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64% brand custodians in country are unaware of what brand safety really means: MMA MFilterIT India Brand Safety Report 2021

MMA India hosted a webinar on ‘Demystifying Brand Safety-Its Importance in Today's Evolving Ecosystem’, which brought together senior industry experts from marketing and advertising industry to understand the definition of Brand Safety

64% of brand custodians in the country are unaware of what brand safety really means and the implications it can have on the business of a brand, as per MMA MFilterIT India Brand Safety Report 2021. 

MMA India, a part of MMA Global, which is a global not-for-profit marketing trade body, hosted a webinar on ‘Demystifying Brand Safety-Its Importance in Today's Evolving Ecosystem’, which brought together senior industry experts from the marketing and advertising industry to understand the definition of Brand Safety and its role in today’s evolving ecosystem.

The webinar was organised to create awareness on brand safety and brand suitability and its implications on brands that don’t include it in the marketing strategy. The objective of the webinar was to explore how brand safety and brand suitability can impact business outcomes, and what we can do to build a better marketing and advertising industry moving forward.

Moderated by Moneka Khurana, Country Head and Board Member, MMA India, a panel with marketing leaders of some of the most iconic brands like PepsiCo, Dabur, Vodafone Idea Limited, Double Verify and GSK were a part of the panel.

The panelists were Om Jha, Associate Director - Media, PepsiCo; Kapil Ohri, Head, Digital Marketing, Dabur; and Govindaraj Avasarala, Head - Enterprise Marketing, Vodafone Idea Limited; Nachiket Deole- Head of Sales, India, DoubleVerify; and Shalini Kumar-Area Media Lead - Indian Sub-Continent, GSK Consumer Healthcare.

The panelists talked about what brand safety and brand suitability means to them and their importance in today’s ecosystem of brands, publishers, media, marketers, and agencies. They also shed light on the current challenges faced by marketers in different industries, why brand safety and suitability are interlinked and how incorporating a robust brand safety and brand suitability framework can be key to the success of a brand’s business.

The industry experts also elaborated on the best practices, resources, and tools that marketers need to be equipped with, to ensure that they are protected from content that may damage their reputation and methods to drive effective media outcome. Hence, there is a serious need to advocate the necessity of making brand safety and suitability a very integral part of the marketing plan by creating awareness of the impact it can have on the image of a brand.

Khurana said, “Digital content is growing by leaps and bounds, and brands see a huge opportunity in terms of contextual targeting, placements with the ability to target relevant cohorts. However, while growth in digital content consumption is high, it is also putting the reputation of brands at risk. Hence, brands need to be extremely sure that the environments in which their content is placed are safe and appropriate. Hence Brand Safety and Brand Suitability play a very important role.’’

Khurana also laid emphasis on the need of cultivating internal governance for Brand Safety as it ensures that concerned stakeholders are on top of the issue and not derail from it irrespective of the KPIs, urgency of pressures, and targets.

Om Jha, Associate Director - Media, PepsiCo, commented, “The way to look at brand safety is making sure that everyone in the value chain understands its’s importance. Leveraging technology is another key factor, which is paramount to achieve this. Just like human beings, brands also live, die, and grow. Therefore, brand safety is a critical factor in deciding the success or failure of a brand.”

The other speakers also put forth their vision on brand safety.

Shalini Kumar, Area Media Lead, Indian Sub-Continent, GSK Consumer Healthcare, shared a very interesting insight on the subject. She said, “The best way to look at brand safety and suitability is to divide your focus into three principles. We need to ensure that geography is taken into consideration. The audience matters because India is a diverse country with regional languages having a direct impact on sales and marketing techniques. Then comes the ad environment and transparency”.

Nachiketh Deole, Head of Sales, India, DoubleVerify, said, "Brand safety is the fundamental right of marketers. In an age when ad fraud and piracy are key metrics towards a brand’s success, marketers need access to tools and techniques to analyse brand safety purposefully. No marketer wants to pay for non-viewable or fraudulent impressions, so it is important to have metrics in place to gauge it.’’

He also said organisations like MMA, tech players, brands and publishers need to come together to share the guide and best practices for marketers to make a real difference.

Govindaraj Avasarala, Head – Enterprise Marketing, Vodafone Idea, said, “Brand safety is ‘One for all and All for One’. It is important to not confuse brand safety and brand identity for emerging brands. It is important for them to ensure that brand safety and suitability are key policies in their mission, just as it is important for established ones. All members in the ecosystem must work towards brand reputation as a key objective.”

Kapil Ohri, Head, Digital Marketing, Dabur, said “Brand safety and suitability is synonymous with driving a car. Just like seatbelts and stability controls ensure safety while driving, the right tools and technologies need to be leveraged to ensure brand safety. Brand safety means different things for different brands. Tools, safety, and metrics are all very important and need to evolve as we go ahead.”

The webinar concluded with panelists giving their advice on how brands today can enable a robust brand safety and brand suitability strategy for the success of the brand. 

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