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The use of new technologies for OOH is still missing in India: Harkirat Singh

11-June-2014
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The use of new technologies for OOH is still missing in India: Harkirat Singh

Harkirat Singh, Managing Director, Woodland India has been with the company since 1989. Singh spent time learning intricacies of the high fashion shoe business during his academic years and concentrated on exports to Europe, the US and other geographies when he first joined business. He has always believed in achieving the aim of making Woodland the leader among outdoor adventure sports wear brands. Singh’s acute perception of the market trends has assisted him to sustain the volume of business even in times of downturns in the market, keeping the brand on top, ahead of competition.

In conversation with exchange4media’s Abhinn Shreshtha, Singh explains his thoughts around OOH media and the need to bring in innovation, especially from the technology side.

When it comes to content in outdoor campaigns, what are the prime things you look at?
Since we are an outdoor and youth focussed brand, we have kept this in mind for our campaigns. Our campaigns are designed around the concepts of adventure, sports and being pro-planet. Whatever medium our campaign is running on, we focus on what difference it makes to our target audience.

On the outdoor side we do a lot of hoardings that highlight these values. We also carry out a number of ground events in colleges along with installations at events like Sunburn. Outdoor or experiential marketing is a great way to showcase what our product stands for. For example, at Sunburn we allowed attendees to try out bungee jumping, rock climbing, etc. We also try to bring in innovations that highlight our messaging and new technologies in our products.

What percentage of your marketing spends is allocated to OOH?
OOH gets a good percentage of the total budget. We use all mediums and OOH is useful for creating a direct contact between customer and brand.

The OOH industry is considered to be highly fragmented with no common currency. How do issues like these impact you as an advertiser?
Sometimes it does get difficult. However, we have a very clear idea about what we expect, in terms of location and impact. We do get confused at times by different quotes from different agencies but we have learned from our experience. We try not to experiment too much. Sometimes we make mistakes but that’s how you learn.

So how do you measure the impact of an OOH campaign?
We continue to carry out market research. Also, these days, with social media, it is not too difficult to get feedback. We are very active on social media and we have seen that it is a two way street, with people starting to talk about any new campaign you do very quickly. Other than this, we have more than 450 stores across the country, so when we have installations in these locations we see a rise in interest in our stores.

What are the changes needed in the outdoor industry to retain and attract more brands towards it?
We need more innovation in OOH. If you see what is being done overseas, especially on the technological side, it is mind boggling. The use of new technologies for OOH advertising is still missing in India. However, we do seem to be catching up but we need to see more integration of innovative technologies with OOH campaigns.

Our typical marketing budget is usually 10 per cent of the topline spend

There are some forces impacting the way our business works. The IT/ITeS sector has changed tremendously. Platforms like Twitter have made everyone journalists. Smartphones have made everyone a photographer. The trend that we are seeing is one of hyperdigitalization, which is causing the lines between product and services to blur. For example, <a href=http://www.exchange4media.com/company/news/amaz...

The OOH sector is among the fastest growing, globally. Brands and marketers have realized its potential and impact and begun to craft medium-specific adverts. Self-regulation is not only necessary but also essential to growth of the sector. The industry needs to exercise a certain level of this self-restraint to prove its commitment to maintaining the best standards in advertising.

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