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‘OOH must be an integral part of a brand manager’s media mix’

By N Jayalakshmi - July 05, 2021

Abhinav Iyer, General Manager (Marketing & Strategy) - The Muthoot Group (Muthoot Finance), shares with Media 4Growth, the brand’s approach to the Out-of-Home medium, ow it has delivered for the brand, the opportunities for DOOH and more…

Abhinav Iyer, GM (Marketing & Strategy)<br>The Muthoot Group (Muthoot Finance)Could you first talk about your whole approach to the out-of-home medium as a whole? How has it served the marketing objectives in the past?

When we speak about OOH, these being tangible real estate, they get noticed in the real world. Hence I have always found OOH to be a very impactful medium, more especially if used smartly through engaging creatives. The nicest thing about OOH is that they can’t be skipped, blocked or deleted, which is why I strongly feel that OOH must be an integral part of a brand manager’s media mix. In fact, sometimes OOH gets treated as a non-core, secondary medium; which I feel isn’t fair. 

For us at Muthoot Finance, particularly in the last 3 years, we have made conscious efforts to include OOH in almost all our major national campaigns in some form or the other. Be it “Taking India Forward”, “Life Mein Aagey Badhiye”, “1 Visit Loan”, “Soch Badaliye” or “Gold Loan is Good” – all these integrated marketing campaigns have had a presence on some OOH physical format; either nationally or regionally. And most of them have shown notable impact.

OOH has quite ably complemented our marketing campaigns launched on electronic, print and digital mediums by giving us the much needed reach, strong brand awareness and recall. 

What factors do you consider in your choice of OOH selection as a marketing medium? Also, do you look at OOH as opportunities for brand visibility, engagement opportunities etc? Can you elaborate?

We are a national brand with 5330+ pan-India branches and serving an audience set which is quite diverse. Hence, our OOH selection is predominantly inclined towards properties that are prominently located at clutter-free & strategic vantage points, impressive in size, well-lit and covering a large cross-section of mobile audiences.  

Going beyond brand awareness, we attempt to use OOH to create significant visual impact and strong recall for our ongoing communication. Obviously, brevity of content is critical, which we do our best to achieve. 

Now as consumers increasingly look for values and trust in a brand,   do you think hte medium also play a part in reinstating the brand values?

Well I don’t see an essential correlation there. Trust and Values are precious brand assets which any brand earns by serving their customers readily, warmly & satisfactorily. These are attributes that brands need to earn in the real world by investing efforts and not necessarily by making media investments. 

For example: Till date, Muthoot Finance has served +72 crore customers including repeat customers. Since we are the custodians of their emotional asset (household gold) which isn’t easy to let go of even for a short period of time, we feel we have earned the trust of our loyal customers by way of our relationship-based & customer-centric approach, a deep sense of respect for customer’s emotions, our business presence spanning over 134 years, and our unique product features that are tailor-made towards ensuring high customer convenience and customer delight. 

Hence, I feel that this Customer Trust or Brand Loyalty that we have earned is not an outcome of our marketing investments per se, but a result of the prompt & personalised services that our 40,000+ dedicated Muthootians offer to +2.5 Lac customers every day. 

Quite interestingly, since you referred Trust, I am glad to share that we have been rated as India’s Most Trusted Financial Services Brand by The Brand Trust Report – India Study for 5th year in a row.

With the out of home medium evolving in terms of formats, and the emergence of Digital OOH as an important platform, do you see marketing spends on OOH going up in future? What would it take for it to be treated on par with other mediums?

Well DOOH is certainly a growing medium and has brought the much needed dynamism to the OOH industry. Thankfully, increasing infrastructural developments, growing internet penetration and rapid digitization are fastening the DOOH growth story in India. With increasing integration of advanced technologies like AR & VR with DOOH, brand managers today have exciting opportunities to consider. Besides the pros of traditional OOH, DOOH also sweetens the medium with agility and analytics. 

Undoubtedly, the COVID19 led pandemic has had serious revenue impact on the OOH industry; but I am optimistic that with data playing a key role in a brand manager’s decision making process on media investments, DOOH has the potential to lead the way. However, I have always said that concise, interesting, eye-catching content that can grab eyeballs and make heads turn will be the key to greater brand recall and increased brand awareness. 

As a brand marketer, what are some of the biggest challenges you face with regard to the OOH medium, especially when it comes to execution?

Limited scope for impact measurability within the traditional OOH space, paucity of DOOH opportunities in non-metro markets and restricted innovation opportunities are some of the primary challenges that I feel must be overcome by the OOH industry in the coming years. 


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