Tips For Protecting Brands

As brand risks become more prevalent, brand safety becomes a bigger concern for today’s marketers. 

There has been an emergence of brand safety concerns in recent years which has marketing professionals and advertisers perplexed and searching for answers. On the one hand, digital media advertising is on the rise. On the other hand, there is a legitimate concern for challenges posed by ads that appear alongside material that may be considered offensive to some. While the focus on content placement is a legitimate concern for brands, it is not the only consideration marketers face. 

Top leaders in the world of marketing/advertising, compliance, procurement, and association management are shocked to learn of unsuspected risks to their brand reputation from branded merchandise sourcing. When exhibiting at a tradeshow, launching a product, or advocating cause-related marketing, promotional products are part of the mix. Whether your organization is a large brand, a for-profit, or a nonprofit, learn what you should expect from your branded merchandise vendors, and why the brand protection conversation needs to become part of the marketing, procurement, and risk management strategy.

When viewed holistically, brand safety is about much more than content placement. It encompasses every aspect of a brand’s image. In reality, brand reputation is exposed anywhere a company logo, name, tagline and so forth are located. Whether or not the results of exposure are positive or negative is dependent upon the awareness of risks associated with each medium and the actions taken to mitigate the associated risk. Focusing on digital media alone is not advisable.

Brand Safety Risks

Some ways your brand is exposed to risk through indirect sources.   

  • Sharing your logo
  • Publishing an article
  • Pushing content
  • Using marketing agencies
  • Using promotional products 
  • Sponsoring an event
  • Promoting via social media
  • More...

Tips For Mitigating Risks Associated With Promotional Products

Adopting a brand safety mindset is the first step to protecting your brand reputation. A brand safety mindset begins with corporate culture, encompasses the brand's purpose and requires stewardship of the brand's most valuable asset - its reputation. 

The issues is not the products. It is the manner in which they are sourced. Learn more on our industry structure page.  

There are well-intentioned suppliers in the promotional products/branded merchandise industry and any company may choose to implement manufacturing compliance policies and procedures. However, when self-regulated, the policies and procedures often do not fully encompass all of the necessary pillars of compliance and are rarely verified by an independent, third-party. Some things you can do to protect and grow your brand include:

  • Demand greater transparency from your branded merchandise vendors. They should be stewards of your brand.
  • Review your company’s code of conduct and values statement and align your company’s values with your promotional materials and vendors.
  • Update your compliance, marketing and procurement policies to include accredited sources of supply for your branded merchandise.
  • Know the difference between self-regulated compliance programs and third-party audited compliance programs. 
  • Insist that your promotional products vendors have documented policies and procedures for brand safety and responsible sourcing.
  • Seek to partner with promotional products vendors that align with your values.

Your Brand Is Your Organization's Most Valuable Asset