Self-regulation is necessary for growth of OOH sector: Vicky Ahuja

"The industry needs to exercise a certain level of self-restraint to prove its commitment to maintaining the best standards in advertising," says Vicky Ahuja, Director (Marketing & Sales) of Baggit

e4m by Abhinn Shreshtha
Updated: May 23, 2015 8:55 AM
Self-regulation is necessary for growth of OOH sector: Vicky Ahuja

Vicky Ahuja, Director of Marketing & Sales, Baggit has led the company towards attaining the ‘brand’ status and pioneered the Exclusive Brand Outlets concept in LFRs within the company. He also structured the franchisee model within Baggit within the company. Under his guidance the brand has achieved 40 per cent growth.

In conversation with exchange4media, he speaks  about Baggit’s approach to outdoor advertising. Excerpts.

When it comes to content in outdoor campaigns, what are the prime things you look at?
The content needs to be creative, interesting and intriguing enough to draw attention. The communication needs to be crisp and clear in line to the brand imagery and product proposition.

What are the essentials that a brand should have for an on-ground activity?
Brand engagement with the audience is an absolute necessity. The audience should feel part of the ongoing campaign/activity. Engagements and conversions are some of the essentials when it comes to on-ground brand activations.

The OOH industry is largely labelled as unstructured. Where does outdoor feature in your media plans?
Leading agencies are increasingly investing in the medium’s to deliver approximate scientific outcomes per campaign. These agencies have also invested in third party monitoring agencies, in order to secure the client interests. OOH plays a pivotal role in not only delivering the campaign objective but also in tapping localised presence.

Beyond innovation, do you think smart planning should be the ground rule while designing an outdoor campaign?
Definitely smart planning and buying goes hand-in-hand for a successful OOH campaign. The quality, format and placement of media matters a lot.

What are the changes needed in the outdoor industry to retain and attract more brands towards it?
Even though the OOH industry is gaining prominence due to its possibility of localised reach, it still remains a widely untapped opportunity. Organised structure, ROI, monitory mechanism and most importantly leverage/leeway from the local municipal authorities.

Do you think there is a need for self-regulation in the OOH sector?
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.  Effective measures for self-regulation by the industry assures consumers that the products / services being advertised honest, decent, truthful; thus building a trust in the consumers for the medium.

The FICCI-KPMG India Media and Entertainment Industry Report 2015 states that the Indian OOH industry growth in FY2014 was well beyond expectations and that the industry is poised to board a higher growth trajectory in the coming years. The report concludes that the Indian OOH industry is expected to grow at a CAGR of 9.8 per cent to reach Rs 35.1 billion by the year 2019. For an industry so large, self-regulation will play an important role in increasing its market share of the overall advertising pie.

Do you feel outdoor agencies need to be more flexible in terms of their offerings?
The idea is to bring the consumer closer to the brand than just mere sell space. Transit media, cinema advertising, mall facades, office complexes, airports and traditional media are various OOH mediums; sometimes one of the medium would help the brand grow and sometimes a combination of it does the trick.

The outdoor industry doesn’t have a common currency. As a marketer, how much does this worry you?
Measurement is always debatable. Ratings of TV, print and radio have been disputed. Marketers settle for a combination of out of home sites that they perceive as good sites that bring impact and visibility. At the end of the day a good campaign would get noticed and social media, word of mouth and the fraternity would give a good indication to marketers about the response to a campaign. Sales teams and trade partners is the final acid test and the feedback they provide is also extremely important to gather and incorporate in plans coming up later.

From a technology perspective, what do you think is needed to better attract audiences?
The challenge is to create something that stimulates audience engagement and encourages sharing on social media.

Digital OOH has still not taken off in India, as a client do you think this form of outdoor advertising will help your brand and what is the progress you would like to see in this regards?
Digital OOH will definitely help brands progress. It will provide more opportunities to engage consumers and expose them to a variety of communications. Digital communication is the largest media opportunity in this generation. A combination of OOH with digital is sure to provide brands with greater opportunities to connect with end consumers. Studies prove that videos have more recall in comparison to static content.

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