If someone knows anything at all about marketing and building a brand, it’s probably that brand safety is crucial in building a reasonable brand image. But what does it mean? By brand safety, marketers mean how the context in which the advertisement of the product appears influences the brand perception. Especially it applies to avoiding the context that is unacceptable and fundamentally bad. The second aspect is advertising products in the context that will enforce the message sent by the brand and will positively influence the brand image.

AdAge service has recently published an interview regarding this topic with three experts in the advertising world: John Montgomery, EVP of global brand safety at GroupM; Marshall Williams, the CEO of Ad Results Media; and Mainardo de Nardis, the former CEO of OMD Worldwide and current board member and advisor at Ad Results Media.

In the beginning, Kurt Kaufer asked his interlocutors about the importance of brand safety and current concerns of the marketplace. 

John Montgomery said: “Brand safety is different now than what the industry dealt with in the past—it’s more complex and nuanced. […] now advertisers are genuinely concerned about supporting a toxic environment rife with hate speech, disinformation and divisive content.” 

Marshall Williams added: “The barriers to entry in most channels are low, and that has allowed people to be heard that didn’t have a voice before.”

Mainardo de Nardis: “[…] And as a result, trust in all information sources is at record low because information hygiene is very poor.

Krauter also picked up the unpredictability of podcasters, radio DJs and talk radio hosts topic. He wondered, what are the solutions that can make it more acceptable to risk-averse clients.

Mainardo de Nardis replied: “Podcast advertising currently provides highly effective brand safety measures for pre-produced ad content. Brands and agencies control the content and have the right to decide in which context to appear. Some platforms provide more control than others, but this right is unchallenged and lots of work goes into perfecting this process. Programmatic is harder and that’s where the industry needs to invest in safety solutions similar to the world of video.”

Asked about top predictions for the future of brand safety in the next 12 months, guests answered as follows:

Montgomery: “We will start talking more about brand suitability and less about brand safety, and we will focus our attention on restoring trust in information by addressing existential threats like disinformation and hate speech.”

de Nardis: “After years of optimizing audience creation, optimizing content and context will be the priority over the next few years. Brand safety data and measurement will continue to enable the growth of audio and solidify it as a key platform for all brands.

Williams: “Audio is emotional. You can hear when someone is mad, happy, sad, energized, laughing, disappointed, etc. It’s a very emotionally transparent medium and that’s part of the reason it works so well for advertisers. But the audio space needs a solution for visibility, a tool that allows advertisers to understand what they are getting into before they spend their ad dollars. I predict we will have one in six months.”

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