Do not assume you are exempt just because you haven’t had this happen to you yet.
Consumers have become increasingly savvy in detecting familiar businesses next to offensive content online. Some people may even make it a hobby to look for such cases… and then to criticise brands when they find them.
Thus, brand safety is currently receiving a great deal of attention in marketing departments and agencies around the world.
The concept of “Brand Safety”
“Brand safety” refers to the precautions taken to ensure that advertisements for products or services do not link to objectionable material.
Here Are Five Ways to Ensure the Security of Your Brand
Let’s get one thing out of the way first: you can’t keep your brand safe from every possible threat.
There are situations in which you will have little to no say in how the general public perceives your brand. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t put safeguards in place to minimise the likelihood of problems and swiftly recover from any that do arise.
Establish Some Rules
If you haven’t started selling your product or service under your brand name yet, that’s fantastic! Even if you’re currently airing advertising, you may take measures to ensure your brand’s continued viability by establishing some ground rules.
Start by making a short list of the content you have found to be most relevant (pretty standard for most campaign planning). This is the background data that will help you make strategic decisions about where to put ads, how to interact with audiences, and where to make an impact with your content.
Then, turn the question around: where are some of your most sacred off-limits areas? Think about the communities you don’t want your brand associated with and the environment in which it exists.
Do you wish to disassociate yourself from any particular online communities? Worried about making a bad situation worse by giving terrible news? These are things to think about before releasing ads in an effort to mitigate any potential harm to your company’s reputation.
Thinking About the Ad’s Context and Target Audience
Your advertising and marketing copy has to be spot on; you can’t afford to say anything that could be misunderstood as disrespectful or insensitive. However, the medium through which your message is communicated poses a growing threat to your brand if you aren’t attentive.
Promoting a fast food chain, for instance. Video game fans are a highly related demographic with a lot of potential as new clients, therefore you may want to consider placing ads or engaging audiences around this topic.
However, you need to consider the demographics of the audiences you’re trying to reach; you probably don’t want your logo next to violent games or ones that cause a stir in the press.
Similarly, you definitely wouldn’t want your fast food restaurant to advertise to those who are trying to lose weight, on a diet, or (worse) have health concerns that are made worse by high-calorie items. Even if it’s “connected” to fast food, this is not the right place to get loyal customers.
Beware User-Generated Content and Key Opinion Leaders
We’ve talked about how valuable user-generated content can be for establishing rapport with your target demographic; for lesser-known, emerging brands, it may be an indispensable means of standing out from the competition.
But here’s the thing: when you give your audience (and the world at large) the reins, you give up some of the protection you’d otherwise have over your brand’s reputation.
For this reason, it is crucial to monitor your UGC closely during the entire process. Keep the focus of any requests for user-generated content on your brand narrow by being as clear as possible and leaving as little space for misuse as possible. It goes without saying that you should take preventative measures if you become aware of a negative actor’s efforts to damage your brand’s reputation.
Watch Your Mentions Like a Hawk
The term “social listening” is bandied about a lot these days, and for good cause. Sometimes you may not even be aware that people are talking about your brand online. This is either a huge untapped resource for expanding your brand’s reach, or a free for all where consumers may vent their frustrations about your business.
You can’t do much to stop negative comments here, but you can respond quickly to users and calm them down before they become a major problem.
When responding to online criticism, it’s best to do so from an official account and try to keep the exchange private if possible.
Get your PR team together if you see a trend developing so you can respond more cohesively before you let the story get away from you.
It’s important to keep in mind that people can still talk about you in a location even if you’re not actively taking part in it. For this reason, it’s important to keep a watch on review sites, emerging social media platforms, and even Facebook Groups, where conversations can take place invisibly but have a significant impact on local or relevant audiences.
Maintaining a Positive Brand Image on Social Media
However, you are more resilient
Let’s face it: social media is a fantastic resource for businesses. If you have a strong brand and a decent marketing plan, you can quickly and easily reach millions of people across several platforms, and you don’t even have to spend any money to accomplish it. You can get started quickly and have a good shot at success.
However, if you aren’t vigilant, a committed fraudster or would-be brand sinker can easily undermine all your hard work.