If you think brand safety was a hot topic in 2018, get ready for a scorcher in 2019. The Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) published a white paper that outlines the four elements of brand safety as well as predictions, challenges and strategies for the year ahead.

“Defining Brand Safety: Execution Challenges” is the second in a series of joint white papers with the Brand Safety Institute, and explores the growing concern among marketers and explains what steps are being taken. TAG interviewed a “number” of marketers and agency buyers to gauge the current environment and how leaders are planning brand safety initiatives for the new year.

Investing in brand safety initiatives results in higher ROI for some marketers, TAG found and can lead to more transparent collaboration with agencies. TAG claims that its paper was the first to quantify brand safety investment, finding that large agency holding companies spend between $3-$7 million annually on fixed-cost brand safety expenses.

Two dozen companies helped TAG define what brand safety is. They concluded that brand safety “describes the controls that companies in the digital advertising supply chain employ to protect brands against negative impacts to the brand’s consumer reputation associated with specific types of content, criminal activity, and/or related loss of return on investment.”

Four areas received the highest responses in terms of what brand safety includes: association with criminal activity, content association and adjacency, brand partners, and data privacy and security. Content adjacency or content analysis was identified as the most difficult of the four major issues to execute, in part due to the lack of market guidance and tools available.

In addition to an agreed-upon definition, marketers and agency buyers shared how they are investing in a long-term strategy. Marketer education and organization were lacking, TAG found, and there is a gap between internal structures devoted to the task of brand safety.

“If marketers get this wrong, everyone loses,” Lou Paskalis, Bank of America’s SVP of enterprise customer engagement and investment executive said in the white paper. “Brand safety is a task which is never over because it’s dynamic and multifaceted. As such, you need to build an infrastructure that ensures that you’re able to respond immediately when something new happens.”

Alongside its white paper, TAG announced the foundation of its Brand Safety Institute (BSI) Editorial Board. The Board, which includes two dozen senior executives, which will help design the brand safety curriculum for BSI’s accreditation program for corporate executives.

Brand representatives joining the BSI Editorial Board include the 4A’s, IAB UK, IAB Tech Lab, ISBA, JICWEBS, and TAG as well as Adobe, Bank of America, Facebook, IPG Mediabrands, GroupM, Oracle Data Cloud and Pandora.