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‘Audio integration can drive creativity and business in OOH’

By Aayush Mohanan - October 11, 2023

Saibal Gupta, Managing Partner and CEO, Xperia Group speaks on the opportunities that Audio OOH offers and his new joint venture with musician Supratik Ghosh.

Saibal Gupta, Managing Partner and CEO of Xperia Group recently partnered with Bangalore-based musician Supratik Ghosh and his organisation Alive Media to form Xperia Alive Media with the objective of providing unique experiential marketing opportunities using music and audio OOH as one of their primary tools. 

Saibal Gupta

In an exclusive interview with Media4Growth, they discuss their new venture, and the road that lies ahead. 

1. Tell us about Xperia Alive Media, and how do you plan to leverage music as a tool to connect brands with their target audiences?

Xperia Alive Media is a collaboration between Xperia Group and Alive Media, which is known for live music. Located in Bangalore, Alive Media boasts around seven studios from which we cater to various clients.

Our main objective is to craft unique experiences for target audiences, tailoring music solutions that resonate with them. One such technique we employ is ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response). For instance, the distinctive sound of eating soup or noodles or drinking cola can be utilized in content creation. These familiar sounds can enhance brand connectivity with target audiences. Depending on the demographic—be it GenZ or GenX—we customize these ASMR experiences.

Moreover, Xperia Group has a dedicated events and activations team, creating distinctive music-related Intellectual Properties (IPs). These events and IPs often feature big celebrities and renowned singers from Xperia Live. Ultimately, our aim is to harness the universal appeal of music to connect with both GenZ and GenX, helping brands establish a unique identity.

We believe that music is a potent tool to connect with audiences, making it a central part of our strategy. For instance, nowadays, most lifts are equipped with either static posters or LED screens. Now, imagine stepping into a lift and seeing an advertisement for Nescafé. If we were to integrate the sound of coffee being poured or a catchy jingle associated with that brand, it would engage both your visual and auditory senses. This multi-sensory engagement can significantly enhance the recall value of the brand as a whole.

2. What is ‘Gift a Music’ and which are the brand segments that can benefit from this format of OOH advertising?

‘Gift a Music’ is an innovative approach to gifting and advertising, moving away from traditional materialistic gifts. Think about how many birthday gifts you've received in the past; you probably can't remember most of them, especially if they were purely materialistic. These items often lack the emotional depth that leaves a lasting impact.

Now, imagine receiving a unique gift: a song curated just for you, reflecting your personality and essence. And what if this personalized gift came from a brand? Not only would it be memorable for you, but your entire social circle, including friends on social media and close relatives, would likely hear the song and associate it with the brand. The beauty of 'Gift a Music' is that it creates a personalized musical experience tailored for specific individuals, ensuring that their close connections hear it too. This elevates the brand's impact through a personal touch.

We have already made use of this innovative concept for brands like Titan, Brigade Group, and ITC. It's especially impactful for retaining the loyalty of regular customers. Importantly, ‘Gift a Music’ isn't limited to any specific brand segment; any brand can harness its potential to create a deeper connection with its audience.

3. In your view, what makes Audio OOH (AOOH) stand apart from other OOH formats?

We need to understand that AOOH is not a standalone format, rather it is one of the elements of experiential advertising. And when it comes to experiences, it is not simply about putting up a promoter and calling it a day, rather experiential marketing is all about connectivity – brands need to connect with the audience using the five sense and of course AOOH plays a vital role in this. From what I see, at the moment most of OOH advertising is only connecting with the visual senses of the target audiences and that needs to be relooked and reworked.

4. Do you feel that the use of audio in OOH is often overlooked? And what will it take for media agencies and brands to explore and embrace the format?

Internationally, AOOH is used sufficiently and very well in many places, but the same cannot be said about the Indian market, even though it has a lot of potential. I think there is an urgent need to create awareness about the medium and its benefits, especially among the decision makers for brands and agencies. Only then, will we start to see a shift towards a more diverse OOH landscape, one that is not solely reliant on visual storytelling. 

Supratik

5. With DOOH expanding the canvas of OOH, do you think the integration of audio/music can increase the market size for OOH business?

The potential business impact of integrating audio with DOOH is not definitively predictable right now. However, the clever integration of audio with DOOH can indeed create a differentiation. The primary advantage of this integration is that it enhances the user experience beyond just the visual aspect. Integrating audio can positively influence business decisions, potentially leading to more investment in DOOH or OOH in general. While the increase might be marginal, it could encourage more brands and agencies to factor OOH into their media plans.

Moreover, the application of audio isn't limited to just digital screens. For instance, at an airport, imagine a billboard or screen displaying a virtual, AI-driven mascot. As someone walks by, this mascot addresses them, aided by audio and other sound effects. This is just one of the many innovative ways audio can be integrated, making the OOH format more captivating. While it's uncertain if such innovations will directly boost investments in DOOH, they undeniably amplify the creative potential of the medium. Audio integration can serve as a catalyst for this creative evolution.

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