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OOH Delivers Long-Term Brand Salience, Value

Date: January 14, 2019

OOH is an ideal medium to bring meaning back to advertising and help brands reconnect with consumers, according to the new WARC Best Practice paper How OOH can deliver cut-through in the attention economy. OOH can deliver long-term brand salience and value at a time when the attention economy has become focused on clicks, shares, and instant gratification.

Digital advertising is reaching a tipping point. One in three consumers now says they dislike online ads, while more than half are using ad blockers. Brands are also questioning the impact of their digital advertising spend. Dissatisfaction with digital has, in part, been driven by a trend for favoring short-termism. Brands must focus on quality and remember the importance of brand building for delivering long-term value.

OOH has always delivered mass reach, visual impact, and location targeting. But where OOH really comes into its own in the digital age is with its power to cut through the noise and grab consumers’ attention with unrivaled creativity. By doing so, it can be central to long-term brand building to counteract the short-termism driven by online media.

Sunlight & Seduction, a study into the cultural significance of OOH by strategic insight firm Truth, identifies six key characteristics that set OOH apart:

  1. Absorbency: OOH catches people when they’re in an ultra-absorbent state of mind – on the move. Simultaneously, OOH ads don’t have an ‘off-switch’ – they’re always there, with the ability to appear in our peripheral vision and broadcast instantaneous messages across high volumes of people.

  2. Enchantment: Cultural signage in the real-world puts people at ease, can make places seem more ‘real,’ and can eventually define and evolve with famous landmarks.

  3. Entanglement: To build a long-term relationship with customers, brands must move beyond engagement to a focus on entanglement, providing multi-layered brand exposure and enabling consumers to become entangled with a brand’s language, intention, and real-world advantages.

  4. Ubiquity and scale: Scale enables a brand to dominate its environment and keeps the consumer looking for longer. Ubiquity brings familiarity, enabling a powerful connection to be established very quickly and with authenticity.

  5. Propaganda and seduction: Billboards have the ability to push a message out and draw audiences in. They have purpose, can be evocative, and embody a brand and message.

  6. Localized and personalized messages to drive salience: OOH can drive even greater engagement and entanglement through personalized or localized messages – if they are delivered at the right level.

WARC offers these best practices in leveraging the unique characteristics and advantages of OOH:

1. Be bold
OOH advertising has excellent creative potential and a highly receptive audience means bold ideas will pay big dividends for long-term brand building. Go and grab consumers’ attention with the unrivalled creativity and unparalleled scale that OOH offers.

2. Priorities place
With a vast array of mediums available that can reach consumers outside the home, the opportunities are almost endless. But select locations carefully based on campaign objectives and audience achieve the best ROI. Combine high-profile, hero locations with supporting localized spots to maximize impact, reach and relevance. Augment campaign planning by combining industry-standard audience measurement with other sources, such as mobile or retail data to further refine targeting and site selection.

3. Use the whole space
Think beyond billboards and consider how your campaign can expand creatively to maximize immersion (and Instagrammability) for consumers. This helps achieve greater brand visibility and entanglement.

4. New mediums
Can you experiment with paint, light installations and other new mediums to stand out, bring your brand to life, and create a new kind of experience? Think wall murals or interactive street furniture even for creating an even more immersive experience for consumers.

5. Amplification
Combine the real and the digital by incorporating a sharing element in your OOH campaigns. Support real world efforts with PR and social media outreach, and promote photos and relevant hashtags to encourage a viral effect.

6. Localize and personalize
Look for opportunities to increase relevance and leverage ‘herd mentality’ by including local or demographic specific messages in OOH ads. 

7. Tap into emotions
Emotion is a vital part of long-term brand building. What kind of emotion do you want associated with your brand, and how can your OOH campaigns best deliver this? With OOH consumers are on the move, in an ultra-absorbent state of mind, so make the most of this and tap into key emotions.

8. Invest in quality over quantity
With proven benefits for sales, market share, and reduced-price sensitivity, OOH campaigns that promote quality, brand leadership, and equity are worth the investment.


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