic buys, you have a higher chance of upholding brand safety and maintaining a positive brand reputation.


3. Partner with a programmatic team that emphasizes brand safety.

While it’s beneficial to have insight into where to run ads, industry experts understand both media compliance and new technology to best place ads that enhance brand reputation. Programmatic partners, in particular, will have the expertise needed to help you craft brand-safe strategies and access exclusive, premium ad buys.


At Digilant, we’ve developed strategies that ensure brand safety for our clients — from advertising solutions and tactics to partnerships. Connect with our team and start building your brand reputation strategy today.

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