Contextual Ads Humanize Your Brand

A business without a brand identity is like a roll with no butter (and you know how we feel about pre-rolls). When building and growing your brand, it’s important to create an approachable brand identity.

Your brand is in literally everything you do — it’s the WHY behind your WHAT and as Mayur Gupta, Chief of Marketing and Strategy at Gannett/USAToday, recently stated on LinkedIn, no one single person or effort owns your brand, it’s collective. Your brand is your business’ soul. So why would you sacrifice your brand’s identity on antiquated advertising?

If you haven’t kept up with our series on brand safety, the three pillars of brand safety are contextual safety, technical safety, and brand identity. Today, we’re going to focus on how to keep your brand’s identity safe while expanding your brand awareness.

Humanizing Your Brand

With a majority of business happening virtually every day, it’s even more important in the digital age to build and maintain a brand identity that feels like an experience — almost an adventure, that the user wants to take part in. But you don’t have to climb the Mount Everest equivalent of marketing efforts to make your brand relatable.

You have to ensure that you establish what your brand identity is first. Is your brand conversational? Is it all business? Into pop-culture? Take Denny’s for example. Their brand identity is delightfully bizarre, slightly tacky, and somehow, terribly aligned for all of the reasons you end up going to Denny’s in the first place (no one plans to go to Denny’s, you just end up there). They showcase it terrifically on their Twitter.

But, what about all the rest of us? We can’t all be Denny’s with brand recognition at our fingertips and the possibility for a 6-word tweet to go viral.

Brian Sois, a global innovation evangelist at Salesforce stated, “there’s a human being on the other side of the screen, and… human beings don’t respond well to marketing messages. Human beings want genuine engagement.”

So, how do brands take their intended brand identity and implement it in a way that helps them to gain brand recognition? They need to align their advertising with the user’s expectations for the experience. This means crafting LinkedIn posts that are valuable or creating social media campaigns that beg for interaction. This means, instead of just being WHERE our target market is, we should be there for the same WHY that they are.

Growing Brand Awareness Safely

Humans are inherently emotional creatures. Steffen Svartberg, CEO of Cavai, said “90% of the 30,000 decisions made by users monthly are emotional…people buy based on emotion and justify with logic which means that emotional, contextual, and conversational commerce is the future for advertising.”

It’s already proven that display and video advertising (brand advertising) works to build brand awareness. However, to make better connections with our target audience, it’s not enough to just throw an advertising budget in the general direction of your pixeled, target audience. You can serve retargeting ads, and pre-roll ads all day, but if a user doesn’t connect to WHY they should buy your product or align with your brand, they’re not going to spend money with you or convert.

That’s why contextual, in-the-moment experiences are winning out over the old demographic or action-based targeting. Let’s say Home Depot’s Marketing Manager is using traditional digital marketing and a user is shopping for picnic tables — specifically wood ones. They’ve looked on a few websites at picnic tables for sale. Then, they read a bit about how to make one themselves and decide they’re ready to tackle the process. They decide to watch a video tutorial on how to build a specific table that they want for their backyard. Because you’re utilizing in-market audiences and targeting, the user is served annoying, pre-roll, AND mid-roll ads for Home Depot picnic table, when they actually need lumber and maybe a specific saw.

However, Lowe’s is advertising contextually. When the tutorial talks about types of wood that would be best for building a picnic table, a Lowe’s ad appears in the margin for wood planks. Then when the table is built and a stain is applied, an unobstructive ad pulls up at the bottom showing the stain from the video. Then, the tutorial ends with a view of the picnic table, styled beautifully in a landscaped backyard, so an advertisement for Lowe’s greenhouse pops up. Even though the user saw the Home Depot picnic table and knows that Home Depot has wood and flowers, they’re probably more likely to go for the ad that showed them what they really need and maybe, they’ll even swing by the greenhouse to pick up some items to make their new picnic table pop.

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What was the difference between these two experiences? The user may feel alienated because he/she is no longer in search of a picnic table to purchase. The ad from Home Depot would have felt impersonal and pushed them away from the brand, while the Loews ad was a part of their learning and entertainment experience.

Implementing Contextual Advertising

In order to grow brand awareness and identity, your advertising may need a makeover to avoid situations like this. You can grow your brand awareness via video advertising without sacrificing your brand or appearing where you shouldn’t. Through CatapultX, you can be ensured that when running video advertising, your ad will not just pop up someplace that is “nice”, but when the video is currently discussing your brand, industry or associated terms.

Founded in 2019, CatapultX is an AI-based platform at the forefront of innovative video marketing. Serving contextually relevant video ads that don’t interfere with consumer experience, CatapultX brings a profitable, engaging and enjoyable experience to publishers, advertisers and audiences. If you are interested in expanding the profitability of your content or building a more robust advertising portfolio, reach out to us at or set up a meeting with someone from our sales team.