‘Clients should demand media neutral planning’
Nabendu Bhattacharyya MD, Milestone Brandcom
Measuring the medium
It is possible to measure the medium and its reach like in any other medium such as TV, print, digital and radio. A few individual agencies including us have built or are in the process of building a planning tool. The bigger issue for us is that a Common Currency needs to be built and vetted by the industry body. This body and every stake holder should realize that the earlier they come together and create the measurement, it will be better for their own living, or else growth will be restricted. Hence, in the interest of the industry and stake holders’ own growth, it is pertinent to create a common currency and all stake holders should contribute to building a pan India currency. The industry body should bring everyone together and initiate the move. However, there are initiatives from specialist agencies to build a planning tool which leads us in a positive direction.
OOH clutter – The Solution
Solution lies within the stake holders. Self regulation has to be imposed by the industry body, else one fine day there would be a complete ban in the industry. Hence, it is better to have fewer, better, and standardized mediums rather than lots of sites which may result in bigger loss and problems. Internationally, do’s and don’ts are controlled by industry associations and it is high time the industry association here imposes greater control over the medium and create a guide book in consultation with local corporation and authorities and regularize the industry in terms of clutter and lay down golden rules in the industry before it is too late.
A few authorities in India are taking stringent efforts to control the medium like in Mumbai , Chandigarh etc. But I think before authorities act, the industry body should act and create self regulations.
Credit issues faced by media owners
If you take the learning’s from IBF and INS, it is them who have taken initiatives and written the rules on credit policy. So again, it is the industry body comprising of media owners and agency that should create credit norms in line with IBF and INS. Some work has gone in by industry association in each city and it is largely controlled in terms of bad debt issue. Yet it is not imposed by the industry body or if it is done, it is not followed strictly.
If we need to take out the best from the medium, technology usage has to be introduced to get the best out of the medium in line with international media formats. I already mentioned that lesser but better mediums are more important than number of formats and clutter. Media owners need to move to authorities with international case studies to request for a long term permission for digital media at a pan INDIA level and I am sure that a joint force with better revenue opportunity proposal to the government will be a good reason to consider the medium, as it opens up huge possibilities for the brands and is also in the interest of the government.
Focus on OOH as compared to other media
There are two streams of agencies that are responsible for the lack of growth in the OOH medium:
1. Media planning agency - Planning agencies are no more media neutral. With the excuse of no measurement they tweak their plan to drive their own profit centre target. There are various data centres available like IRS, TGI to build a scientific planning in favor of OOH medium, BUT why would they do that if they don’t add to their target. Hence clients need to step in and demand media neutral planning which is going to be the best treatment for brands. Hence, clients need to budget for OOH annually and not allot the left-overs.
2. Creative agency - Very few create partners understand the OOH medium; hence often we experience cut-paste job of a press creative on OOH. Clients don’t get excited unless they see medium specific creatives. Hence, clients should demand from creative agencies to understand the medium on the streets before creating creatives or assigning creative duties to OOH specialist agencies -they are doing better jobs than creative agencies today. All thanks to a few brand and marketers who are brutal about their OOH creatives, and started directly giving creative briefs to OOH specialist agencies and approving the creatives. There is a clear challenge thrown to creative agencies and almost all OOH specialist houses have a creative cell and it is to our pride that even we are winning gold in the Goa fest for our team’s ideation. It talks about the strength of OOH specialist agencies’ creative understanding about the formats and clients are open to the idea that the best work can come from anyone and that is what matters. The point is that clients need to be very strong with creative agencies to get out the best creative on each medium separately.