Networked cities, strategically networked touchpoints will be the future: Rachana Lokhande

The Co-CEO of Kinetic India talks about the disruptions the company is planning, the trends, emergence of DOOH and more

e4m by Anjali Thakur
Updated: Sep 23, 2019 8:44 AM

Kinetic Worldwide India, a WPP entity and a leading global player in the OOH media industry, is known to contextually connect and activate audience on the move. We spoke to Kinetic India’s Co-CEO Rachana Lokhande to understand the disruptions the company is planning, the trends, emergence of DOOH and more.

 Edited excerpts:

What are the disruptions you are planning to bring in the outdoor advertising space this fiscal year?

More than disruption, we see it as an intervention to strengthen our existing operations. In order to ensure that we continue to deliver the best, we have initiated consolidation of partners to bring in more transparency. An initiative that took shape in 2018, we began by identifying large partners basis their directly owned current assets and capability to pick up tenders, ensuring that whatever benefits we reaped are passed on to our client without jeopardising their interests. This, complimented with centralisation of trading, will only add to the outreach in this fiscal year. One attribute that we have consistently been pursuing is ensuring that digitisation gets embraced in every aspect of the business to build more transparency for all stakeholders.

According to you, what are the trends in the OOH space in India as well as globally?

One of the most popular trends globally, which is also fast seeping into the Indian market, is mobile complementing OOH in terms of media as well as data.

Another trend is integrating automation with transactions, more commonly known as programmatic DOOH. The OOH space also has a considerable amount of inclination towards investing on DOOH in controlled environments, ensuring that the impact created reaches the accurate target audience at the right time.

What is the size of OOH industry in India?

Overall calculations and data points have indicated that the OOH industry is worth more than Rs 6,000 crore. We have been reading about the various innovative campaigns that have generated awareness towards the OOH space while also uplifting the revenue. But the industry’s extension is still in its nascent stages. It is time to measure our size/growth and integrate it with AdEx – a decentralised ad exchange for advertisers and publishers. This will bring in a wave of seamlessness as a transparent platform as well as for comprehensive analytics.

What do you think is the future of digital out-of-home (DOOH) in India?

Globally, DOOH has its uniqueness in terms of locations, data, filtering, analysing, as well as audience; and thus, have the liberty to play with different creatives and create multiplicity of messaging.

The rapid rise in adaption to DOOH only indicates how agility has been an integral part of our evolution as consumers. As for India, being a country of more than 2000 media owners, we are expected to grow rapidly, but amidst controlled environments. This is also supported by government-led initiatives of smart cities. Networked cities and strategically networked touchpoints will be the future.

Do you see OOH increasing its share of the total advertising pie in the coming year? How is Kinetic leading the OOH industry?

Brands today understand the importance of OOH, much better than they did years ago. The movement is slow but increasing. However, we are still stuck with the conversations of specific inventory. And if we continue with the same, we are not really playing the role of a brand partner. Integrating technology in the way we think as well as execute, enhancing efficiencies by collaborating with partners and bringing in more transparency in the operations will lead to an increase in the share of OOH amidst the advertising pie.

Be it digital, mobile, static or OOH, Kinetic is leading in changing these conversations to location centric and audience planning. We have always focussed on providing holistic solutions to brands. Added to that, our current focus is to leverage the location and unlock its value using mobile data. The industry is on the cusp of evolution and in order to take full advantage, it is essential to unlearn and relearn the medium with data in perspective.

What challenges is the OOH industry facing and what needs to be done to transform the landscape?

Our industry needs to collectively do the basic first -measuring the reach and size of our industry. That will lay the foundation for growth of this industry. We are talking about a power medium, one that has the capacity to evoke emotion and the power to connect. This is the only medium which is larger than life.

For transformation we need to first:

  • Evaluate everything that is done today to devalue the medium. With more and more procurement led decisions, practices are being built just to win the business. It is time to introspect. Are we becoming more responsible for commoditising the medium, devaluing the potential and merely making it a price conversation? Will this practice lead to our industry’s growth?

  • Push for uniform national policy. It is crucial that better policies are brought in by states in terms of regularising sizes, filtering locations, and standardising the acquisition process.

  • Formalise a governing body comprising all types of asset owners to ensure that solutions are built for all and not just for one format.

Your take on Programmatic digital OOH across markets?

With the involvement of technology, digital has a promising future with numerous possibilities. Anything that is digital will eventually become programmatic. It is an important direction that all markets are steering towards. While we haven’t seen any immediate hikes in revenues for now, it is the future, and the few markets that have been working on it, have witnessed substantial results. Over a period of time, OOH is going to be the new point of sale. DOOH has the capability to move away from media or media partner based planning and take rationally analysed steps into audience planning where a customized dynamic and engaging creative can be placed, to make them more relevant.

Kinetic is working towards building a programmatic ecosystem for OOH – one that applies audience and contextual data to properly value inventory and demonstrate results.

How does Kinetic ensure high ROI?  

Kinetic is moving towards measuring campaigns that is not dependant on probabilistic data sets but more reliant on deterministic data sets using mobile data. As a company, we are moving towards audience led planning whether it is mobile or static. Understanding campaign objectives and then designing outcome based OOH solutions is the best method to measure efficacy. Our recent campaign for Manyavar is a perfect example, where we retargeted all audience who were exposed to the OOH delivered footfall (outcome) to the brand stores. 

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