‘IF GOOGLE, FACE­BOOK, NET­FLIX & AMA­ZON BET BIG ON OOH, IT’S BE­CAUSE IT WORKS’

MARC-AN­TOINE DE ROYS GLOBAL CEO, KI­NETIC WORLD­WIDE

Impact - - CONTENTS - BY SAMARPITA BAN­ER­JEE

On his maiden visit to In­dia, Marc-An­toine de Roys, Global CEO, Ki­netic World­wide re­veals his am­bi­tious plan for the coun­try, which is to make Ki­netic’s Indian busi­ness as big as China, their largest mar­ket. He also talks about the ef­forts that the agency is tak­ing to make the Out-of-Home medium more ac­count­able

The Out-of-Home (OOH) in­dus­try, pos­si­bly the oldest medium of ad­ver­tis­ing, is per­haps also the most re­silient. It is one medium that has man­aged to stand the test of time and con­tinue grow­ing, de­spite the changes in the over­all ad­ver­tis­ing ecosys­tem. And why not? Con­sider this: a per­son today spends a con­sid­er­able amount of time in daily com­mute, ei­ther on the road, the sub­way or on the bus. In this sce­nario OOH is one medium that has the po­ten­tial to in­stantly grab eye­balls, build an im­me­di­ate con­nect with con­sumers and make a huge im­pact. Throw in some in­no­va­tions, add a dig­i­tal touch, and the oldest medium can eas­ily ri­val any of the new-age ad­ver­tis­ing medi­ums.

The ad­vent of Dig­i­tal OOH has seen more and more mar­keters loosen their purse strings and ex­plore the end­less pos­si­bil­i­ties that this medium can of­fer. It is this po­ten­tial that Marc-An­toine de Roys, Global CEO, Ki­netic World­wide, WPP’s out-of-home me­dia plan­ning and buy­ing agency, wants both ad­ver­tis­ers as well as the OOH in­dus­try to wake up to.

“I want to make OOH more fa­mous, and this is pretty much the am­bi­tion of a lot of play­ers in the in­dus­try today,” said De Roys, on his re­cent trip to In­dia. De­spite be­ing a dy­namic medium with wide­spread reach, OOH has not been able to grow as fast as some of the other medi­ums like TV and Dig­i­tal. One of the pri­mary rea­sons for this is the lack of ac­count­abil­ity and mea­sur­a­bil­ity, which has made mar­keters wary of putting in big money. Given this sce­nario, how does one make the medium more ap­peal­ing to mar­keters?

For De Roys, the so­lu­tion is greater in­te­gra­tion be­tween all the con­cerned stake­hold­ers; be it me­dia own­ers, agen­cies or even com­pe­ti­tion. “Work­ing to­gether would help all of us work bet­ter. We could co­or­di­nate a num­ber of ac­tions which would al­low us, as an in­dus­try, to make the medium fa­mous,” he adds.

PO­SI­TION­ING OF THE OOH IN­DUS­TRY TODAY

The year 2017 was a dif­fi­cult one, not just for Indian ad­ver­tis­ing, but glob­ally too, and it wasn’t very dif­fer­ent for Ki­netic. De

Roys re­veals that the agency saw flat growth for the first time in

years, ow­ing to rea­sons rang­ing from the loss of a few clients to ad­ver­tis­ers curb­ing over­all OOH spend. How­ever, the year 2018, he said, has started on a pos­i­tive note, and he sees an up­ward trend in most mar­kets where the agency op­er­ates.

That said, from an Indian per­spec­tive, the past year has been good for Ki­netic In­dia. It is cur­rently han­dling blue-chip names that in­clude the likes of Google, Net­flix and Face­book - com­pa­nies that bet big on OOH and also are among the big­gest spenders for the medium in the coun­try. What has also added to the cheer is the agency’s big-ticket ac­count wins in the past few months, which in­clude Star In­dia, Honda Cars In­dia, Maruti Suzuki and Ex­ide. Ki­netic In­dia’s billings were close to the tune of Rs 500 crore last year, a 10% jump over the pre­vi­ous year.

Go­ing for­ward, Suresh Balakr­ishna, CEO, South Asia and Mid­dle East, Ki­netic World­wide says that he is op­ti­mistic about the year ahead and is con­fi­dent of achiev­ing the set tar­gets. “2018 has started off well for us. The first quar­ter num­bers are look­ing strong. We have pre­dicted ag­gres­sive growth rate pro­jec­tions in In­dia for 2018, be­cause we an­tic­i­pate it to be a much bet­ter year than 2017. And we are very much on track so far,” he says.

