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Driving 'AAH' for brands
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Tuesday, 13 October 2009 07:00 (IST)
Shailesh Nigam, vice-president, Solutions Digitas
Shailesh Nigam is the vice-president at Solutions Digitas where he heads the strategy function. An advertising and marketing professional, he has to his credit various successful campaigns for various brands. He has been with Solutions Digitas for the last 11 years, where he has worked in various functions – client relationship, creative, retail & trade marketing and now in strategy, working on brands like HP, ICICI Bank, Nerolac, Pfizer, Pepsi and Sony Ericsson. He has extensive experience in conceptualizing and implementation of various B2B & B2C sales and marketing programs. Nigam is a management graduate from the Birla Institute of Management Technology, and has 17 years of experience. Prior to Solutions Digitas, he has worked with organizations like JWT & 2020 Media, on brand building for a diverse portfolio of clients.


According to a recent study on out-of-home (OOH) Digital Video Display Study conducted in the US in August 2009, at one or more of 17 types of public venues, digital video screens in retail locations – including grocery stores, large retail stores, department stores, drug stores, shopping malls & convenience stores – reach more than 123 million (53%) American adults in an average month. When one adds other public venues, this figure jumps to 155 million (67%) American adults, who had noticed at least one OOH video display.

OOH provides a unique opportunity to not only reach audiences outside their homes in a creative and intriguing manner, but also helps in capturing and keeping their attention better than all other advertising mediums. So it’s no big surprise that this new emerging media is gaining popularity and is increasingly being used by brands to influence shoppers at the point of sale, where at least 40% of brand-switch decisions are made.

India is relatively new to this medium, and while some giant strides are being made by various brands, largely the medium, the locations and the brands per se are experimenting at the moment with the vast opportunity OOH digital video display has thrown up. As OOH companies consolidate themselves, metrics to measure audiences are becoming stronger. Much more information is available to marketers about select audiences they can reach in a particular location. So, if you’re a brand interested in reaching out to youth, audience metrics show that coffee shops, cinemas, food courts are the best OOH locations for you.

This dynamic medium presents a great potential to advertisers to deliver better targeted, entertaining, less annoying & far more effective brand messages, at a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising. But with so many diverse opportunities available, how do companies decide what’s best for them, and how to use this medium most effectively.

Here are five mantras to success:

Make your content contextual

The power of OOH advertising is that it offers a huge opportunity to reach audiences in places where you can catch their attention and get them interested in listening to you. However, you have to make your message as interesting and as contextual as you can, to be able to make a connect with your audience. Otherwise, you’ll just end up serving an advertising message that one sees but does not relate to.

Try to match your brand’s attributes to the locations frequented by your audience, and you’ve got a winner on your hands. Consider the surroundings (a gym, a bookstore, a pub) and the mind-frame of the clients (thinking about staying healthy, seeking information, socializing with friends) and tailor your messages accordingly.

A distinct advantage of digital OOH advertising is the ability to deliver a highly customized message. Just imagine how quickly a quick service restaurant can change from advertising ice cream shakes on warm days, to hot soup in case of sudden rains and temperature drops!

Making it contextual can help marketers gain attentive, engaged audience, and in turn, greater profits.
 
Great creatives can be your biggest selling point

Shoppertainment – the word says it all. Destination shopping is fast becoming a way to unwind, relax & have fun. And OOH advertising offers a rich, vibrant and cost-effective medium for delivering your message in an entertaining manner. With simple typography, complementing compelling video & animation, this medium can capture audience attention like never before.

A boring TV-kind of advertising message, in such locations, can be a huge turn off. And too much information, as on a website, can make your audience run away faster than you can say Jack Robinson. The OOH message has to excite, inform, entertain, cajole, all at once. Unless you have great creatives, you might as well shut shop.

Interaction wins hearts, and customers

Communication is a two-way process, and unlike a television ad, OOH can help start conversations between the consumers and the brands quickly, at times resulting in instantaneous purchases.

Exploiting the characteristics of the OOH medium to influence your audience, and being able to quickly close the loop with an interactive call to action, can mean the difference between a ‘great message’ and an ‘effective message’. Today, you can display a message on a digital screen, encourage your audience to participate in a contest/poll by sending an SMS, and instantly serve a coupon or send an offer which the consumer can immediately utilize at the very same location, without the botheration of leaving his home to locate a store.

This unique combination of entertainment & relevance, along with contextual relevance & interactivity, is a very powerful means for stopping consumers in their tracks.

Omnipresence can earn devotees

With OOH, reaching consumers in places where they go everyday is now possible, and marketers can create multiple, meaningful moments. This can help brands deliver contextually relevant messages to specific locations & according to specific behavior patterns. When consumers come across these messages at various locations during the course of their day, the impact can be incredible.

Brands can appear to be ‘omnipresent’ to their target audience. And being everywhere is easy, because messages can be selectively directed to venues that truly matter to the audience – in places and at times where they are more likely to be receptive to a message. And, if your message is strong, affinity can lead to attraction, with minimal investment.

Focus on Retail can win the sale

Retail is the most crucial location to reach out to your customers, for it is here that the final moment of truth emerges and a customer chooses one brand over the other, very often changing his original choice. Retail is also one of the fastest growing sectors in the digital signage space. Brands & Stores are increasing utilizing this space to enhance customer experience and influence customer behavior, and positive results are already being noticed.

You can serve unobtrusive, focused messaging – even to the extent of detailed brand features, presented in a nice interactive manner – to educate & influence your audience. This is particularly easy & effective when your audience is in an area where they have time to absorb the brand messaging, such as bookstores, malls, etc. Without a doubt, if you’re considering digital signage, retail is the place to be. If you’re not thinking about it as yet, you’re going to miss the bus.

The OOH digital media offers a plethora of opportunities, and is fast emerging as one of the most popular mediums to attract, influence & interact with audiences. The hardware rates, which were one of the biggest challenges to penetration & adoption till now, are coming down drastically. The industry is at the cusp of the big leap. Be sure you’re prepared to make an impact, and make your customers “AAH!!!” with joy.

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