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Rajeeb Dash

Head - Marketing Services | 02 Nov 2013

It is essential that the OOH industry gets more organised and less fragmented. Measurability needs to be looked into and the industry should incorporate standardisation of business practices, set independent measurement metrics, have transparency in dealings and implement the outdoor policy norms uniformly. It needs to adopt technological innovation as one of the big differentiator as compared to other mediums as that would sustain the outdoor medium for a long time.

Rajeeb Dash, Head – Marketing Services, Tata Housing Development Company is responsible for leading all corporate and project marketing efforts. Dash has played a key role in building a distinctive brand image for Tata Housing in a highly unorganised and cluttered Indian real estate market, almost from scratch. Prior to joining Tata Housing, Dash worked with UB Group, Tata Chemicals and AC Nielsen.

With outdoor being a critical part of the marketing mix at Tata Housing, Dash speaks with exchange4media’s Simran Sabherwal on how innovation and integration has helped the brand grab eyeballs.

Q. Tata Housing has been very active in outdoors and activations. What are the reasons behind choosing this medium of communication?

Outdoors and activations is an important medium to connect and engage with our customers and prospects. With changing lifestyle, people are spending more time outdoor, leading to exponential growth of the transit medium. There is a lot of clutter in the market, but evolving technology products such as 3D tour, interactive screens, LED panels, etc., at malls and multiplexes hold immense potential in terms of customer engagement, interaction and thus, help to increase brand recall. We always try to use outdoor innovatively, which has immensely helped to attract customer attention and break through the clutter. There are two aspects to consider when it comes to outdoor – one needs to be choosy in terms of selecting the right sites /hoardings / medium, and then get the right innovative creative which needs to be clutter breaking.

To mark our entry into the Ahmedabad real estate market, we coincided our outdoor campaign with the Uttarayan festival with an aim to stand out of the clutter and create a high impact about our project. As it’s a custom to fly kites during Uttarayan, we crafted our outdoor creatives using kite as the theme to engage with the customers. While one billboard featured cut-outs of kites, another had a cut-out of a child flying a kite. The cut-outs created a 3D look and were separately attached to the billboards. This helped us to be part of the local culture and celebration as that’s very important for a brand going pan India.

We have done similar campaigns with the theme of large scale floating swing being put in the hoardings to celebrate the famous Raja festival in the Bhubaneswar market for our project, Ariana. It always helps to understand the local nuances and design the communication accordingly.

Q. What percentage of your marketing spends is allocated to OOH?

More than 25 per cent of our marketing budget is allocated for outdoor advertising. We also do out-of-home activations to generate leads and create brand visibility. The spends vary from project to project and also the impact of media in that particular market.

Q. The OOH industry is labelled as unstructured. Please share your opinion?

The outdoor medium is an essential part of our overall marketing budget. Though the industry is unstructured, it is very impactful due to the wide reach and one can be very specific about targeting so the cost per reach can be lesser. It helps in increasing brand recall, build positive brand imagery, and with the increasing clutter in the mainline space, OOH plays a very essential role in connecting with consumers and capturing their attention. We believe that in coming days this industry is going will have a large share in the marketing mix.

Q. What are the changes that you would want to see in the outdoor industry that will lead to retain brands’ trust towards this medium of communication?

It is essential that the OOH industry gets more organised and less fragmented. Measurability needs to be looked into and the industry should incorporate standardisation of business practices, set independent measurement metrics, have transparency in dealings and implement the outdoor policy norms uniformly. It needs to adopt technological innovation as one of the big differentiator as compared to other mediums as that would sustain the outdoor medium for a long time.

Q. The outdoor industry doesn’t have a common currency. As a marketer, how much does this worry you?

A common currency on which the outdoor industry can be measured is essential. Currently, Indian OOH players follow a few of the global currencies - TAB (Traffic Audit Bureau), Route and Geomex, but there is a dire need for regulating a universal measurement system which will help in the growth of the industry as well as add confidence in this medium.

Q. What are the five elements that you would want to see incorporated in an outdoor campaign that you roll out for your brand?

The five essential elements for a successful and impactful outdoor campaign are:
Objective: Brands should align the campaign thought with the overall objectives of the campaign
Target Audience: TG should be defined so that it helps in effective communication and effective selection to the right audience
Location: Location should be such that it catches maximum eye-balls and reaches out to the right target audience
Innovative: The campaign should be clutter breaking, creative and unique. The innovation needs be in sync with the overall brand theme
Timing: The timing of the campaign is very essential so that it can be integrated with the local festival or other local activity of the region

Q. What is the common idea that you have tried to maintain in all your campaigns?

We at Tata Housing are always exploring innovative marketing ideas for marketing and engaging with our customers. Our team of brand, media and communications focuses a lot on planning and executing innovative marketing campaigns which are customised to suit the local audience.

Q. As a marketer what, according to you are, the key learnings that the Indian outdoor industry should imbibe by looking at the global outdoor landscape?

The industry needs to be organised and adopt technology - whether digital or any other form of communication. Digital can be integrated with outdoor, an example would be the scoreboard during live cricket matches. This is the perfect integration and this is the kind of integration one can do in the outdoor hoarding with online space or any on ground activation.

Q. Could you highlight on the most effective OOH campaigns that you have rolled out recently?

Some of our innovative outdoor campaigns include:
Amantra – Thane/Kalyan Project: In order to generate a buzz for Amantra’s offerings we used relevant OOH media - Backlit cut-out of a lady jogging and a swimmer diving were placed on Billboards and Gantry. To communicate wind channeling for airy homes a rotating Pin wheel was fabricated and installed on Billboards and Gantry. As we had to communicate 3 prime offerings of Amantra (14th Floor Jogging Track, Infinity Pool and Wind Channels) an innovative outdoor campaign was executed with mediums at strategic locations. Billboards at Bandra ROB were taken as they attract huge traffic during peak hours these media were creatively fabricated to give 3D effect.

Another campaign was for our Bangalore project - The Promont, the billboard had a backlit 3D Flex, which gave a feeling of a live size double height terraced apartment.

During the Holi festival, we wanted to wish people of Ahmedabad Happy Holi on behalf of our project Shubh Griha in an innovative and engaging fashion. Hence, a couple of sites were selected and these hoardings had ‘Happy Holi’ written with balloons filled with colours and people were asked to burst these balloons from below. Many people passing by the hoardings participated in this engaging activity and spread the joy of celebrating Holi.

For our Bhubaneswar project, Arian we had improvised the outdoor gantry to a home like structure, which was giving the feel that one is entering inside the home while passing through the gantry structure.

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

Yes, digital is the next big thing in the OOH industry. The use of digital practices has already started in malls and airports with the digital conversion of posters, billboards, bus shelters and other places, which has completely revolutionised the outdoor industry as a whole. One is going digital and the other one is integrating with the digital space so that it becomes more dynamic and interactive. So, in the real estate sector, the main element is outdoor, which is supported by digital and technology enhancement.

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