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Digital Brand-Safety – Not a Luxury for Luxury-Brands

Brand safety is essential for any brand. However, due to the nature of luxury brands and their surroundings, brand safety is especially important in the luxury vertical. This blogpost will show you what brand safety is and how to implement this in your digital day-to-day work routine.

What is Brand Safety?

The Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) defines Brand-Safety as “the controls that companies in the digital advertising supply chain employ to protect brands against negative impacts to the brand’s consumer reputation associated with specific types of content, criminal activity, and/or related loss of return on investment” (ROI).

Brand Safety and the Luxury Industry

Why is brand safety so important for luxury brands? Luxury brands have a certain reputation to protect, on- and offline, with regards to quality and exclusivity. Should luxury brand advertisement appear on a website that promotes controversial content and opinions or has a look and feel that has poor quality (garish colors, poor structure, outdated, etc.), then this can damage the brand’s reputation. Additionally, ads or content that are placed in unfitting environments (such as an advertisement for luxury handbags on a webpage seeking donations for famine impoverished countries) can negatively impact a brand’s reputation and stoke controversy. Scenarios like these should be avoided for brands to retain their good reputation.
We have put together six general tips and additional suggestions for specific online marketing channels on how you can protect your luxury brand in today’s digital world.

6 General Tips for Your Digital Brand Safety

  • Create your own custom white and blacklists for pages, whole websites, and apps that are suitable for your brand, or that need to be excluded from all of your advertising and marketing activities.
  • Make sure that your own page, and all the pages where your advertising is shown, have clearly defined, legally sound data protection guidelines (in accordance with GDPR, or the Swiss data protection laws).
  • Stay proactive – regularly check all pages where your ads are shown for brand-suitability.
  • Work with reliable brand ambassadors. Scandals spread in the blink of an eye in the digital realm and can cause enormous damage to a brand’s reputation.
  • Keep an eye on the close coordination between on- and offline activities and content: Users like to spend time on a plethora of online channels, and they also change from digital offerings to visits to brick-and-mortar stores. Making sure your content and offers correspond on- and offline helps consumers distinguish between your activities, and untrustworthy, fraudulent offerings and activities.
  • Actively use all of the brand relevant online marketing channels you can influence yourself, such as paid search advertising in the relevant search engines, Google my Business entries for all of your stores, SEO activities to boost your ranking, paid and organic social media activities, etc.

Remember that these channels can be misused for your brand by other parties if you don’t use them for your own brand. This should be prevented.


Golden rectangular earrings, a flask of perfume, and black high heeled shoes

Ways to Secure Brand Safety in Your Digital Marketing Channels

Search Engine Advertising (SEA)

  • Trademark your brand in Google Ads, and only whitelist Google Ads accounts that are either your own or that have been verified as accounts of listed resellers of your brand. Only these Google Ads account will then be able to use your brand name in their Google Ads ad copy.
  • Regularly check if paid ads are being shown that use your trademarked brand but are not whitelisted. Report these to Google accordingly.
  • Make sure you occupy the first paid ad position in the Search Engine Result Page (SERP) for your brand and your branded products. If possible, don’t enter into bidding wars with competitors. Try to draw up gentleman’s agreements. Otherwise, the only winner is Google ($).
  • Regularly check the SERP regarding coverage of your brand and your branded products.
  • Regarding video advertising, preferably use YouTube Premium and YouTube Select as the content has higher quality, and you will address users who are willing to pay for this quality upgrade.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

  • In the organic search results, try to capture the first position for your brand keywords and your branded products.
  • Create a Google My Business account and list all of your brick-and-mortar stores (but not your resellers). Always make sure that your entries are as up to date as possible.
  • Create your own, original, and unique content to differentiate yourself from your competitors.
  • Create your own Wikipedia entry (or start to own the existing entry) and regularly make sure the content is up to date and correct.
  • Make sure your resellers use the correct names for your products on their website, and that all product information is correct and fully accessible.

Social Media

  • Build up a strong social media presence. Must-have channels are Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube channel, and WeChat. Nice-to-have channels are TikTok, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Community, Yuku, Weibo. (Coordinate with your target markets.)
  • Regularly post creative, high-quality, and useful content.
  • Coordinate your content with the channel in question. For example, publish new job openings on LinkedIn, and brand collaborations or your new collections on Instagram, Snapchat, and/or WeChat.
  • Ensure that your community manager reacts promptly to inputs, questions, and special requirements and that these are taken seriously.

E-Mail Marketing

  • By far the safest digital channel is email marketing. Here, everything from the beginning to end can be controlled by your brand: content, surroundings, recipients, the correctness of the information provided, etc.

Your first steps towards digital Brand Safety

How should you approach this topic to make sure that your luxury brand is safe?

  • Set up your own brand safety concept and have a designated Chief Brand Safety Officer (CBSO), who is responsible for the implementation and continuation of your concept.
  • Make sure your digital activities are overseen and optimized in a proactive, regular, and structured fashion.

This remains the best recipe for a comprehensive brand safety strategy that generates the desired effects. Our experts would be happy to help you define and implement your digital marketing strategy in order to guarantee the ongoing success of your brand safety concept.


Picture Credit: Photo by LEISARA and Gabrielle Henderson on Unsplash

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