Report: Brands are positively or negatively affected by the platform on which they appear

When it comes to consumer trust in Australia, the platform is as important as the message

It seems what platform a marketers’ brand message appears on is just as important as the brand message itself. 

New research, commissioned by BBC StoryWorks, revealed 40 per cent of Australians believe a brand is positively or negatively affected by the platform on which it appears. In fact, the research suggests the success of a campaign could actually hinge on the platform.

The research  shows brands must place as much emphasis on where content appears and how it’s distributed, as they do on the quality of the content, and commentary provided to CMO from various players in the industry, followed suit. 

BBC StoryWorks, the branded content production arm for BBC Global News, found the potential positive effects of brand association and engagement are undeniable, with 45 per cent of Australians believing if they see a brand on a trusted platform then they will also trust the brand, while 35 per cent believe if it appears on a media brand they like then they will automatically feel the brand would be a good fit for them. 

Head of BBC StoryWorks APAC, Jelena Li, said it’s an interesting time of flux for the advertising industry in Australia. 

“We can see from recent events consumers are becoming more aware and distrustful of agenda-driven news organisations, and on top of this, the social media advertising space is becoming increasingly fraught with challenges and scandal,” she said. 

“It’s time for marketers to really think about how those environments impact their brand, beyond reach and engagement. What are the implicit associations and emotions audiences are walking away with, which may affect brand perception and campaign effectiveness? It’s imperative to work with expert publishers who can break down target audiences and understand what audiences want and how to reach them. 

“In selecting a media partner your target audience truly trusts, your brand is protected and in safe hands, and campaign effectiveness is maximised.”

Trust - easy to say, hard to get

NewsMediaWorks CEO, Peter Miller, said similar findings following studies undertaken by the industry association are unambiguous. 

“There is a powerful connection between trusted content and trust in ads surrounded by that content. Of equal importance, consumers indicate they are more likely to consider purchasing products that are advertised in trusted environments,” he said. 

Founder and CEO of Taboola, Adam Singolda, added there is a huge opportunity for advertisers to benefit from the 'editorial clout' of being placed next to an article written by a blogger or journalist, something that’s only possible with content sites on the open web. 

“The same editorial environment also creates a brand-safe environment for advertisers. It’s a sharp contrast to advertising in the walled gardens, where marketers risk being placed next to user-generated content, which could have no, or detrimental, editorial value," he told CMO

Expectations from the consumer have changed – and with that comes an added responsibility to make sure marketers are serving content personally relevant to a target audience, and not just about a brand or brand story. In fact, the BBC research showed 33 per cent of consumers believe the most important aspect of branded content is a connection to their personal wants and needs, and 47 per cent feel negatively towards a brand if it’s irrelevant. 

InMoment VP experience intelligence strategy, Simon Fraser, said he's increasingly seen brands restrict or step away from third-party social and online commerce platforms because the experience those platforms offer can conflict with the promise brands have committed to deliver. 

“Many of these platforms seem to have lost their way and become focused on money and advertising, instead of their original mission of providing authentic personal, and communal gathering spaces. Brands have recognised, regardless of whether they directly betray the customer trust or it happens because of an external platform, customers ultimately hold them responsible," Fraser said. 

Twilio country director, Richard Watson, a leading API platform provider, agreed, adding recent research by by vendor found seven in 10 consumers have taken action against businesses that don't communicate with them in the right way. 

“It is absolutely critical brands build strong, digital relationships with their customers. In today's world, this means meeting your customers where they are - on the right channel, with the right message, at the right time,”  he said.

Kantar executive director of media and digital, Mark Henning, said the firm regularly sees context can play a role in campaign effectiveness. 

“This is particularly relevant for specialised content sites, for example real estate, automotive or recipe sites, where consumers are often seeking information, so advertising content aligned to the current mindset can have more impact," he said. “This also applies to native content, as the consumer is engaged by their interest in the overall content. However, it is important in these cases brands have legitimate reason to appear within the content - force fitting your brand into content without a clear role can be negative.” 

Finally, co-founder and CMO of Lumen, Charly Lester, said she’s actually surprised the figure isn't higher. 

“As attitudes change towards certain platforms in the coming years, I can only see the figure growing. Media platforms are brands themselves, and we attach values to those brands. By extension, if you read about a brand in a particular publication, or see an advert on a specific website, you react not just to the advert, but also to where you see it," she said.

“At Lumen, our underpinning values are honesty, safety and fun, and we want to make sure those values are not only represented by our adverts, but also on the platforms we choose to showcase those ads.” 

BBC Global A/NZ regional director, Jamie Chambers, said: “At its simplest, if you produce personally relevant branded content for your target audience, select a media partner and distribution channel that your target audience trusts, you will see stronger engagement and in turn, a more effective campaign. The days of just focusing on reach or effective cost per view for campaigns no longer reflect the consumer reality.” 

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+: google.com/+CmoAu   

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