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‘OOH is pivotal to our brand communications’

By Bhawana Anand - January 27, 2020

Low-cost carrier IndiGo often goes big on OOH route to promote its new route launches. Willy Boulter, Chief Commercial Officer, IndiGo, shares his company’s OOH approach .

Willy Boulter , Chief Commercial Officer, IndiGoWhat role does OOH advertising play in your brand building efforts?

IndiGo operates on three fundamentals —Time, Courteous & Hassle-free service and Low-Prices. We have done a bit for Indian aviation in the last 13 years. The cost of air travel went down in India by 47% in the last 10 years and that is largely due to a brand like IndiGo, our competitors and the government in terms of building new infrastructure. At IndiGo, we like to be quite consistent with our jobs, including the marketing front, where we have principally focused on merely 3-4 media channels i.e. print and OOH. And we have started advertising on radio quite a bit.

OOH advertising has always been a part of the plan as we find this medium an effective way of communicating about our new destinations and new route launches. We generally take at least 10 to 12 sites depending upon the size of the city and make sure that people in that city are aware about the new routes. We find that OOH advertising is effective in Tier I and II markets.

What are your preferred OOH touchpoints?

Airports are obvious destinations to advertise for an airline brand, and we are talking to our captive audience there. At the same time we would like to target first-time flyers and people who haven’t found out about new connecting flights. Hence if we just confine ourselves to airports then we can’t catch those people. Therefore, we used a mix of touchpoints.

Metro station semi-naming branding is an opportunity which fitted into our approach in different ways. We took up the semi-naming of Gurugram’s Guru Dhronacharya station, which has become IndiGo station, primarily because our office is located there and to an extent it helps to boost our employees’ morale when they see IndiGo promotions on big sites and backlit sites. Then, Terminal 1 Station at the Indira Gandhi International Airport became available last year, which we found a good opportunity to reinforce our brand.

When it comes to sizes, we have to adopt sizes available in the respective cities as they vary from city to city. However, we are constantly looking for innovative ways of using OOH. In fact, we did a campaign at the Cyber Hub in Gurugram.

Could you share the budget allotted to OOH?

It varies from campaign to campaign and new destination launches. However, OOH figures in the top three mediums that we use and definitely gets a significant share of the budget. 

What has been your experience in Tier I & II cities with regard to media availability and quality?

We use a few agencies in whom we have confidence and they send us reports on the sites. We don’t face any particular challenge in those markets.

You have a standardised creative for OOH communications. How does this strategy help?

We are lucky to have an outstanding outdoor creative agency W&K (Wieden+Kennedy), which continues to be an independent agency outside the three big groups. They help us come up with catchy lines and arresting visuals which work well in an OOH environment. For marketing purpose, we use the images of different international destinations that we find are effective in an OOH environment.

For instance, our campaign launched this August around the 13th anniversary was quite creative, where we talked about how IndiGo helps people connect with their lives.

More recently, we have done a campaign for IndiGo Abroad, where we have pushed the concept of ‘your first time’ and the reason for it is that we are flying to certain places for the first time; hence the idea is to promote international sales. Again, W&K came up with some effective creatives that are encourage people to experience their first international travel to destinations beyond the usual.

How do you measure the efficacy of your OOH campaign?

We do return-on-investment (RoI) measurement after the completion of a campaign by looking at how the bookings of the respective campaigns have perked up and the activity on our website. For instance, in the case of the IndiGo Abroad campaign, we saw a double-digit increase in the visits on the website. But there are various other parameters to prove the success of the advertisement investment.

How does OOH help reinforce IndiGo’s brand positioning in a highly competitive business environment?

We try to use OOH smartly wherein we invest in prominent sites of the respective cities. IndiGo comes with some market strength positioning; hence we are able to negotiate quite well and get good coverage. Our strategy is to have the best campaigns possible. We continue to invest in advertising as new launches keep coming up. We also make use of advertising to push different aspects of the brand.

IndiGo has used OOH advertising in other developed and OOH-mature markets. How do you compare the Indian OOH advertising experience vis-à-vis to other international markets?

Actually, the value for money that Indian OOH advertising offers is probably higher in comparison with other markets, where OOH is relatively more expensive. And from my experience, OOH wasn’t used a lot by the airlines due to the cost challenge. In India, especially in Tier I & II cities, OOH is quite an effective medium to communicate. And in bigger cities, we have generally taken certain sites, which see a good traffic ratio, for long-term advertising.

What changes do you anticipate in this medium?

The airline business is all about consistency and that’s what we expect from the OOH industry too. Likewise, we expect high transparency and ethical standards in the business engagements. We work with a small number of agencies whom we trust, and so far we haven’t had any issues.

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