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Home » OOH News » Dawn Rowlands’s blueprint for OOH growth: Innovate, Engage and Collaborate

Dawn Rowlands’s blueprint for OOH growth: Innovate, Engage and Collaborate

By Rajiv Raghunath - March 19, 2024

Dawn Rowlands, CEO dentsu SubSaharan Africa outlines a roadmap for collaborative storytelling and innovative technology adoption to drive growth in the African media industry

Dawn Rowlands

The OOH media industry in Africa is undergoing a profound transformation driven by digital advancements and the need for innovative solutions. Dawn Rowlands, the CEO of dentsu SubSaharan Africa, highlighted the key challenges and opportunities in her keynote at the WOO Africa Forum in Cape Town. Dawn started by acknowledging the industry's achievements, and cited the over 110 awards won by the agency in the past year. However, she stressed that these accolades often involve collaborations with various stakeholders. Notably, many awards, including Grand Prix's, have been earned through OOH campaigns, underlining the industry's potential despite challenges.

One impactful campaign highlighted was by an insurer addressing the alarming rate of women murders in South Africa. The 16-day campaign projected haunting tributes at actual crime scenes, shedding light on the issue. This initiative not only drove engagement but also led to a significant increase in women reaching out for help.

Dawn discussed the industry's evolution towards a more data-driven approach. She believes that the investment in data analytics has been instrumental in guiding campaign strategies and ensuring effective targeting. The focus then shifted to the growing importance of content and storytelling. Dawn emphasised that clients are increasingly seeking solutions rather than mere advertising spaces. This shift has led to a rise in demand for engaging narratives that resonate with audiences.

A standout example presented was the "Reclaim Your DNA" campaign by Trophy Style, centred on reconnecting Nigerians with their stolen heritage. Through digital experiences and grassroots efforts, the campaign sparked a movement to reclaim artefacts from museums worldwide. This not only celebrated Nigerian culture but also engaged a global audience in the cause.

Dawn emphasised that that this shift in approach has led to a rise in demand for engaging narratives that resonate with audiences. She also highlighted the industry's embrace of technology, particularly in addressing challenges such as load shedding in Africa. dentsu’s Night Vision, a proprietary data solution, leverages real-time location data to adjust advertising strategies during power outages. This innovative approach ensures continued engagement with audiences even in unpredictable circumstances.

Furthermore, Dawn emphasised that clients are increasingly seeking solutions rather than mere advertising spaces. This collaborative spirit extends to the sharing of proprietary technologies, such as Night Vision and Geo Vision, with industry partners.

In her concluding remarks, Dawn emphasized that the industry's future lies in agile investments, experimentation, and collaboration. The media landscape is rapidly evolving, driven by data, storytelling, and technological innovations. By working together, sharing resources, and embracing new technologies, media agencies in Africa can continue to drive growth, engagement, and meaningful change.

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