Out-of-home has more power when brands acknowledge the covid context

Out-of-home has more power when brands acknowledge the covid context

Out-of-home (OOH) has always been one of the most effective broadcast channels, delivering 96% reach of all adults and positively effecting brand metrics.

Over the last few years OOH has evolved into a highly flexible, audience-driven, activation channel following heavy investment in digital sites, new datasets and innovative technology to automate processes. In response to the impact of covid-19, the most savvy brands have been quick to make use of these more advanced capabilities to better understand changing audience mobility and use Digital OOH to its full potential both in terms of placement and dynamic messaging; creating relevant content that considers the context of the environment and mood of the nation.

OOH has the ability to engage audiences in the right location, at the right time and with the right message, in a public, trusted and brand-safe way, making it a valuable part of any brand’s media plan in a post-covid world.

So how can a brand get it right on OOH and make full use of the range of audience-led opportunities to achieve cut-through, make a statement or influence behaviour in these uncertain times?

Understand your audience outdoors

For a few months now people have enjoyed returning to out of home activities – whether that’s going to work, school, shopping or socialising. However, there is no doubt covid has had a significant impact on our lives and while we wait for a vaccine is still very much amongst us. So some behaviours have changed.

Kinetic’s propriety planning platform, Journeys, allows us to track audience mobility via a mix of mobile data (SDK data helps understand location and footfall, and app and browser data helps understand brand affinities) combined with transaction data, ONS and Route (OOH’s audience measurement currency) to understand changes in behaviour in near real-time.

Through Journeys, we know where audiences are by location and time of day. By tracking their movement in relation to OOH sites we know that roadside impact delivery is back to 70% of pre-covid levels, supermarkets are at 80% and malls at 64%. We also know that audiences in city centres, including London, are now increasing at a higher rate than non-conurbations. This suggests people feel comfortable about returning to the office and also venturing further afield for shopping and socialising.

Be adaptive when planning

More than ever, brands need to be flexible. What may have worked pre-covid may not be the most effective post-covid. Planning needs to be agile and adapt to changing behaviours as new regulations are enforced.

Journeys allows us to optimise campaigns against a specific audience – selecting environments, locations and sites where we can achieve higher impact delivery.

With the increase in Digital OOH opportunities we can plan and buy more flexibly; either upweighting key locations or times of day or even transacting in near real-time via programmatic DOOH.

The importance of creativity and context

In the same way brands need to be adaptable with their OOH planning, creative messaging needs to be agile – relevant, reactive and informative, engaging the audience and embracing the mood of the nation. Countless studies have demonstrated that creativity is one of the biggest drivers of sales. And OOH offers layers of creative opportunities that is unrivalled by other channels.

Since lockdown eased, we’ve seen some strong examples of OOH creative.

From Lifebuoy hand sanitiser with its ‘Bish Bash Bosh’ message dominating the London Underground to Coca-Cola’s ‘Open like never before’ campaign that used bespoke copy to support its trade partners including local call outs and imagery of near-by restaurants and bars, deployed in prime socialising hubs.

Lifebuoy's 'Bish Bash Bosh'
Coca Cola's bespoke, localised copy

We’ve also seen innovation in response to new social norms. Skoda recently ran a campaign using contactless interactive technology combined with DOOH mall screens to enable consumers to find out more about their new range of SUVs in a covid-safe way. Sanex installed a giant mural with living moss, encouraging people to embrace their #GoingZero movement to save the planet.

Skoda's covid-safe DOOH
Living moss brings Sanex's green message to life

We continue to live in uncertain times where advertising budgets are under constant scrutiny. But the agile and adaptive capabilities OOH now offers make it a key channel for any brand keen to engage with post-covid audiences in a public, targeted, and most importantly trusted and brand-safe way.