How Marketers Can Integrate OOH, Social To Create Context — At Scale

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In a panel at Cannes Lions, execs from Kinetic, Maxus Global, and Clear Channel discussed driving consumer relevance — and why OOH is accelerating the development of smart cities.

It’s long been the marketer’s “holy grail” to get the right message to the right consumer at the right time — but actually delivering that personalized engagement at scale is a bigger challenge.

In a panel discussion at at Cannes Lions dedicated to bridging digital and real-world experiences, execs from Kinetic, Maxus Global, and Clear Channel talked with GeoMarketing‘s Lauryn Chamberlain about using OOH to drive location-specific context and then social media to amplify that message — plus, what’s going on with the future of smart cities. An excerpted version of the conversation, below.

Let’s start with some examples: How have you worked to bridge the online and offline worlds through integrating mobile, social, and out-of-home in your respective work? What have you seen people really engage with? And on the flip side, what hasn’t worked so well — what can we work on as an industry? 

Richard Stokes, Worldwide Chief Development Officer, Maxus Global: I’ll talk about a very specific example: a campaign for the Dutch Kidney Foundation. Obviously, that’s not somewhere where you’re trying to sell something, but charities are under a lot of pressure from a fundraising point of view and from an awareness point of view — they [needed to] get the message out.

What they did was to take a story about a single patient, Fabian, who was on dialysis. What happens when you’re on dialysis? You’re superman to your kids, you’re a sportsman, you’re a businessman — but your world shrinks, and your world becomes the bedroom because you have to spend most of the day in dialysis.

What we did is to take the fact that here’s Fabian in his tiny bedroom — and then ask, ‘where can we broadcast this to that is the exact opposite?’ The exact opposite was a central station [in the Netherlands], a very busy transport hub. A single digital panel [incorporating social] allowed Fabian to communicate, and interact, and speak to people who stopped in front of him. Kind of take the world into his tiny little bedroom in that way.

The interaction that they had was fantastic, but it didn’t stop there. In a way, what was interesting for me, was to see how out-of-home gave this campaign the physical context, and social gave it scale. Everything was captured [for] Fabian, and the perspective then went out on Facebook, on his page. The campaign was a huge success, and their subsequent donations have been huge. I think that’s a great example of how mobile, social, and out-of-home can work together [to do more] than people might expect.

Mauricio Sabogal, Global CEO, Kinetic: What is interesting is, who are some of the biggest advertisers in out of home? Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon. It might seem kind of weird, because their media assets such that, well, why are they advertising out-of-home? That’s a good question, and the answer is, because they need to be direct, and really they’re getting [incredibly useful] traffic data through interactive [OOH.] They see something in the everyday, they collect it, they analyze it.

But it’s not just about connecting; it is about connecting the strategy at the right moment, to the right company, to the right communication, and to continue to go from there. Once you’ve done that, the question is how to amplify [the message]. [That’s] a good way that social media platforms come into play.

What are the challenges of trying to deliver that contextually relevant message, at the right time, via out-of-home? What have you learned?

Stefan Lameire, Chief Customer & Revenue Officer, Clear Channel International: As Mauricio said, the challenge of technology is that a lot of things are possible — and it’s not just about [connected technology just for its own sake.] I really never forget that what we do with technology should be consumer relevant.

The consumers are driving a different effect, and here’s something we learned: We were putting [a touchpoint] on the side of our panels, where people could actually interact through their smartphones, using NFC, QR, whatever.

The idea behind doing that is really strong, I think, and we indeed had thousand of companies across the globe doing it. But we ran into the issue that the process of downloading coupon, or being told to ‘do this, do that,’ was not consumer relevant. The consumer felt this was advertising; it was not a genuine choice to interact with the brand. [We had to] rethink what kind of information people would actually want — and when. Like, in the UK, there’s a great example of [interacting at taxi stands] to give people information about drivers or about the city.

My two main takeaways would be: Whatever you do with technology, make it consumer relevant — and try to make it at scale so that it’ll use the value of the reach that algorithms have to offer.

Stefan, you mentioned the taxi example in the UK. In many ways, the rise of OOH that is interactive in real-time is driving the development of smart cities. How can you deliver that consumer relevance in smart cities? And what kind of opportunities do they open up for marketers?

Mauricio: We’re [seeing that] evolution now; we’ll be having not just wifi, but internet of things, and many other technologies available to activate in cities.

We see many aspects in cities that can be connected, and you will see thousands of facets of this. The most important part of this, for marketers to think about, is how to demonstrate efficiency and how to demonstrate the right alignment.

Stefan: If you look at this as a media owner, I think, we are restoring assets by delivering services. In the last two years, we’ve [invested in] smart bikes, and wifi, and our company really invested a couple hundred million dollars. We are trying to drive this [evolution], to actually grasp how to support and develop [smart cities].

Some of the important solutions, and the really exciting things start to come in when you are starting to apply wifi, or whatever technology is, and not just in terms of delivering service. A lot of the potential [for marketers] comes from the real-time data that will be there. There are a lot more opportunities around collecting user data. It’s very interesting to see how that will evolve.

Richard: There’s also this opportunity as we look to the future of self-driving cars: You think about the two, three hours that someone has in their car [commuting] every day, that becomes an opportunity — a very valuable one. There’s a value exchange: Maybe I don’t have to actually pay for this car ride, when I’m getting to work, because I’m exposed to X amount of messages, and that’s a very context rich and mass reach environment. I think we can see that quite soon.