DIG­I­TAL OOH: THE GAME-CHANGER

The solid per­for­mance in the past few months can also be at­trib­uted to the launch of the agency’s pro­pri­etary tool, Au­reus last year. Given the fact that the OOH medium in In­dia is clut­tered and highly frag­mented with mea­sur­a­bil­ity be­ing a ma­jor con­cern for ad­ver­tis­ers, the tool is de­signed to work with all part­ners in the OOH me­dia value chain, in­clud­ing busi­ness as­so­ciates, agency buy­ers and plan­ners, and ad­ver­tis­ers, with the aim of de­liv­er­ing smarter OOH Me­dia plan­ning for every cam­paign. So far, Au­reus has proved to be a game-changer for the agency as it guar­an­tees seam­less plan­ning. Re­marks Balakr­ishna, “Au­reus has been a game-changer for us ever since its launch. The credit for many of our re­cent ac­count wins; be it Star In­dia, Maruti Suzuki or Honda, goes to the tool. Clients have been pleas­antly sur­prised at the fact that even OOH can be planned in a rea­son­ably so­phis­ti­cated way.”

While In­dia is still op­er­at­ing on Au­reus 1, the global mar­kets have up­graded to the sec­ond ver­sion of the tool. As per Balakr­ishna, if things fall in place, Ki­netic will be launch­ing Au­reus 2 in In­dia by the end of this year.

Glob­ally, OOH is the only tra­di­tional medium that has seen con­sis­tent growth and this growth can be as­cribed to mar­ry­ing Dig­i­tal with OOH. The in­creased shift to Dig­i­tal sig­nage and in­no­va­tions has re­sulted in sig­nif­i­cant ex­pan­sion in OOH, be it in Europe, US and even Asia. How­ever, where does In­dia fig­ure in the global scheme of things? Ac­cord­ing to De Roys, while In­dia does not fig­ure in the top five mar­kets for the agency cur­rently, the growth op­por­tu­nity is im­mense. “Cur­rently, In­dia is per­form­ing in line with the rest of the mar­kets. The po­ten­tial here is mas­sive when you com­pare it to sev­eral other

mar­kets. Today, the Indian mar­ket’s size al­most equals the size of the Thai­land mar­ket. How­ever, in my mind, there is no rea­son why In­dia can­not be­come the size of the China mar­ket, which brings in the max­i­mum busi­ness for us. This means we need to grow the mar­ket about ten­fold here. How­ever, I hope it hap­pens quickly,” he adds.

THE FU­TURE: MO­BILE + OOH

With the rapid growth of lo­ca­tion-based mar­ket­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion on the back of in­creased smart­phone pen­e­tra­tion, mar­keters now have a mul­ti­tude of op­tions to tar­get con­sumers. This has led to tra­di­tional medi­ums, such as Tele­vi­sion, Print and Ra­dio, jump­ing on to the Dig­i­tal band­wagon in one for­mat or the other. Ex­perts pre­dict that the con­ver­gence of mo­bile and OOH will be the next big thing for the OOH in­dus­try. This is not sim­ply in terms of con­tex­tual tar­get­ing, but also in terms of in­creased use of data, as well as so­cial am­pli­fi­ca­tions.

It is this op­por­tu­nity that De Roys be­lieves will drive the next phase of growth for the in­dus­try, as well as for Ki­netic. Elab­o­rat­ing on this he says, “There is so much we can do with the mo­bile. The power of OOH, when en­hanced by mo­bile, is in­cred­i­ble. It may not be ex­po­nen­tial, but it is in­cred­i­ble. It can help in am­pli­fy­ing cam­paigns through so­cial me­dia or have con­sumer in­ter­ac­tions with an ad through QR codes.”

More­over, mo­bile can also help drive bet­ter mea­sur­a­bil­ity for the in­dus­try in the fu­ture, which is one of the big­gest chal­lenges that the in­dus­try is fac­ing today. Com­ments De Roys, “Mea­sur­a­bil­ity is a prob­lem ev­ery­where and not just in In­dia. How­ever, some mar­kets like the UK have put in place some in­dus­try data which al­lows us to po­si­tion the OOH medium bet­ter, and more and more play­ers are work­ing on ad­dress­ing the is­sue.” He con­tin­ues, “Mo­bile, again is the so­lu­tion for us today. Mea­sure­ment is dif­fi­cult in the OOH ecosys­tem be­cause of the spread of the mar­ket. Ow­ing to the huge num­ber of as­sets in the in­dus­try, it is al­most im­pos­si­ble to con­trol and mon­i­tor. You could send peo­ple phys­i­cally on the ground to take pic­tures, but even then you can never be 100% sure about the ac­cu­racy. With dif­fer­ent mo­bile tech­nolo­gies com­ing in, how­ever, we will be able to track and mon­i­tor ev­ery­thing much more ef­fi­ciently and not only re­port on de­liv­ery, but also add other rel­e­vant in­for­ma­tion like traf­fic counts and get con­tex­tual in­for­ma­tion.”

Cur­rently, Ki­netic In­dia’s mar­ket share is be­tween 18-20%. It will be in­ter­est­ing to see how the agency gains more mileage on the back of its pro­pri­etary tools, in­creased Dig­i­tal and data us­age and in­no­va­tions; and how it man­ages to cap­ture the at­ten­tion of the trav­eller on the go.

Source: Pitch Madi­son Ad­ver­tis­ing Re­port 2018

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