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Differentiator is the key

By M4G Bureau - February 05, 2014

Sanjay Tripathy, Senior Executive, Vice President, Marketing, Product, and Direct Channels, HDFC Life tells Outdoor Asia how the OOH medium plays an important role for a brand in the financial segment.


Impact of economy on marketing and advertising budgets

Our marketing budget is determined by the company's business plans and  expectations from marketing function. At the beginning of each financial year, we devise our marketing strategy and plan and allocate budget towards the year long initiatives.

External factors such as economic scenario, regulatory guidelines etc.,  have an impact on the consumer behavior and may lead to a change in the  marketing plans. But it does not necessarily have an impact on the  marketing and advertising budgets. In line with the changing consumer behavior, we may change the media mix with the earmarked budget, but the overall strategy remains the same.

Role of OOH in the overall marketing plans

OOH is an integral part of our overall 360 degree marketing approach. Our media choice depends on the overall communication strategy for the brand, campaign, target audience, and the communication messages.  We do not follow a fixed formula. As mentioned earlier, based on the consumer behaviour and marketing strategy, we decide on the media mix, and OOH is always a part of our 360 degree approach.

The oldest mode of advertising / brand promotion is in fact outdoor advertising. Various brands across the world have widely adopted it. Outdoor advertising provides readily accessible brand message for audiences who move out of home. And in urban setup we are spending a lot of time out of our home.  One of the benefits outdoor advertising provides is larger-than-life impact on onlookers. A larger-than-life impact on customers means rich and effective impact to which the brand promotion is targeted. It's high on impact and reach.

One of the examples is our'Model of Happiness,' a unique experiential campaign conducted across 6 malls and 12 corporate parks in Delhi, Pune, Bangalore, and Mumbai during Sept-October 2012. This month long campaign aimed at encouraging urban Indian woman to be financially independent presented a platform for women to narrate the happiest moments in their life in a public forum. Approximately 12ft x 12 ft video booths titled'Model of Happiness' were installed inside malls and corporate parks. The booth represented a mini film set with iconic movie elements in place like a'Director' chair and lights, trussing to attract even those women who haven't yet seen the sample videos. Each urban woman, who has been a'Model of Happiness' in her family, got an opportunity to create her own personal video film about her story in these booths. These videos were uploaded on digital properties including Facebook page. Each woman was also encouraged to share the same on her personal Facebook page and Twitter handle so that she becomes a lobbyist of her own videos and stories to inspire others.

We hand-picked the best videos and they were played on OOH screens, cinemas across the country as a larger appeal to the'Models of Happiness' platform to help percolate the inspiring actions of these women to million others.  We collected more than 1500 videos and 2500 stories from Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai and Pune.  We touched more than 1 million working urban women, which helped in amplifying the message to a larger audience.

OOH is a brilliant way to connect with consumers where they live, work and play.  This media when used with creativity creates an impact where none has done before. Unlike other media, outdoor cannot be turned off, turn the page (or miss the page!), close the browser window or fast-forward. Outdoor is possibly the last place where consumers do not control the ad space.  This gives advertisers unprecedented control over how and where an ad is seen, especially as people spend longer periods of time commuting and out from their homes. We keep learning from our each campaign and adopt those in our future campaigns.

Measurement (of impact)

Outdoor as an industry is still highly unorganized and there is no concrete way to measure the response. Most of the good OOH agencies have devised individual mechanisms to measure success of the campaign. But due to lack of a standard measurement system, campaign's reach is relative. To  create a successful campaign, we consider multi disciplinary approach and finally it comes down to a mix of using the available data well, understanding the consumer behaviour and personal experience over the years. The agency we work with helps us create specified measurement matrix as per the campaigns requirement. Standard measurement tools may be missing, but we see a lot of individual efforts being put in this direction.

Role of and expectations from specialist agencies

Outdoor media companies must be able to differentiate their product from other media and from each other. In this competitive environment, new outdoor media technologies are constantly in development, with both the large outdoor media conglomerates and also smaller niche media companies seeking to gain a competitive edge in audience engagement.  Among the latest developments, Google currently has a patent pending for digital billboards that can be updated in real time based. In London, a company has developed a digital transit advertising system for buses with GPS-enabled screens that can be updated as they move through different locations.

Message to media owners

The key requirement is for concrete and standardized measuring tools to justify spending in terms of ROI. Also, there is a need of introduction of better technology and innovation to break the cluttered presence.
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