Welcome to BRANDED

There’s something wrong with digital marketing — and we're going to find out what it is

Hi, we’re Claire and Nandini.

Your lovely hosts

We’re starting this newsletter to discuss how we see the digital marketing landscape and how to fix its problems. There are some problems.

First, brands are having a hard time with their reputations. Thanks to people like Nandini (hi) and everyone over at Sleeping Giants, brands are being held accountable for where they spend their ad dollars. When Sleeping Giants told Kellogg's, Uber, Nordstrom, and others that their marketing budgets were funding Breitbart.com, some brands responded well. Others ended up flustered and hurt by the subsequent fallout of not having clear brand guidelines for their marketing teams. All of those poorly executed responses could have been avoided.

It started with ads

Second, the display ad industry has become an impossible web of middle men. Advertising exchanges don’t always buy ads directly from the sites where they end up. They buy them from other ad exchanges, which then buy more ads from yet other ad exchanges. Each party takes a cut. This has allowed ad fraud to run rampant, which means that our clicks and impression reports are no longer trustworthy. And, our marketing budgets are funding hate.

Wait, what?

Yeah… so once we figured this out, we got concerned. Ad fraud is funding a whole bunch of bad actors. Hate sites, disinformation sites, and worse. This is bad for our every day life communities, and it’s really bad for the brands.

And now we’re here

Third, it’s hard to handle complex social media escalations. When Mailchimp realized that Stefan Molyneux was using their platform for his newsletter, they knew what to do: their terms and conditions don’t allow for white supremacist content. But, when PayPal found out that the Klu Klux Klan was using their payment services, they spent a week figuring out how best to handle the situation. That week ended in an international news story about their decision.

So, we’re writing this newsletter to talk about brand management and how exactly to navigate digital marketing in 2020.

If you are curious about:

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See you soon!

Nandini and Claire

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