Enhancing Out-of-Home Advertising Strategies
Out-of-home (OOH) advertising or outdoor advertising is one of the oldest forms of advertising, yet it remains a vital marketing communication tool. Its impact has not diminished despite the disruptive effects of technology and the existence of other forms of advertising. Outdoor advertising is a medium for reaching consumers throughout the day as they commute to work, shop or embark on other activities that take them out of their places of residence. However, it is incumbent on media planners and advertisers to implement strategies for enhancing the effectiveness of out-of-home advertising campaigns.
In the December 2016 edition of this publication, I discussed the growth opportunities in OOH advertising in Nigeria. I highlighted digital OOH platforms that are helping brands to be more competitive and increase call-to-action. Other growth opportunities, as mentioned in the article, are sharing economy – which is stimulating growth in the industry through co-ownership of sites; consolidations are also gaining ground as a means to maximise corporate growth; emerging regulatory trends are also helping to promote best practice.
The objective of this article is to briefly highlight some of the ways by which companies can drive increased sales and boost brand awareness through OOH advertising. The proliferation of various forms of outdoor advertising is indicative of the fact that this channel of marketing communication delivers high return on investment for advertisers.
As an above-the-line marketing communication tool, out-of-home advertising focuses on the mass audience for the purpose of creating brand awareness and brand recall. An effective OOH offering minimizes the decay rate associated with advertising campaigns. Decay rate is the time it takes for a person to forget an advertising campaign message. But as various studies have shown, OOH is a vehicle of recall for brands. In other words, it increases the level of retention of advertising campaign messages on the minds of consumers.
The attention span of outdoor advertising consumers is limited because they are often exposed to the campaign messages while they are in transit. Therefore, OOH messages must have clarity and take a strong visual storytelling approach to draw attention of consumers and elicit immediate response. All the various forms of outdoor advertising – such street furniture advertising, on-vehicle or transit advertising, in-store advertising – have the potential to influence a consumer's buying decision at the time they are on their way to purchase a product.
Some OOH vehicles cater to captive audiences. For instance, displaying a digital billboard at the airport, train station, bus shelter or in the lobby of a hotel or cinema can reach the captive audiences while they are waiting at those locations. However, the effectiveness of the communication channel can be achieved through high aesthetic quality, clarity, humour, and sometimes the choice of brand ambassador.
Research has found that for an OOH to get the attention of the consumer, the campaign needs to reach the consumer on the following three cognitive levels: rational, emotional and cultural. The consumer needs to rationally interpret the campaign message, the message must elicit an instinctive emotional reaction and the consumer needs to determine whether or not the message is relevant to him or her in order to make the choice of either rejecting or accepting it.
Due to the limited window of opportunity to communicate to the customer who is on the go, simplicity of the campaign is a key factor. The textual elements incorporated in the campaign must be minimal. It is advised that the message should pivot on a single idea or concept to allow for easy interpretation by the consumer. As benign as typefaces may seem, they help distinguish between readable and nonreadable OOH campaign messages. Large fonts enhance legibility from long distances. Also, appropriate spacing between letters, words, and numbers will enhance visibility of campaign materials.
With the ubiquity of technology nowadays, combining interactive mobile technology with out-of-home advertising can foster a two-way communication between the brand and consumers. Some brands have achieved high customer engagement by providing short codes to prompt immediate response from prospective customers.
Colour is also a critical and essential element when thinking about OOH designs and executing the campaign. An outdoor advertising campaign executed with brilliant colour contrast evokes an emotional response that arouses the consumer interest along with positive impressions about the brand. Contrasting colours are highly recommended in out-ofhome advertising because the colours make viewing the campaign messages from far distances possible. Studies have shown that high colour contrasts can facilitate OOH campaign recall by 30-80 per cent.
Imagery enhances the creativity of a design. As such, the imagery of outdoor campaigns must be bold, clear, and easy to understand. A strong image against simple backgrounds can enhance the visual effects. With advances in photography and production technology, the scope for producing high-quality imagery in outdoor advertising designs has expanded.
Corporate or brand ambassadors also constitute huge marketing resources for organisations rolling out OOH campaigns. Loyal customers of a brand are often its brand ambassadors, providing advocacy, etc. However, for many large organisations, celebrity endorsement is an integral feature of their advertising campaign strategy to promote their products and generate more sales.