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‘OOH has adapted to changing consumer preferences’

By Bhawana Anand - September 10, 2018

Idea Cellular has continually maintained its brand presence on the OOH turf. More recently, the brand also opted for DOOH advertising, and with good results. Sunita Bangard, President -- Marketing, Idea Cellular, talks about the brand’s OOH strategies, faith in the medium and their overall OOH experience

As more people spend more time out of home, do you see a greater reason to drive OOH advertising for deepening your brand’s consumer connect?

A sound OOH strategy helps brands grow their business by reaching out to both present and potential customers. Secondly, majority of the audiences are positively disposed towards OOH advertising because it is consumed passively and is not seen as either invasive or interruptive.

Idea Cellular has always believed in driving all our campaigns through the optimum advertising media mix. Whether it is digital, broadcast or OOH, we have ensured that we create relevant campaigns with the right media to be able to reach out to our target audience.

OOH is seen clearly as a reminder medium that helps to build TOM awareness and saliency for the brand. Given the high decibel advertising in the telecom category, it is critical to have strong presence to create instant awareness and persuasion to try the brand.

OOH has always been an integral part of our media strategy and continues to be so. It has helped us drive reach, simple messaging and create public reference points that can amplify the effects of the overall advertising mix.

As a medium OOH enforces, the essence of the message is concise so that it is clearly understood. With the evolution of consumer preferences, we see OOH also evolving, as it moves from scale, reach and mass awareness to meaningful reach with relevant message and specific targeting. Well executed OOH campaigns can help any brand stay relevant by catering to the altering consumer preferences.

As OOH becomes multi-faceted with dynamic transit media and activations, and the like, is there scope for more compelling brand story telling in the outdoor?

As advertising has evolved on television and print and on digital and social media, technological advances have had a massive impact on all forms of advertising. However, for OOH advertising, the digital era has brought in a new set of tools that help companies offer more personalised products to customers.

OOH these days offers a great canvas for creativity, and the recent technological developments have increased the scope of this creativity more than ever. It works very effectively when paired with social media, and can be a point of contact within a community – all of which makes it ideal for reaching out to consumers.

Will expansion of DOOH give brands like yours greater reason to up the OOH spends?

With technological advances like increased mobile penetration, it has become easier for brands to interact with the consumer in a more engaging manner. Outdoor advertising is also one of the few sectors which have adapted well to the changes in technology as well as consumer preferences. Digital OOH advertising has created new digital tools that help brands target the correct audience and connect with consumers on a more personal level.

In our recently launched #LookLook4G campaign, we are focusing heavily on the digital medium. Digital OOH is one of the primary touch-points through which we are reaching out to our customers.

For example, in Hyderabad, Idea installed a massive seven feet tall Idea 4G Hotspot on a mobile van that is travelling across various locations in Hyderabad. The Idea 4G Hotspot is equipped with Wi-Fi for multiple consumers to hook on for seamless experience of Movies, Music, HD Videos with Idea 4G, across these locations. The installation represents the width and expanse of Idea 4G network across India, through a simple thought, ‘Idea 4G - India jitnabada network’. Customers can also visit the installation to get their mobile number ported to the Idea network or ensure re-verification of their documents submitted against their Idea connection.

Another example is a king-size billboard in Mumbai that was designed with a mobile cut-out with screen that ran the brand TVC. The ad showcased millions of Indians hooked on to their mobile - browsing rich content such as video download, music, gaming, live streaming, etc., on the go.

We have always ensured that our OOH creates a synergy between the TVCs and other media and is not seen in isolation, but as an extension of what our audiences see on other mediums.

One of the biggest challenges today with OOH media is measurability. The expansion of DOOH can hopefully address the same and give confidence to marketers like us to increase the share of OOH in the Media mix

Do you also see OOH as a strong medium to connect with consumers in non-metro cities?

Outdoor formats available in the non-metro cities may not be able to match-up to the formats in the metros, but the reach of the outdoor media in the smaller cities can hardly be overstated. OOH assets, be it hoardings or bus queue shelters, stand out on the landscapes of the smaller cities which is immensely beneficial to the brands that seek to establish a deeper consumer connect. However, while targeting people in non-metros is easier, engaging with them is challenging as compared to people in the metros. In non-metros, often, emotional connect is as important as being rational as compared to the metro cities.

OOH has always played a major role in Idea’s regional or circle campaign activations as it helps amplify the campaigns locally. In the recent #LookLook campaign, OOH as a medium is being used to build stature and establish the expanse of the Idea’s 4G network across the country which reflects in our creatives for each region. The billboards have been localised, both visually and through their content. For e.g.: In Kerala, the headline read: Kerala ka bada network, ab India ka bada network. In Rajasthan, the line read: India ka bada network, ab Rajasthan mein.

However, increasingly as we expand our OOH reach to smaller towns, availability of quality media and monitoring becomes an even bigger challenge. Industry stakeholders need to create more effective monitoring mechanisms to build confidence in use of this medium, especially in non-metro towns.

What would be the highlights of your brand’s recent OOH campaigns and what were the takeaways?

Idea 4G was launched in end 2015, and since then the endeavour has been to communicate various facets of 4G - announcing the launch, creating relevance among masses and establishing 4G network coverage; through various campaigns such as, #TheBiggestSmallChange, Reverse Migration and the latest #LookLook campaign. These were all hi-decibel 360 degree campaigns across TV, radio, OOH, and digital.

Along with our purpose-led advertising, we have also focused on product-driven campaigns, e.g.: Honey Bunny, My Idea app, Easy Share etc. The current campaign is another initiative to drive our product strategy.

For our ongoing #LookLook Campaign we have used OOH media for creating both reach and impact. We have adopted a high decibel burst strategy across more than 650 towns across the country and complemented the same with clutter breaking innovations in Metros.

What changes do you anticipate in the OOH space?

The OOH industry in the country remains highly fragmented, with the unorganised segment dominating the market. Though the focus on DOOH is on the rise, the growth in this sector is still muted. However, the industry is witnessing a change, with new age marketers acknowledging the immense possibilities that the medium has to offer, driven by identifiable data, usable tech and relevant content.

With available technology, media integration and access to specific audience segments like never before, OOH is no longer only a support medium. We will continue to see digital outdoor advertising going up in the near future as OOH players opt for more customised and innovative products for brands.

With the government’s focus on infrastructure development across the country, one can also foresee new and innovative branding opportunities arising in transit media and one is hopeful that there will be development of a common measurement tool and currency for the industry.

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