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Woodland on the OOH turf

By M4G Bureau - January 04, 2014

Being an outdoor category brand, Woodland believes that the OOH medium has a lot of significance in their media plan. Harkirat Singh, MD, Woodland in a chat with Outdoor Asia, talks about the brand's beliefs, challenges and future plans with regard to the OOH medium.

There is a notion that if you aren't visible everywhere on OOH then you can't make it big. However, Woodland, the sports/adventure wear brand believes in doing it the other way around. The brand has become visible, successful and popular with their single site campaigns, whether it's a brain on hoarding showcasing their Proplanet ideology or a mammoth site at airport talking about new technology filled apparel and accessories. The brand believes in utilising the OOH formats in a much more planned, focused and synchronised manner.

Talking about the lifestyle category's relationship with the OOH medium, Harkirat Singh says, "Today it is very important for any lifestyle brand to know and understand their target audience - look at factors like where they are located, how they like to interact, what they read or watch and therefore it is of utmost important to analyse the target audience rather than spending uselessly and we also keep on reviewing these points frequently.”

And when it comes to their brand specifically, Harkirat articulates, "We select our mediums of advertising very specifically as these days spends are very high and we want to derive the maximum value from the amount of money that we spend. When it comes to the outdoor medium, the same principle applies and we look at factors such as where to advertise, what should be the ratio of outdoor in comparison with print and electronic etc. The medium is very good because it is live and it can be used for a long time unlike newspaper where you only spend a few seconds flipping through. Since we are a retail brand; we have our retail touch bases and multi-brand stores which have clusters in markets like Connaught Place. And then we take crucial sites at airports, or areas like Gurgaon or Dhaula Kuan where there is lot of traffic and an urban kind of audience which we feel is our TG. We don't believe in merely having a nice looking outdoor signage which does not result in either brand building or sales. We utilise the outdoor medium in cities or towns which aren't big enough but where there can be word of mouth publicity which can happen with the help of outdoor medium. Outdoor medium can serve the recall purpose and can also serve brand building, besides launches.”

The brand spends 20% of their budget on the OOH medium; however, the budget is still evolving gradually. "We like to grow our budgets but we don't want to be everywhere, only at very specific points which makes more sense in terms of customer connect with the site. We want to be more innovative and informative on OOH which has a recall value,” opines Harkirat.

Today most brands prefer leveraging the OOH medium in sync with activation which is playing a much bigger role for them and Woodland is no different. The brand has extensive tie-ups with evens like the Sunburn festival where they again create innovative activities showcasing their brand positioning and product ranges. "On-ground is again an important medium and it is growing very fast. We go where youth is going and we do it the way they do. Like digital is the medium of the future, we think outdoor and on-ground mediums are future platforms. They give us direct connect with the customers. For instance when we showcase a trekking and climbing wall, the audience experience it and these activities connect with them in a much better way and it generates word of mouth promo,” explains Harkirat.

Where OOH site selection is concerned, Woodland likes to do it very meticulously. Explains Harkirat, "The site and its location is of utmost importance to us because it is related to the brand image. For instance, we took a site at the airport and the idea behind it was to tap travelling TG who spend on high-end brands which are also visible at the airport. Thus the whole objective was to be in the vicinity of high-end brands like ours. Also there are particular launches which we are very passionate about and we like to showcase them directly to the customers. Hence, it is always better to take outdoor sites for something big rather than something regular. For instance, we were very passionate about Proplanet, so we created something extra-ordinary for it”.

Being an international brand, Woodland of course believes in the significance of new formats such as digital outdoor. "We are open to using digital outdoor formats but we will use it selectively. For example, we will use it if we can actually have a live format where we can show trekking especially at locations where people spend time, places like malls and airports as against high traffic areas.”

Speaking about the challenges and the grey areas in the OOH medium, Harikrat says, "The biggest challenge in OOH is lack of transparency. Other mediums are a lot more transparent. For instance in TV or print, when they say an ad costs Rs 10 lakh, after negotiating it can come down to approximately  Rs 9.5 lakhs, but it can't come down drastically to say Rs 5 lakhs. In OOH on the other hand, the price depends on how desperate the media owner is to give and how desperate the brand is to take it. Also in pan India campaigns, there is no mechanism or system to monitor. The industry should be more organised.”

Summing up, Harikrat says, "We will definitely be on the same track because we feel that we are on the right track. We will be innovating more and capturing smaller towns more because we see lot of potential there as the rentals are cheaper and there are potential buyers. And if we get more transparency, then I think we can go a long way.”

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