Safeguarding Brand Reputation In The Wake Of COVID-19 With The U7

We held our first-ever virtual U7 event this week. For those of you who may not be familiar with the U7, in a nutshell, it’s our brand, publisher and agency-powered council, set up to create a dialogue with the ad industry so they can play an active role in shaping the future of digital marketing for the better.

It was launched back in 2018, with founding members including global brands Diageo, Samsung, American Express, Unilever, L’Oréal, GSK and WSJ. The council has since grown from its seven founders to 23 core members, which include experts from Bank of America, Nestle, Universal McCann, GroupM, Zenith, Mars and IPG.

We host regular sessions with members designed to engage the advertising community in discussions around emerging trends and the health of the industry as part of Unruly’s mission to lead the charge in cleaning up digital marketing.

This week’s session focused on safeguarding brand reputation in the wake of COVID-19.

It began with an interview between advertising guru Rob Norman and Matt Murray, Editor-in-Chief of The Wall Street Journal. The conversation was focussed on the impact of the global pandemic from the perspective of a premium news publisher, and how the coverage of COVID-19 will evolve post-lockdown.

This was followed by a panel moderated by the World Federation of Advertiser’s Global Alliance for Responsible Media lead Rob Rakowitz, which looked at what advertisers can do to support premium publishers and safeguard advertising revenues in the wake of COVID-19.

The panellists included Jerry Daykin, EMEA Media Director, GSK Consumer Healthcare, Josh Stinchcomb, Global CRO, WSJ, Lou Paskalis, Senior Vice President Customer Engagement and Media Investment, Bank of America, Lisa Utzschneider, Chief Executive Officer, Integral Ad Science, and Jess King-Moore, Director, Global Digital Trust, Unruly.

The event was a great success and it was great to hear such enthusiasm from the council for supporting independent journalism and premium news environments. We live in such an increasingly complex and fragmented world, where context is more important than ever. It explains why news subscriptions and content consumption have gone up so dramatically over the past few months.

Also, the safety measures we’ve put in place to protect brands have become the very thing that has prohibited them from reaching their consumers at this crucial time as the sites they are found on are now voraciously blocked. Jess King-Moore who heads up Unruly’s in-house brand safety team drove this discussion and she laid out what advertisers and publishers need to do in order to navigate news environments which are currently dominated by COVID-19 stories.

At Unruly we work with both sides of the advertising ecosystem and often hear about the issues that affect both the supply and demands sides. The U7 allows us to bring the world’s leading advertisers and publishers together to discuss these issues together and work on possible solutions.

Bringing people together to talk is the only way we can help understand the struggles and barriers we all face during this uncertain time.

If you’d like to find out more about the U7 please reach out to me at [email protected].