Today, generating awareness and enhancing an existing image are merely the price of entry to compete in a given market. Today’s consumers are yesterday’s Generation Xers – complete with short attention spans and the ubiquitous ‘been-there-done-that’ attitude. Spontaneity reigns supreme in activities that unfold the day-to-day routine. Memory is relative, something that computers have. It is against this backdrop of a profound cultural and technology-driven shift in the current Indian OOH industry that prompted Network Media Solutions to go for a tender that would give them a unified medium of branded backlit digital clocks as a medium of advertising at Western Railway stations in Mumbai.
As Ajaz Memon, Director, Network Media Solutions says, “The key factor was that there was a demand from advertisers to have a single unified medium across all the Western Railway stations in Mumbai to target all the commuters together. This was the only tender which interested us among a host of others as it gave us the opportunity.”
The time-sensitive media selection becomes even more favourable on the platforms amidst the clutter that is prevalent across Western Railway stations. Memon acknowledges the same as he says, “Our 3’X1’ digital clock is equipped with self-updating GPS mechanism so that the time on the clocks will update itself at regular intervals and will require minimum maintenance except replacing a worn-out part or an LED bulb. Our LED clock syncs well with 3’X1’ backlit display and we are sure that it will attract attention, because railway commuters will check the time regularly to check if the train is on time or not. Hence, our medium will attain both visibility and attention.”
But what has been overlooked in the current outdoor media is the common misperception that lower media cost naturally equates better communication, especially in a media climate that is dominated by clutter and complexity, consistency of message and or image. It is critical to tap the commuting passengers.
Memon explains, “It makes more sense for us to launch amid clutter to really appreciate the USP of the medium. Also, places such as airports are far more expensive as a medium for clients to afford displays in volumes. The Railways target the masses and the numbers justify the investment, with approximately 10 crore passengers that commute every month.” He further adds, “While earlier, clients used to spend lakhs of rupees on a few sites at a few stations, now for a few lakhs, they will get coverage across all the WR stations at one go. We have installed a total of 360 displays covering each platform that lie between Churchgate and Virar.”
Recognising that a ‘brand’ is more than a product’s name is a step in this direction. Actually, a better way to understand a brand is from a relationship perspective. Every established brand has a multitude of established relationships: with vendors, with the trade, with the media and most importantly, with consumers. Some of these relationships are more important than others, but they all contribute to the success of the brand.
Accepting this new thinking, branding, first, as a marketing function, and secondly, as an opportunity to deliver consistent exposure to targeted customers. Revealing his strategic approach, Memon says, “Over the years, a number of strategic advertising approaches have been put forward and used to create favourable perceptions about the brand and persuade the consumers to own them. These approaches offer completely different routes to play up the consumers, but the objective is the same for all: ‘Make consumers prefer the brand’.”
“At present, we have a unique selling and positioning approach for marketing our medium, wherein we claim to offer a superior medium that is sustained by the unique features or benefits that no other medium can claim. Secondly, we want to create a unique mental niche in the clientele’s mind that is based on satisfaction of their most important and relevant need expectation from the product category, and that is why we are offering four packages at the rate of of Rs 5 lakh per month. We will be providing our clients with one clock plus display on each of the 90 platforms that form a part of the 28 stations between Churchgate and Virar,” Memon adds.
As a media owner / marketer in today’s competitive OOH world, one cannot afford to look at any selling efforts as an isolated transaction any more. It has to have a built-in element of a ‘repeat’ transaction possibility. This possibility usually comes from a feeling in both the parties (targeted clients and media owner) of having gained something from the transaction.
Memon reaffirms as he says, “The outcome must be a mutually positive one, not just at the time of purchase, but also after the use of the product. Therefore, only a win-win selling approach will be a sustainable one, and we are sure that with our commercial plan that is already in place, we will soon be touching the breakeven point.”
“The industries that we are targeting for clientele include telecom, insurance, banks, MFs, and FMCGs, and to some extent TV channels – businesses that want to target masses at economical costs, yet make a big impact. All the stations will have identical displays, though the numbers will vary depending on the number of platforms per station,” Memon concludes.