Crises Lead to Increased Focus on Brand Safety

April 30, 2021

WorldMediaGroup Crises and Brand Safety Approaches Apr2021With an ongoing pandemic, the pervasiveness of fake news and an emphasis put on diversity and inclusion, advertisers, media owners and agencies are having a look at brand safety and the changes they have to make during this time. Here are some of the approaches they are using, per a report [pdf] from World Media Group.

Of the more than 300 respondents surveyed, close to two-thirds (63%) have changed their approach to brand safety due to the current crises — defined in the report as “the social impact of the pandemic and the increasing potential for fake news to how the world tackles it, plus the growing focus of media editorial on sensitive and important issues around diversity and inclusion.” Half say they are investing more in trusted media environments. A quarter are reassessing keyword blocking to ensure that they are still investing in sensitive but trusted media environments, while 15% say they have gone as far as investing more in keyword blocking technologies.

A full 84% of respondents think brands should align with societal issues and messaging. This is highlighted in other research that found that some consumers have stopped using a brand during the pandemic because they did not agree with its stand on societal events. And, in the case of the social justice movement, customers say they want brand messaging to educate the community about systemic racism.

The majority of respondents of this current survey believe that using the voice of experts (67%) and positioning brand storytelling within an authoritative journalistic environment (66%) add impact and effectiveness to brand storytelling around Environmental-Social-Governance (ESG) issues for international audiences. About 6 in 10 (57%) also feel that consistent communication across multiple channels is also effective and impactful.

Close to half of the advertisers (49%) and agencies/media owners/consultancies (48%) surveyed say that their or their clients’ advertising/communication budget will at least stay the same as it was in 2020. About one-fifth (18%) of advertisers expect the proportion of that budget allocated for content-led advertising to increase this year, while 30% of the other respondents expect the same.

Looking at the channels respondents plan to invest in in order to share or amplify their brand storytelling this year, advertisers look to be focusing on their brand’s own channel (87%), paid social media channels (83%) and trusted digital media channels (76%). Agencies will also be investing in trusted digital media channels (84%) and paid social (70%), while nearly all of the media owners surveyed (97%) plan to invest in trusted digital media channels.

On the other hand, a smaller percentage of all respondents plan to invest in trusted print media channels or trusted broadcast channels.

The full report can be found here.

About the Data: Findings are based on a Q1 2021 survey of 325 advertisers, media owners and agencies with international communication remits.

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