Industry leaders on engaging post-lockdown Britain

We loved being an event partner at Mediatel’s Future of OOH event – after such a changeable few months it was brilliant to hear from the great and the good of the industry on how the medium has adapted to the changes 2020 has brought, with plenty of learnings, case studies and future focused developments.

Our CEO Matthew Dearden hosted a lively debate with some of the most respected names in advertising on how to engage post-lockdown Britain. You can read Matthew’s takeouts here, as well as key quotes from our panellists below.

Missing audiences – how to engage post-lockdown Britain

Matthew Dearden, CEO, Alight Media (moderator)

James Murphy, Co-Founder, New Commercial Arts

Natalie Bell, MD, MG OMD

Louisa Harrison-Walker, Interim Director, Sheffield Chamber of Commerce

On the power of OOH

James:

“There are few other media that can challenge outdoor in terms of its sheer presence, confidence and charisma.”

 “There’s no medium quite like outdoor to allow you to have and shape a public and perhaps a national conversation.”

 “It’s the most political of media…it necessitates boiling down a message to its absolute essence. Outdoor at its best is like political messaging at its best, which is it is absolutely focused and effective.”

“Outdoor has that ability to paint your message in a big and pretty evocative way.”

Natalie:

“We’re seeing each of the channels play to their initial strength…OOH has been much more about the context in which it is and much more about the locality.”

“OOH is my favourite media.”

On how media planning has changed

Natalie:

“Our planners are having think back to the basics of media planning, which is understanding audiences.”      

“Our clients and planners have been forced to be much more empathetic to humans, which for me has been a brilliant thing.”

 “It’s both audiences and role of OOH that we need to constantly question now and not slip into lazy planning.”

On brands and their creative approach

James:

“In the battle for their [consumers’] attention, you either had to show them something beautiful that gave value to them in terms of being inspiring or funny or moving, or you had to show them something useful…the current crisis has exacerbated that because I think people are moving between two states very seamlessly…they’re having to move between the worlds of work and the worlds of family and leisure in the space of a few feet…that means you have even more pressure to be beautiful or useful in that environment.”

“It’s a delicate moment…brands need to be careful and sensitive.”

On utilising DOOH

James:

“The power of OOH has rallied and strengthened on two fronts – one of them is very traditional, in its power to be a truly public and shared medium…and at the other end it’s gathered power at the most modern end of the industry in terms of DOOH’s ability to create very dynamic creative opportunities for brands.”

“Who would have thought the OOH industry would become an interactive and a social media in its own right?”

Natalie:

“I love the big fame public pieces…and at the same time the digital nature.”

On changing audiences

Natalie:

“Audiences have shifted – some of the old data we rely on doesn’t apply when everything changes…from a media planning perspective I think it’s never been more interesting.”

 “All the data is telling us that audiences have changed…they are coming back but we need to reconsider how we’re reaching them.”

“Audiences are changing and the role that OOH can play with those audiences is changing.”

James:

“It’s not that the audience are in a different place mentally, but they’re in lots of different places. Lots of different people are feeling lots of different things at the moment.”

On what the industry needs to do to inspire ongoing confidence in OOH

Natalie:

“Start talking about things differently in order to give advertisers the confidence, which means greater flexibility, more robust audience data…and thinking about how pricing fluctuates with footfall.”

“Changing the parameters by which we’re working to give the confidence, with the flexibility added in.”

Louisa:

“I would like to see [from the advertising industry] helping SMEs to build trust and confidence for people to return to a level of normal that’s safe.”

“There is a realisation that there is opportunity…certain sectors are storming and seeing a massive uplift in what they do.”      

“We don’t want to waste a good crisis in some regards because it’s given lots of people an opportunity to go back to the basics of what’s important.”

James:

“[The sell should be] As society starts to rebuild its confidence and its appetite for business and consumption…as we step back out into the light, what better media is there to show brands out in the light, being confident and charismatic, than outdoor?”

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