“WHAT OTHER MARKETS ACHIEVED IN 5-10 YEARS, WILL NEED TO BE ACHIEVED BY US IN TWO”
Suresh Balakrishna, CEO, South Asia and Middle East, Kinetic Worldwide talks about the scope of the OOH industry from an Indian perspective…
On Accountability: The Indian Outdoor Advertising Association (IOAA) is making efforts to improve accountability in the industry. They have increased their membership base, and are trying to get everybody on the same page to work on a syndicated study. However, large agencies like us are trying to find our own ways to track measurability of the medium. Today, clients are looking for accountability and asking what the medium is doing for their brand. While we have Aureus that helps us with measurement, we are also working closely with Kantar and Nielsen this year to come up with a new measurement practice. We need to provide answers to our clients and we are working aggressively on it from an agency perspective.
On increasing interest in advertisers for location-based campaigns:
More and more advertisers are getting excited about cutting-edge technology like geo-fencing for their OOH campaigns, and technologybased companies like Facebook and Google are leading the way. Our recent campaign for Google Maps – its creative, the evolution of the idea, as well as the whole purpose was locationbased. Similarly, everybody is into micro-marketing these days. Each client has his own areas where the brand is doing well or other criteria. Therefore, the focus of OOH is on location-based marketing. Today, thanks to the availability of data, advertisers are able to pinpoint and tell us whether a particular location needs a different kind of treatment, and the solution could range from doing a new creative, to marrying it with mobile, to doing some geo-fencing at the location, or even sending consumers to a particular store. OOH is the best suited medium for such micro-location marketing. While a lot of brands are taking this very seriously, some are still experimenting with it.
On the importance of innovation to break clutter:
I believe we, as an agency, have always been ahead of the curve when it comes to innovation. The last two years have been fabulous for us, in terms of our body of work. No other medium can be as innovative as OOH. Other mediums like TV or Print have their restrictions and limitations. We, however, can bring alive a whole
gamut of consumer experiences. Innovation is a part of our DNA and most clients expect exactly that from us, so it works well on both counts for us.
On the scope of Digital OOH in India:
While the presence of Digital OOH is currently restricted largely to airports and malls, things are moving in the right direction. In a month’s time, we expect the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to pass a tender for putting up 100 digital screens in South Mumbai. The document is expected to be released soon. BMC will give us a month to respond to it, just in case the industry has any reservations around the guidelines. Once that is cleared, the tender will be opened. I believe that once the BMC does this, other cities will follow suit. Moreover, metro pillars which are increasingly coming up in different cities can be used for putting up digital screens too. I expect to see an explosion in the availability of digital inventory in the country in the next two years, which will help fuel growth.
On the challenges ahead:
India is a land of opportunities and more than looking at this as a challenge, I look at it as an opportunity. While the industry has been growing, the rate of growth needs to accelerate. Some of the larger challenges of any growing market are how to expand the market, how to get brands to buy more OOH ads, how to get media owners to become more organized in a fragmented market like India, how to put in place standardized procedures, how to standardize ways of doing business, and how to become more transparent as a medium. However, these are challenges that most markets have faced. Even the global markets have gone through an evolution process. For us, the challenge is to speed up this evolution process. What other markets achieved in 5-10 years, will need to be achieved in two years by us. The challenge for us is thus to move faster than other markets, but I have no doubt that we will do that, and we will probably reach there well ahead of anybody else.