Native advertising has become one of the most popular forms of advertising in recent years and shows no signs of losing popularity with advertisers and audiences. Publishers and producers in print, digital and broadcast have invested time and money to develop their capabilities in the creation of native advertising for their clients. By doing so, they have garnered ad dollars and market share and have fostered strong consultative roles with their clients.
As publishers and producers expand their involvement in advertising creation and cement their role of fostering client’s brands, they expand their role in the development of brand reputation as well. However, clients are making a very serious mistake if they are not soliciting expert public relations advice on native advertising.
The development and protection of a client’s brand is critical and is very much a part of the professional responsibilities of public relations experts. Clients must enlist the full services of public relations experts in the development and usage of this form of advertising. Public relations professionals are well trained to carefully examine all factors that impact reputation development including advertising. In short, they are essential contributors to this special and sometimes misunderstood marketing effort.
The creation of quality native advertising is an important first step in the process but monitoring the impact, the reaction, the social buzz and the effectiveness of this form of advertising is also vital. Public relations professionals will not only examine the quality of this marketing tool and the adherence to the FTC guidelines, they will evaluate the overall impact on the perception of the brand.
Many clients have recognized that the public relations experts they engage to protect brand reputation offer crucial guidance as they employ this form of advertising. As they put all their professional resources to work, these clients arm themselves with a distinct marketing advantage. They secure the best results from this form of advertising that saves time and money and avoids making brand damaging mistakes.
Public Relations experts should constantly step up to offer their clients guidance as native advertising gains more popularity. By doing so, they are able to impact the quality of the marketing effort and they just may save themselves from the assignment of repairing reputation damage they did not create.
Janet Robinson is the former CEO of The New York Times Company; Chairwoman of the Presidential Board of Trustees of Salve Regina University and a trustee of the Carnegie Corporation of New York.