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‘Right context, right time – key to OOH success’

By Bhawana Anand - February 19, 2018

Allen Ebenezer Eric, General Manager – Marketing, Emami Ltd, underscores the best ways brands can leverage OOH to establish deep consumer connect. Allen makes a special mention of how OOH helps brands to align their messaging to particular context and target audience

Could you please explain the OOH strategy invested in your latest campaign?

‘Fair and Handsome’ has been the dominant market leader in the men’s space for over 12 years. To tap into the evolving consumer needs, the brand has just launched a premium sub-brand ‘Fair and Handsome Laser 12’ targeting young professionals with the promise of looking their handsome best. Envisioned as the most advanced product in the men’s face care space in India, the brand had a sharp-focused, targeted launch in about 50 cities. Being the creation phase of a new sub-brand, we wanted to have high impact within a short time span; this translated into an OOH and ambient media plan that leveraged contextual placement in the right environment. Targeted at a premium audience, the campaign was intended to build relevance in the right consumer context by understanding and tapping into the young man’s lifestyle. For instance, when he walks into a mall, works in an office complex or drives through arterial roads of cities, it became a good opportunity for us to speak to him at times when he is most receptive.

The campaign leveraged outdoor, malls, office complexes, modern trade stores, along with on-ground activation in salons, an important grooming touch point for the brand in a place frequented by him.

What role did OOH play in the same?

Outdoor played the role of engaging men impactfully, when they are in the right frame of mind. While crafting the OOH strategy, we attempted to leverage the right time, right context and right mindset of our audience.

On the Fair and Handsome portfolio of fairness cream and face wash, over the years we have observed that during new product and new brand campaign launches, men’s interest has peaked, because in his regular routine he stops by for relevant, fresh news. When the brand has had new news to communicate, we have leveraged outdoor.

We began the Fair and Handsome Laser 12 launch with outdoor, print and point of sale visibility in modern trade and general trade targeting shoppers; TV came in later. We have received a heartening response to the brand across markets and channels.

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

Yes, definitely. OOH today has multiple opportunities. Earlier, it was dominated by billboards; but now, with technology development, there are newer media opportunities. OOH allows brands the ability to customise messages according to every touchpoint. The message shared in a mall can be customised very differently vis-a-vis the message displayed in an office complex. Therefore, the ability to tell a larger brand story and drive relevance is sharp on OOH. It is no longer a common brand message that is placed everywhere, but more specific messaging in every context. We see consumers absorbing the message better when placed in the right environments. That is why outdoor has an even greater role to adapt the message in the consumer’s life context and mood, instead of context-agnostic general communication.

Will expansion of Digital OOH give brands a greater reason to up their OOH spends?

In the Fair and Handsome Laser 12 campaign, we have attempted some part of digital OOH, but spends depend on the opportunities available.  Digital OOH is the last mile medium to bring alive the message; but, in the larger picture it completely depends on the strategy of the campaign, as to where and what the message is. It is the message and the specificity that becomes far more critical than the format of mediums. As a brand, we are open to innovation; so, when there are opportunities to innovate and bring alive the brand through newer media, we leverage them.

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

When we went ahead with the campaign, we chalked out 50 cities traversing metros, Tier I and Tier II. Metros are vastly expansive in terms of geography; on the other hand, Tier I and II geographies are relatively more compact. With the aspirational Brand Ambassador Hrithik Roshan as face of the campaign, we have seen the impact of outdoor to be significantly higher here, as it gives a larger-than-life image to the brand instantly, bringing alive the message of handsomeness. So, the impact generated was higher. We had cities such as Kanpur, Jamshedpur, Kota and Mysore where the sheer quantum of exposure of OOH here has been significantly higher versus the metros.

What changes do you anticipate in the OOH space?

As an industry, OOH is scattered unlike TV and print where there are few large players overall. This is also a reason why we partner with an agency like Greenline, a JV partner of Lodestar UM, because their expertise comes from agglomeration of outdoor across mediums and geographies and in strategising holistically, considering the strengths of each medium and touchpoint. One big shift we would definitely like to see is measurability of OOH; it is indeed a challenge. While we see a lift overall, sharp measurability and attribution continues to remain a challenge.

Having said that, we try to measure impact primarily through internal brand studies and persuasion in store. As a brand, we would like to continue investing in outdoor and ambient media, predominantly during new campaign launches.

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