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‘The New Normal enhances OOH relevancy’

By Rajiv Raghunath - August 03, 2021

Haresh Nayak, Group MD, Posterscope South Asia & President, Posterscope APAC shares his perspectives on the New Normal that is influencing OOH business, increasing role of technology, and prospects for programmatic OOH/DOOH, in an interview with Rajiv Raghunath

Haresh Nayak, Group MD, <br>Posterscope South Asia & President,<br>Posterscope APAC

The ‘New Normal’ is now an oft-mentioned term that sums up the changing times that we all live in. Would you reckon that Indian OOH is seeing a ‘New Normal’ in its truest sense, or do you expect the business to get back to its original form, as the external conditions improve?

Yes, Indian OOH is seeing a New Normal in the current times and we expect things to be better in the near future. Our role as a brand consultant in this space is to create meaningful connections between brands and consumers. The New Normal is showing how the consumer mindset has changed and how new media options, data and experiences are making OOH far more relevant than before. At Posterscope we have been mapping the consumer mindset and its connection closely using various data points and listening tools. 

Today’s consumer is tired being locked for so long and is truly looking to explore the OOH space. We are seeing more people now going on vacations and also working not from home but ‘Out-Of-Home from a holiday destination’. Data is also showing two major changes – new touchpoints for connecting brands; rise in traffic on the streets even as there are challenges of social distancing and control on public mode of travels. New consumer touchpoints like society branding, OOH in holiday destinations, key arterial routes, retail branding, etc., are  on the up. 

The pandemic period has now extended well over a year and a half, and by the looks of it, the peaks and troughs caused by the pandemic waves will continue for a while. How has Posterscope India withstood the challenging times to rebuild and reinforce its business engagements in these times? Are there any specific initiatives that you would like to talk about with respect to client business retention, employee retention and the like?

Last 24 months have been the most challenging times for the sector and we will take some time to come out of this. At Posterscope we have over a period tried to optimise the costs and cut down on non-essential expenditures and used up initial few months to train people and use them to cross sell and be relevant to the clients. We conducted 42 training programmes from March 2020 to May 2020, and that helped us align our focus with core areas of work and enhances other skills relevant to the New Normal.

As a team we have now realigned our core team to be helping other brands sail through the period and we see this consolidating our position and ensure stable growth for the next few years. The teams now are empowered to engage with clients on CSR, Sports, Content, Smart City projects and various other solutions. This will help us keep the client connectivity, employee retention and motivation. Most importantly it is helping us survive the current situation and keep us afloat.

Technology is the game changer for media business, and Indian OOH is also beginning to see those changes, albeit gradually. Do you see Posterscope India leading this industry’s change to a tech-driven business environment, and which are the critical areas where your organisation plans to play defining roles?

 Posterscope has been at the forefront of the change, we have introduced many firsts, like  data-led planning for OOH, rate benchmarking, automating planning and monitoring process. We introduced India’s first DOOH planning module ROOH. We continue to reimagine outdoor and are better prepared for the future, our new initiative under Indeed Smartcity is a line extension into OOH business in making our city smarter by bringing in world class smart solutions.

 Coming to a more specific area like DOOH, do you see DOOH advertising gaining greater momentum in the Indian market, and does that call for specialist DOOH planning and buying? Are you thinking along those lines?

We invested into DOOH while the business was in its nascent stage and we continue to be committed to it. Future of OOH is DOOH and it is poised to alter the OOH landscape. Brands are warming up to DOOH and continues to elicit comparatively better response.  DOOH buying is different from traditional OOH buying. While the basic remains the same, DOOH rests on a large amount of data - data not just limited to the sites but also around the environment and the TG around the screen. We have invested in a separate team of planners and buyers for the same. Within OOH, DOOH is a specialist offering.   

And finally, would you advocate the adoption of programmatic OOH/DOOH in the Indian market? If yes, any particular initiatives that you have planned from the Posterscope India plank?

We have seen increased demand for programmatic DOOH, we have implemented some of the finest programmatic campaigns using APIs and multiple consumer and location data points to ensure better / targeted campaigns. Programmatic minimises wastage and offers brands focused and targeted advertising. Creating a single currency across multiple media owners will help grow DOOH, something that we have been advocating to all media owners. This would help run programmatic campaigns across all screens in the country.

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