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‘Best time for brands to invest in the OOH medium’

By Bhawana Anand - June 08, 2020

Posterscope’s President APAC, Haresh Nayak shares his take on the unfolding opportunities for the brands and OOH industry in the Unlock Phase 1

After performing duty towards society with #DontgotoOutdoors campaign, Posterscope India, an OOH specialist agency is planning to focus on its business.

With the given ease in movement of people and business operations in Unlock Phase 1, the agency has launched an OOHcampaign #BillboardSpeaks. Recently, it has been rolled out in green zones of the country to motivate and inform the clients about returning to normalcy, rising traffic on roads again,making their presence felt and reviving the outdoor business.

While there is long way to have the pre-COVID19 figures back in the balance sheet of the agency, Haresh Nayak, President, Posterscope Asia Pacific, believes new steps are needed to manage the business loss and reaccelerate its growth.

Hence, the agency is studying global market trends, investing in employees and boosting the confidence of clients with data on traffic surge.

In a freewheeling telephonic conversation, he shares an overview of the impact of COVID19 pandemic on the OOH industry and way forward. Below are the edited excerpts:

What is your analysis of the damage caused to your business and OOH industry as whole? Do you see it as long-term impact?

Ideally, six months have been wiped off from the business- three months of lockdown and two monsoon months. This comes as a big financial loss for the industry. As per our calculation, Indian OOH industry is estimated at INR 5,000 crore. Out of which, there incurred a loss between INR 1,500 crore and INR 1,800 crore due to this epidemic.

Talking on the corporate side, the pandemic has affected shareholding patterns of companies and stock market, which is seen in red since quarter ended June started.

Also, we have expected the problems such as demotivation of employees, change in their habits and routine. However, we are positive.

I have also spoken to our China counterpart to understand the measures to handle COVID19 situation as the country has managed this and many more pandemics in past. So, there was no salary cut or layoff.

Instead, during lockdown period, we have invested our time to get prepared for post lockdown scenario. We have conducted training programs for employees’ skill development and motivation. There were about 25 to 30 sessions every day.

The situation is coming to normal in phased manner. How is this helping the OOH industry?

This is a crucial time for brands to invest in the OOH medium as people are excited to come out of their homes and spending considerable time outside without mobiles or any other distraction. This is the time when brands can create an early presence as consumers’ recall ability is relatively higher in this condition.

As you are a location expert agency, do you see a change in the patterns of movement of people in the OOH environment?

Talking from OOH and shopper marketing perspectives, audience will shift from crowded places like shopping malls to standalone stores, finding the latter much safer. Also, it will move towards online buying wherein growth of ecommerce sector can be seen. Together with this, banking and automobile industries will also get a boost as while commuting, to maintain social distance, people will invest more in purchasing a personal vehicle.

How do you see the change in the buying patterns of brands when advertising touchpoints are majorly seen changing?

Certainly, there will be a paradigm shift. And, there will be negotiations, emphasis on logic and science in buying with optimisation as we know that clients’ businesses are equally affected during this period. Eventually, I believe, such behaviourof clients will help the industry in developing analytics and to become more professional like digital industries.

What is your strategy to revive the business and bring back customer confidence?

In order to send a positive message to the clients and customers and attract brands, we have executed an OOH campaign in the green zones ‘We Missed You’, ‘Welcome Back’ and through other communication channels.

Traffic and the eyeballs, being the biggest concerns of brands with regard to OOH, our aim is to inform clients about their status. Therefore, we are also launching another digital campaign to showcase regaining traffic on roads post lockdown by clicking images of formats placed in green zone areas.

Along with this, we must help our clients with effective media planning and lucrative deals giving them a value for their money to build their trust.

We believe, these activities will help overall industry to revive, not just Posterscope as our campaigns will target mass.

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