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OOH Interviews

Nabendu Bhattacharyya

Founder & Managing Director | 22 Aug 2012

Out of home platform today can be used as a standalone media in a brand’s communication plan. It is a media that brands trust and believe in. Out of home is not just a reminder medium, but an informative medium. OOH helps brand managers segment their consumer profile for better reach and communication.

Nabendu Bhattacharyya, Founder and Managing Director, Milestone Brandcom is a passionate ‘Out-of-Home Man’. He has redefined every leadership position that he has held in his corporate journey of over 20 years. He took the leap of faith to pursue his entrepreneurial dream in 2009. Since then, Bhattacharyya has already earned a reputation as one of the most successful OOH business entrepreneurs in India today.

In conversation with exchange4media’s Priyanka Nair, Bhattacharyya speaks at length about the best of the best offerings that outdoor advertising gives to brands and more...

Q. OOH is going beyond a recall medium to a compulsive element of every media plan. What is your take on this sudden recognition?

In the early 90s, out of home was used as a reminder media because there were only few media formats available, such as hoardings and billboards at key locations. Gradually, in the mid-90s, when digital printing became extensively cheap and communication touch points out of home increased, the role of outdoor medium also transformed. Earlier, it was only media and entertainment that widely used this medium, but consumer research done by various brand categories showed that it was necessary for brands to be present at consumer spend zones and other areas when their target groups were present.

Out of home medium today can be used as a standalone media in a brand’s communication plan. It is a media that a brand trusts and believes in and can even go along with other media for a particular campaign. Out of home is not just a reminder medium, but an informative medium. It helps creative buds to design interesting storyboards on various formats and brand managers to segment their consumer profile neatly for better reach and communication.

Q. What are the factors you keep in mind while planning an OOH campaign?

It basically depends on the objective of the brand campaign. We have a three-dimensional media plan that we follow for all our campaign. When we get the campaign objective, what we do is go out for a consumer mapping exercise, which is followed by a road-based planning process and then we have a destination planning. Consumer mapping is very necessary for an outdoor campaign, because this can define the places where the creatives are to go up. Road mapping not only helps in understanding the media availability, but also helps to spot interesting touch points of communication, and lastly, destination plan is to understand the areas where the consumers can finally find the brand’s presence, which is the most crucial part of any out of home media plan.

Q. Is innovation the best way to stand out in the outdoor medium?

Innovation can be used to stand out in the outdoor medium if the marketing objective demands it for. Effective consumer science can be used to create innovation in planning. An innovation for the sake of innovation is sheer waste of investment on the medium.

Q. How does the outdoor industry scenario look in the second half of 2012?

The world economy is in trouble; I am sure there will be no marketing guru who can predict what the market will look like in the next six months. In our industry, there are issues of the science. There is always a panic situation during the dip period. Indian clients are conscious, but are looking at using our medium cost effectively. For instance, while mass auto brands have cut down on outdoor spends, niche auto brands have suddenly shown a keen interest in outdoors for their communication plans. Business will pick up as soon as the festival season starts.

Q. Is there infrastructure or regulatory changes expected in 2012, or that you are hoping for in 2012, that will impact the industry?

Most unlikely as in India each state follows its own set of rules, but as said before, the government and authorities are now more open to look at infrastructure-based advertisement rights for long term, in line with city’s infrastructural development within authority guidelines. These will be seen more and more. The industry has already regulated very strongly on format types, standardised look and feel, along with size restrictions – take case of Jaipur, Delhi, Mumbai, Punjab, Gurgaon, Noida. One will see more standardised aesthetic medium. Within city limits one would witness small format mediums and street furniture. The Indian Outdoor Advertising Association (IOAA) is working really hard to bring together the stakeholders of the industry in order to creative a common Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the outdoor medium at the earliest.

Q. Do you think going digital is the next big thing in OOH?

Everything today is digital, but understanding the usage of digital in outdoor media is very important. Customising content for digital outdoor media formats is extremely important. Since India is still nascent in the digital out of home media formats, for it get a kickstart heavy investment is required. Above all authorities should approve media owners to invest to get the sophistication of the digital experience. I believe this will get initiated soon because clutter has to reduce and to RoI multiplier can come only with digitalization as technology allows you to scale up and helps in creative exploration. It is just a matter of when it will happen.

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