Creativity needed now more than ever

Dan Dawson, Chief Creative Officer, Grand Visual

Dan Dawson, CCO Grand Visual

With travel restrictions still in place across much of the world and varying degrees of lockdown hindering our out of home movement and daily lives, the impact on the OOH medium has been significant. Arguably the biggest media win of the lockdown is the nationwide embracing of various digital technologies to help us stay connected. Connected to colleagues, connected to family and friends, our education and healthcare systems, and even connected to my local fruit and veg store who now offer online shopping – unheard of before Covid-19, this really is creative innovation.

Lockdown has also been a time of reflection and space to think about what comes next. When social distancing measures are relaxed, how will the OOH medium be used creatively? OOH, media will likely be at the highest occupancy level and space will be at a premium.  Advertisers may need to consider inventory outside of the traditional main players. 

Budgets and timelines for creative production will also be hit hard as companies prepare for what the media suggest might be a global recession. With these conditions, advertisers will need outstanding creativity now more than ever. Creative that cuts through the noise and engages the audience in a memorable way as they reacquaint themselves with the great outdoors.

Resonate with Mindset 

Consequently, brands need to ensure that the money they spend on OOH media works harder than ever. Creative needs to stand out through timely delivery, with messages that align to the time of day, location, and consumer purpose to be useful. By resonating with the audience mindset it is possible to create deeper emotional connections with people as they go about their ‘new normal’.

There have been massive advancements in smart audience planning over the last few years, data tools that not only helps OOH to get tactical with behavioural targeting but also informs the right creative message, tone or brand to prioritise from a subset. Linking your smart media planning to smart creative will drive media effectiveness, as we deliver the messages at the right moments for your audience’s mindset.

Get Scalable 

With budgets inevitably constrained, the need for production efficiency on large OOH media plans is immediate. Advertisers need to work with digital OOH production partners who offer scalable content mastering and creative re-versioning for OOH, to capitalise on the efficiencies for delivering DOOH creative to multiple formats, environments, durations and ratios. One that has the ability to act for local, regional, continental or global markets, potentially requiring thousands of pieces of creative for each campaign. 

Be Contextual 

With occupancy on OOH expected to be high as soon as the global lockdown begins to ease,  only a finite amount of space will be available, so being smart about your creative and ensuring it is topical to the environment will be more important than ever. 

A recent study from Clear Channel revealed that creative OOH executions were 32% more effective if they are contextually relevant. We know from experience that dynamic creative delivers effectiveness  – for creative as well as media. Contextual messaging is not just for the big digital and technology brands of the world, we’ve worked on campaigns for airlines, retail, food, beverage, automotive and FMCG brands that all prove the same incredible results. 

Go Bespoke

With standard OOH and DOOH media space selling fast, advertisers will have the chance to broaden their reach in the OOH space by looking at locations, formats or experiences that they would not usually have considered. Immersive experiences and ambient outdoor activations help brands stand out in a cluttered environment and create deeper emotional connections with audiences. 

Recent neuroscience research led by Ocean Outdoor found that engaging with consumers through interactive experiences on DOOH creates deeper, more memorable connections to your brand. As a big AR enthusiast one of their key stats stood out to me: “The use of augmented reality using image detection equated to a four times stronger impact of memory encoding.”

Get Social 

We don’t need to actually be outdoors to appreciate outdoor work. Social and OOH are natural bedfellows, platforms helping other platforms. Interactive experiences help to spread the message beyond the OOH medium it’s initially displayed on as participants share their experience online with friends and family. So the ability to ‘socialise’ special builds, murals, interactive experiences into incredible multi-format campaigns will be a real winner in the second half of 2020 and beyond. Again some interesting findings from the same Ocean research noted that adding social media capabilities to your campaign can make it 4 times more memorable for consumers. 

As lockdown restrictions continue to relax, and people reacquaint themselves with the great outdoors, those advertisers who invest in OOH media but underinvest in creativity risk missing the mark in terms of brand stand out, campaign effectiveness and ultimately ROI. As an industry, we have a duty to these advertisers to help them navigate what will likely be a crazy H2 for 2020. We face some tough economic and emotional times ahead, as we endeavour to get ‘back to normal’. As life OOH starts to open up there will undoubtedly be challenges, so it is vital for advertisers to ensure they have the right creative support for their brand, agency, budget, timeline and ambition.