‘The strength of OOH is that it is captivating’: Ramesh Kaushik
By Bhawana Anand - September 11, 2019
Ramesh Kaushik, VP- Brand Experience, Blackberrys shares that in this age of digital evolution, OOH holds a significant place in the brand’s media plan
What role do you assign to OOH in your marketing plan?
Blackberrys is a brand business, hence the marketing revolves around customers. We look at media as channels to communicate our proposition to the end-users. As the consumers evolve, the media mix also changes. Our marketing strategy is to create awareness about the brand and its product, being in a consideration set of the consumer and provide them an experience while at the consumption stage so that he comes back to us again on the basis of product and experience he gains.
OOH medium holds an extremely interesting proposition in Blackberrys media-mix, more from tapping the captive audience available at the intersections of the city or in the vicinity of the store; if it is a high-street, then on that stretch or if it’s a mall then the façade or inside the mall gives us more OOH opportunities. We look at the OOH medium as an ideal conduit for our brand messaging. So, the intent to communicate through OOH is to build a certain degree of awareness and curiosity in the consumer minds to generate walk-ins.
While the consumer who is being fed with lots of information, OOH is meant to catch hold of their attention. Largely the journey starts with handheld devices and online which is digital, and closer to the point of consumption OOH medium becomes extremely; it is the only potent medium at that time.
How do you use OOH for your different communications starting from building a brand image to a new collection launch?
Typically, we have two key seasons in a year and two end-of-season sales. During the seasons’ launch, we don’t necessarily look at OOH. Instead we have a wide gamut of advertising channels to choose from which includes digital, social media, website, mobile and etc. Hence, from the offline and online options we opt for those that are key to our messaging.
Having said that, we tweak our message and revise the media mix if there is anything unique to be communicated. Therefore, from the OOH perspective, we have two opportunities – first is the new product launch time and the second, for more business tactics -- whether we want to arrest or fuel the consumer sentiment.
There are ample formats available in the OOH industry. Which formats are best suited for your brand communications?
Before we arrive at the format, we consider the OOH format from three standpoints i.e. location, data & science supporting the location and innovation possibilities. Going beyond vanilla campaigns, back-lit & front-lit have been exploited way too much. Even the definition of OOH has changed with the time; if one were to look at OOH today, it doesn’t necessarily have to be about hoardings or billboards. There are building wraps, airport media, which itself has wide a variety of formats like even conveyer belt branding, in-flight seat back branding, headrest branding, and so on. So, I would say, the mix of geography, data & science and technology, Google and traffic data, etc., give us a lot of insight in terms of stoppage time at a particular site on a specific stretch, and the influence or that OOH site/location.
Message designing also plays a role. Too much text on the creative is not always useful. So, if I have to be conveying three benefits of my product, I might go for LED screens that more easily catch the consumer attention.
How open are you to using DOOH media in your OOH plan?
From 2017 onwards we have done Digital OOH campaigns. Our most recent campaign was done on digital screens in cyber-hubs and cyber cities.
What’s your take on transit OOH?
At Blackberrys, our promise to consumer is that we are here to dress the driven man who is always on the move. Consequently, transit media help us in our narrative. For instance, we recently launched a new collection which is India’s first 100% cotton knit trouser and this product is breathable, fashionable and stretchable -- these features come handy when one is in transit. So yes, transit media help when it gels with the narrative pretty well.
With the OOH medium evolving at a rapid pace, do you think the medium is coming at par with mainline formats in terms of quality of presentation and professionalism?
I would say, the largeness of the medium is a big plus but when it comes to execution, quality, innovation and monitoring, compared to a channel like digital, OOH is way behind. I think partly the difference comes due to the characteristics of both formats wherein digital is always evolving and never stationed and OOH is almost static. The strength of OOH is that it is captivating. Indeed, there are a good number of innovations happening in OOH. With the medium now evolving and getting digitised, it will become even more relevant to advertising, but there is still some way to go in that direction.
For a premium clothing brand like yours, how do you plan the creatives for your OOH campaigns?
The product should always be the hero as we stand for quality and innovation in our collections. Alongside, the brand core i.e. Burning Drive has to come through strongly in the creative narrative. I would say that our creative largely centres around the beauty of the product, benefit of the product.
How do you go about with the execution and monitoring of your OOH campaign?
We have empaneled partners who understand the brand as much as we do. They help us to zero down to the locations, media formats, etc. Our internal marketing and sales teams works in tandem with the external partners to ensure the creatives are up on the sites on the designated days and remain there as per the contract.
What changes do you anticipate in the OOH medium?
The list includes only two things- first, the medium has to evolve either with the consumer or stay ahead of them. So, if the consumer is consuming more information from the handheld devices, OOH will have to find a way to grab their attention.
Second, innovation and quality of the medium. Also, the medium should get closer to the consumer without being intrusive.
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