Once again, the topic of “brand safety” will be front and center at the upcoming Internet Advertising Bureau Annual Leadership Meeting, but it will take on new meaning in light of IAB research into what it calls the Direct Brand Economy.

Other industry semantics need to be updated as well, IAB President & CEO Randall Rothenberg says in this interview with Beet.TV. The Annual Leadership Meeting takes place Feb. 11-13 at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa, Palm Desert, CA.

“The time has come to get rid of this notion of sell-side and buy-side. It is deficient and it actually harms everybody because it makes it seem as if brands and their partner organizations are in kind of commander service relationships,” says Rothenberg.

IAB research shows that in the Direct Brand Economy, buyers and sellers come together in “vital integrated supply chain relationships that the brands cannot live without and nor obviously can publishers and others live without.” Thus buy-side, sell-side linguistics constitutes “awful language and ought to be banished for all time.”

The same research casts new light on the notion of “brand safety” in digital advertising environments, according to Rothenberg. Among other things, the research proves it has nothing to do with that “soft thing” called brand reputation but everything to do with unfettered access to first-party data.

Data fuels every function of the brand enterprise, from new-product development to figuring out what to charge individual customers. It’s all done increasingly in real time with decisions made on feedback loops.

“Companies need continuous access to first-party data, which means that it requires the complete trust of its consumer base. No trust equals no data equals no company,” Rothenberg says.

Therefore, brand safety isn’t optional. “It is essential to the future of a brand.”

The IAB has been a major proponent of the need for greater transparency on digital advertising platforms. Rothenberg says 2017 was probably the best year ever in terms of the progress that has been achieved. He points to comments by Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer at Procter & Gamble, in an interview with Digiday in which Pritchard says the drive for a more transparent digital ecosystem is “80 percent complete.”

This video is part of a series covering the IAB Annual Leadership Meeting. The series is sponsored by AppNexus. Please visit this page for more coverage.