In the second edition of our two-part series, we bring to you our interview with three of Kinetic Worldwide’s key executives—King Lai, CEO of Asia Pacific, David Payne, CEO of Developing Markets and Amit Sarkar, COO of Kinetic India. In the first part, we got the three to talk about India’s place in Kinetic and WPP’s overall strategy and the focus areas for the company going forward. Continuing with the conversation; we talk about Kinetic’s future plans as well as how they plan to leverage new technologies to differentiate themselves from the competition. We also spoke about the likelihood of Tenth Avenue, the division which Kinetic belongs to entering the Indian market and what synergies would this create. Excerpts.
Which areas would you be concentrating on in the coming year?
David Payne: I think these would be in developing the right metrics, data and developing the right skill sets to make use of the data. Also, we will be constantly striving to improve our buying and planning output; our core business and then complementing that with a vision of the future.
Do you think consolidation will help the Indian OOH industry and do you see this happening in the near future?
David Payne: The evidence would suggest that consolidation is a process that serves the industry. Once the industry consolidates we can take more aggressive decisions on the challenges that we talked about. Whether it is going to happen or not I cannot answer.
How is Kinetic approaching digital OOH?
King Lai: Investments go hand in hand with revenue generation. Wherever there is an opportunity and a sensible client we recommend using digital and this is just not the panel that is digital but it is the whole idea of connectivity and interaction with digital enablement. We create a kind of strategic thinking communication plans for clients that leverage the unique attributes of digital formats. When we create the demand from clients, the media owners will see the quality there and they will make the investments in a manner that delivers the positive attributes of the format and make it available in the marketplace. So, more spends by clients in the format encourages media owners to invest behind making the format the better for others in the marketplace. This is how you get the marketplace to adopt a new format.
Cross-platform advertising is a concept that is picking up steam. How can outdoor advertising extend communication to other media?
King Lai: We would certainly like to see that because it is good for us. To answer the question directly, in every case we see that clients are driven when OOH is not applied at the edges; where OOH communications are integral part of the core communications plan. In media terms, if we talk about brand awareness as a combination of TV and OOH used in the right balance extends reach rather than using just one medium by itself and for much lower investment.
We talk about connectivity. We are now able to leverage technology to amplify communication beyond just reach and frequency metrics. How do you deepen engagement and connectivity? How does a campaign leverage OOH to extend into mobile and social amplification? These are the things we are building into our plans which we bring into the marketplace and I see that happening in India.
You spoke about a broader vision earlier. What are the other aspects of this?
David Payne: For me, it is the medium eventually which will grow and it is about how you use it to message in a very different way. And this might not necessarily be about doing the obvious things but figuring out how the consumer is, where the consumer, what the clusters of consumers are and then serving advertising to them. But not only through the device or phone they have in their hand; this is how things are changing. My personal view is that we are going to see fully programmatic buying and certainly much, much more automation. Technology driving the way out-of-home is bought and data driving the way OOH is planned and executed. I think this is going to happen a lot more. In my opinion if the industry, and this is not just about India, is able to achieve this then it will become the centre of the media plan because the evidence is that people do not sit at home, so the argument for making OOH centre of the media plan is stronger than ever.
As part of Tenth Avenue (A WPP division), when can we see the other Tenth Avenue companies entering India and what are the kind of synergies that we can expect?
King Lai: We work very closely with each other. Kinetic is focused on human-centric interaction on OOH. Obviously, one constant theme that is true to all the Tenth Avenue companies is that it crosses over or overlaps in media formats or content that is relevant to people as they go about their lives. So whether it is mobile, in case of Joule, we spoke about how mobile can be used to amplify messaging in OOH. It is our mission to have even deeper expertise so we can leverage mobile since we have such an expert in Joule. We have Spafax, which focuses on in-flight content which is very crucial for us when it comes to airport and airlines, etc. Kinetic has a division called Kinetic Aviator, which focuses on travellers and so with Spafax we have a partner within Tenth Avenue which helps us enhance our understanding and execution of campaigns in this field.
Then we have Forward, which is into content. We haven’t touched much upon content in the conversation, but a company like Forward, which focuses on what is the most relevant content for a particular audience and how do you construct that content, is a great addition to the centerpiece of the entire communication plan.