Brand Security: Lessons Learned From Digital Speed And Reach

Digital media's speed and reach have made marketers scramble to send a greater number of messages to an ever broader world - often with a mere push of the send button. It’s miraculous that major initiatives can go out with a click - that is, until you release a mistake.

In the digital world, marketing mistakes have huge reach and impact. We call them security hazards - much like having millions of customer records stolen from a single notebook computer or like a politician’s private email that goes viral.


We should know. In a recent digital campaign, we accidentally included a link that led users to the wrong website. It created confusion for users and frustration for our client. For us it was a stern reminder that the speed and exponential reach of digital marketing require a new kind of vigilance. With social media marketing, email marketing and viral content, it doesn’t take long for a mistake to make a quantum leap in visibility.

Brand Security

These kinds of incidents remind us that the digital environment is a new climate for brands. There is a critical need to balance the proliferation of brand messages with caution, quality assurance and awareness. In essence, it’s brand security.

Brand security is not just about proofing for accuracy and factual information. Brand security is ensuring digital functionality and paying close attention to the brand image, voice and relevance. It’s triple checking to confirm that you’re saying the right thing, portraying the right image and providing the right experience.

New Practices

The question of what to do is a massive one. Yes, it requires new levels of quality control and systematic steps followed by all. But it also requires an audience relationship mentality, continual senior attention and training for everyone with a finger on the button. The quick response a company makes to someone’s Facebook post can affect brand security as much as a hacker’s theft of 100,000 emails.

With Great Responsibility Comes Great Power

There is a silver lining in this anxiety. Just as security is compromised, there is a chance for a deeper relationship at an equally rapid pace by listening to customer experience. The dialogue around a customer complaint (another classic brand security issue) is a chance for a genuine, one-on-one dialogue, to elevate brand reputation and to build trust. Social listening has led to huge advances in customer service. With acknowledged issues comes opportunity for interaction. And interaction shows the customer that he or she matters.

Brand Security Partners

It’s unlikely that digital agencies will position themselves as brand security specialists (although we suppose it could happen if one of the partners is a lawyer). However, companies now need something more from their agencies. They used to turn to agencies for brand planning, creative ideas and digital execution. Now they require even more business critical expertise than reputation management: they will demand partners who can ensure brand security.