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OOH industry needs a common research currency: Haresh Nayak

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MUMBAI: Remember posters all across the city walls, telling us which film to watch, where to shop or even which party to vote for? Times have changed since then. Today, from just being a reminder medium, the out-of-home business has grown manifold.

Over the last decade, the sector has seen an accelerated evolution of the outdoor business in India. OOH has truly evolved from posters buying to outdoor planning and buying where it is about OOH communications i.e. consumer centric holistic thinking. 

Keeping in mind that the medium can be used effectively, both strategically and tactically, to achieve brand communication objectives, Posterscope, has changed and quickly evolved to the changing needs of the market.

The OOH communication group, which is growing over 60 per cent y-o-y, has launched its new tool Prism Creative across Asia Pacific. The tool, which helps clients gauge how their creative will look on the OOH medium, will reduce the amount of errors, thus helping clients to visualise their campaign better.

The tool, now available to Posterscope clients across the region, will visually show if an advert isn’t suitable for OOH media – with too much text, unsuitable colours or layout errors, and campaigns can be changed before they run.  Prism Creative has the facility to switch from day to night visuals, play digital videos and do a distance check of creative.

A team of five people worked for almost six months talking to clients, vendors and agencies in 10 countries, taking their feedback and then worked with the development team to get the tool rolling. “Simple, useful tools such as these are instrumental in growing our clients businesses as we grow our own and differentiating ourselves in market place so we have a stronger offering,” says Posterscope Asia Pacific regional director Haresh Nayak.

As per FICCI-KPMG 2014 report, the OOH industry has grown by 5.5 per cent CAGR from 2007 to 2013. “Tier II and III markets have been the focus for the last year. And this continues to grow this year as well showing deep penetration to the audiences in rural to create brand awareness supported with innovations and new media,” highlights Nayak while adding that last year OOH was ruled by real estate and BFSI.

This year post elections, it will continue to be real estate with development in regulation of property. “Besides, FMCG has grown with the sector and will further get reactivated with the launch of products and variants,” he adds.

When asked how important is OOH today in a brand's communication plan? Nayak answers, “Customer engagement is the new mantra for advertisers and the OOH space is no different resulting into high impact, high reach and high recall. Brands want a way to create differentiation and outdoor agencies are working towards creating innovative and creative outdoor solution further competing with new advertising mediums such as digital, mobile and social media through media integration which will only increase in the future.”

Even though, the OOH industry in India is growing at a stable rate, it can grow exponentially if the sector is able to get a few things right. For instance, the sector does lack good research and accountability mechanism in India. “Though a lot of agencies have their own research but the industry needs a common research currency. Also, good trade practices will go long way. Things like quality benchmarking, trade licensing etc if mandated and standardised will only help the industry to grow further,” Nayak believes.

Also, as cities grow, the clutter in outdoor media will only increase and this is a genuine concern for trade professionals. In India with the increase in clutter, the quality of media is not improving and hence, it will kill the medium in the long run. The two key elements needed to stand out in this medium are innovation and engagement sustaining the brand message. “With the changing scenario where consumers are spending a lot of time out of home, the crucial thing is to be consistent with the brand value, to ensure that the message is delivered effectively  and to be as innovative as possible to reach out to the consumers in the cluttered environment,” concludes Nayak.

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