Brand Suitability: Why Does it Matter?

When we think of advertising, we think of delivering a product or service directly to a consumer with the desired outcome being the consumer takes action by purchasing said product or service.  While marketing and advertising at the very core is this simple, there is much more thought, research, data collection, and targeting that goes into delivering advertisements to the consumer.  A company must ensure that the advertisements for their products and services not only reach their targeted audience but also that the content their advertisements are delivered with is aligned with certain parameters which they have determined work best for their brand.  This is called brand suitability. Brand suitability is the set of parameters and content a company thinks best aligns with their core values and message.  


Brand Suitability:  How it Works

Brand suitability is largely determined by the company itself.  By collecting information on their target audience, paying close attention to laws, trends, geographical vernacular and nuance, a brand can properly align itself with online content that the consumer will associate with the brand in a positive way.  If a brand, for example, aligns itself with content that a consumer does not agree with or finds offensive, the user will most likely associate that brand with that particular content, and as a result, develop a negative opinion of the brand itself. For instance, an automotive brand will most likely not wish to run an advertisement for their product on a webpage wherein the content features alcoholic beverage consumption, as research has shown that consumers associate alcoholic beverage consumption and automobiles as non-compatible.  Additionally, laws regulate the consumption of alcoholic beverages and operation of automobiles, so the content of a webpage featuring alcohol is inconsistent with the brand’s identity.


Brand Suitability:  Why Does it Matter?

So why is brand suitability so important?  Why does it matter if the content of a webpage aligns with the values of the company paying for ad space on that particular page?  Brand suitability matters because consumers associate web content with advertising. In other words, we as consumers associate the advertisements we see on particular webpages with the content we are accessing on those pages.  If the content of those pages is inconsistent with the core values of the brand producing the ad, the ad has created an association for the user that is negative for the brand. More than just missing a targeted consumer or engaging them and prompting them to use the product or service being marketed, the consumer now associates the brand with something incongruent to the brand itself.  


How Can You Achieve Brand Suitability?

Thankfully, marketing companies have ramped up their efforts to protect their clients’ brand suitability.  It is every brand’s own responsibility to protect their image, and many companies now rely on marketing companies skilled in this area to help them do this properly.  Using a marketing company can assist a brand with developing brand suitability guidelines, which can determine the content that is appropriately inclusionary and exclusionary. A brand should consider consumer preferences, and appropriate local and state laws that could shape how an ad is received in a particular setting.  Also of importance are cultural variances which can determine whether an ad is appropriate in a particular region.


Brand suitability matters to companies that are serious about delivering their products and services to their target audience in a setting that perfectly aligns with their brand’s core values and principles.  If a brand fails to consider whether the content is suitable for their advertisements, they could not only miss their target audience but also create a negative association for their products and services which is retained by the consumer long after they have viewed the advertisement.  Achieving brand suitability is crucial to ensuring a brand is received as the company intends it to be.

Brett Sartorial

Brett is a business journalist with a focus on corporate strategy and leadership. With over 15 years of experience covering the corporate world, Brett has a reputation for being a knowledgeable, analytical and insightful journalist. He has a deep understanding of the business strategies and leadership principles that drive the world's most successful companies, and is able to explain them in a clear and compelling way. Throughout his career, Brett has interviewed some of the most influential business leaders and has covered major business events such as the World Economic Forum and the Davos. He is also a regular contributor to leading business publications and has won several awards for his work.