“Future lies in smart outdoor that recognises & reacts to consumer types”

With Indians increasingly spending time out of home for work, leisure & shopping, OOH is a very imp tool for marketers, says Hanneli Slabber of South African Tourism

e4m by Twishy
Updated: Mar 25, 2013 7:47 PM
“Future lies in smart outdoor that recognises & reacts to consumer types”

How about portraying the country’s unforgettable travel experiences such as magnificent wildlife, beautiful beaches, adrenaline boosting adventure activities, shopping, nightlife, food & wine through the outdoor medium? This trend is increasingly seen and marketers have started understanding the emerging importance of the outdoor medium that ensures effective delivery of the message.

The medium has started gaining prominence in the media mix and advertisers cannot ignore outdoor because it builds awareness and adds momentum to the growth of a brand.  With the increasing amount of time spent by Indian consumers out of home for work, leisure, and shopping, this medium will be an important tool for marketers. It is widely believed that the size of the advertising industry is a perfect indicator of the standard of living of people in a particular country and its economic development.

The big question that emerges here is, what should be the rightful place for OOH in tourism – an area that relies on content-rich information?

Hanneli Slabber, Country Manager, South African Tourism said, “Travel sells through stories. The stories we tell needs context. Attention grabbing editorial ensures effective delivery of the commercial message. In OOH, the medium has always been the message. This particular medium carries a message without context.”

According to her, as a tourism brand, the communication strategy should build brand awareness, response and sale and create a community around the brand. It is important to understand the life cycle and various touch-points and strike a balance between keeping global and local.

She highlighted some of the global trends used to shape the media principles of the tourism brand. Search for value and cautious approach to credit were some of the important trends. “People power is extremely important. People do their own research, make their opinions known and take a more active role in product development and promotion – specifically in the food services and tourism industry,” she added. Societies are becoming more multicultural and parents and children share same cultures and behaviours and the internet is breaking down age barriers.

“Experience-based consumption leads to development of niche tourism and it is a huge boost for responsible and sustainable tourism,” she said. She believes that consumers are vocal to support brands that do well and they are prepared to pay more for products that are ethically produced, sustainable or promise charity. Smart devices such as mobile phones and tablets are becoming very crucial. She also pointed out the rise of multi-generational holidays in today’s world.

According to Slabber, the biggest challenge is that tourism sells by stories and there is a need for more than seven words. “The challenge has been to balance the formats and content of a billboard to understand what affects the speed of recognition of South Africa and to enhance its appeal,” she added.

Limited availability also remains a major challenge because prime locations are controlled by large and long-term advertisers. The lack of effective measuring tools is another major challenge, pointed out Slabber. The low recall due to brief exposure and adverse weather conditions along with growing environmental concerns have reduced or limited the placement of outdoor advertising. The messages on the medium are inflexible and stay up for a duration.
She feels that it can be a preferred medium because the cost per thousand is lower than any other medium and it can appear year around without interrupting people in their daily lives.
The industry is the only mass advertising medium that functions without an editorial context. “You have to be loud, bold and in their faces to create a high visual impact,” she said.

The OOH Industry is still unorganised and quite fragmented, but there is a need to capitalise on literacy of the IT generation. Going digital is the way forward to succeed in the industry. She believes that it is the only medium where digital enhances rather than undermining.
“We need a complete revolution on outdoor creative. Creative is still mostly being adapted instead of being originated specifically for outdoor. We are about more digital billboards because of great creative opportunities it poses, if we all go from paper to pixel and nothing else changes, we are wasting the medium,” she stated.

With increasing proliferation of smartphones, OOH is becoming personal. According to her, digital opens up the door to social networks and the context in which people experience outdoor becomes important. She believes that social media will be done as a result of OOH. “Smart outdoor that recognises and reacts to consumer types is the call for the future,” said Slabber.

In conversation with Shripad Kulkarni, CEO, Allied Media, on measurement tools, Slabber said that we have to come out with a standardised methodology of collecting data. Kulkarni pointed out that outdoor medium is the most cost effective. However, outdoor doesn’t play on the strings it has and is not able to give the quality of reach that it should be giving. “Outdoor needs to come out more intelligently to ensure that people understand the message,” she remarked. 

Hanneli Slabber shared her views at the 3rd edition of exchage4media’s OOH Conference and Awards held on March 22, 2013 in Gurgaon.

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