OOH: Fortune favours the brave

Beyond the numbers, it’s clear that OOH presents a huge opportunity for brands - if they’re brave enough to seize it, argues Rapport's Paul Sambrook.

The business value out-of-home (OOH) can deliver is unrivalled. And yes, I would say that, wouldn’t I?

Before you groan though, I have some eye-opening stats to help build my case. OOH within advertising campaigns increases market share by 36 percent, boosts profits by 20 percent and attracts 15 percent more new customers. These are compelling numbers, not least because they come from IPA Effectiveness case studies and have been pulled together for Rapport’s ‘Standing on the Shoulders of Giants’ report by industry analyst Peter Field.

Beyond the numbers, it’s clear that OOH presents a huge opportunity for brands - if only they’re brave enough to seize it. OOH is a flexible and creative offering that helps build brand equity, fame and esteem.

As the report highlights, OOH boosts esteem by 41 percent and fame by 32 percent. Of course, these are part of an overall campaign, but what I’m getting at is that OOH is so much more than a ‘nice to have’ on a media plan.

OOH is sometimes shot down when held next to digital, due to the former’s comparatively less-targeted approach. It is sometimes perceived (incorrectly) as wastage in contrast to data-heavy digital, and difficult to measure. However, that’s just not the case. You’re marketing to innumerable potential new customers in a variety of innovative ways. New brands basing their businesses solely around digital need to see this value - they have to be taken out of the solely short-term, data-driven response state. Digital is just one piece of the pie, and OOH can only further complement their wider marketing strategy.

OOH is a highly versatile channel that must be exploited. Advances in technology have taken outdoor from being a traditionally fixed medium that boosts brand fame into something that now also drives sales activations with the dynamic, tailored benefits of digital. It’s the best of both worlds.

OOH’s long-term effects are well-known, but the report's findings show that it excels in the short-term, too. Those who invest 15 percent or more of their budget on the medium receive an uplift of 47 percent in short-term sales activations versus those who don’t.

However, the brands that get the most out of OOH are the ones that adapt to what the medium has now become. They use both brand and activation as KPIs. Our work with Clover achieved just that. Analysis showed that TV, and to a lesser extent press, were the dominant media channels for this sector. This made OOH an under-utilised medium to exploit, so we created a three-phase brand-response campaign strategy. The launch phase focused on delivering mass reach and brand fame, which we used roadside billboards nationally. Using a high-impact media choice at launch also helped prime our second phase of activity, aimed at delivering cost-efficient sustained awareness.

Interspersed before, during and after the ‘sustain’ awareness phase was a ‘sales drive’ activation, consisting of point-of-sale support at numerous key retailers. Clover’s simple OOH communication strengthened brand health and increased claimed purchases by 12 percent. A direct, on-the-nose message, ‘Nothing artificial gets in’ resonated with people on the street. It’s not complicated; it’s a brand-strengthening strapline that sells without being overly salesy.

And yes, reach remains a fundamental KPI in most cases, but OOH can now tailor itself to a multitude of needs like never before, augmenting and amplifying campaigns. Take our digital OOH push for Continental Tyres, giving football fans the chance to live tweet answers to screens for the chance to win tickets for the UEFA Euro final. It was the full works, with live data and Twitter feeds lending a greater interactive element and the screens’ positions in prominent places such as Waterloo station and (obviously) the pub. This bolstered the initiative’s reach and the brand’s longstanding fame at the same time.

It’s engaging. It’s memorable. It’s brand-boosting. It’s data-driven. Perhaps this is why OOH amplifies the business effects of paid-social by 20 percent?

Ultimately, OOH is an investment. Whether used in bursts or an ‘always-on’ fashion, it’s an integral part of any media campaign. Hopefully this report is testament unto itself, but just to reiterate: ignore OOH at your business’ own expense, or integrate and fully embrace it within your brand’s strategy to reap the rewards.

For more information, download a copy of the research.

Paul Sambrook is Global Marketing Director at Rapport.

Last updated 21 January 2022