OOH is moving to the centre of media planning!

25 May,2016

 

Just as many digital agencies are becoming full-service to cater to specific categories, Kinetic Worldwide Global CEO Mauricio Sabogal believes a leader in the Out-of-Home (OOH) space, like his organisation, must also go beyond the brief to grow its business. Especially when it comes to high-potential customers in the luxury, travel and banking sectors.

 

Even before you took charge at Kinetic, you headed BPN at IPG Mediabrands and are hence familiar with the Indian market. How do you find we’ve changed over the years?

It is fantastic how it’s evolved. India is a challenging market in the developing world, and you can see how technology has changed the way the country interacts with the rest of the world. When you come to India, you see a kind of energy, you see people presenting new ideas, new possibilities to create different capabilities for our business. I think that’s a big evolution in the country.

 

In terms of the out-of-home business, while there is talk about how it is gaining ground, the GroupM report says it is just 5.8 per cent of mediaspends. Isn’t that too little for a large organisation like yours to be playing with?

First, I have to say that Kinetic is the largest OOH buyer worldwide, so for us it’s a meaningful number. However, yes, you are right. The number is still small but it all depends on how it is interpreted. If you talk about static OOH, perhaps that’s the number. But when you define the scope of OOH according to what is reaching people on the go, that’s different because it involves mobile investment, social media, digital OOH and even interaction with other media because OOH is today becoming the centre of media planning.

 

So which means that obviously Kinetic will be doing a lot of what other WPP group agencies are engaged in with on-the-go advertising?

We are trendsetters, so I think all agencies are moving towards what we are doing. We were the first to propose that OOH is moving to the centre of media planning; we deal with partnerships that allow us to interact static billboards with mobile phones.. . Our competitors are following us and I am glad to hear about that because that’s what we have to do in the industry in order to grow it and position out-of-home really as moving to the centre of the media planner.

 

But some of these competitors are possibly within the group itself, and doing similar things…

I do not think we have a competitor within the group. We have an agency that complements the job we do. Or we complement their job, because they are bigger than us and we provide services to them. However, it all depends on how you approach your own business. There is a possibility of some media OOH specialists trying to create different work, to amplify OOH offerings.

 

You mentioned that mediaspends are going to now revolve around the entire OOH business, and we’ve seen digital agencies becoming full-service in recent years. Do you see Kinetic becoming a full-service agency too?

For some categories, yes, like digital agencies becoming full-service agencies for specific categories. Categories like travel and banking are high-potential categories for us to sell a full service because they are focusing on OOH and people on the go. Most luxury, travel and banking clients are on the go, so those categories are becoming attractive for us to manage in a full-service way. It doesn’t mean we will replace the work big media agencies are doing, but for certain categories, yes, that’s the idea.

 

So the creative and media buying will be done by Kinetic, as against existing creative and media agencies?

Sometimes, yes. Creativity comes from different services, and we also propose to provide services for all markets, which includes really good creativity, since we have that capability at the moment in India

 

Kinetic has been there in India for a while, and you now have a new India head. What are your plans for India, and your targets for him?

There are very big targets. Suresh is a very well-known professional in India. I know him from my previous job too, so we have worked together before. I know how aggressive he is in the market or how good he is in growing the business. There is no better person to lead the evolution of Kinetic than Suresh, and I am confident that he will achieve all the big targets we have for him.

 

There is a sentiment that in the OOH business, that there is no yardstick to measure the efficacy of advertising etc, and expectations from a large network like Kinetic, which is a part of the WPP group, is that it will invest more on measurement systems and such. So what are you doing towards that?

We are doing a lot. We are testing different methodologies, investing in data, research and analytics. We are even testing satellite technologies to measure audiences, partnering with telephone companies to get data to measure all this etc. The issue is agreement with the industry. We cannot continue having 10 different ways to measure OOH. We have to get the best information and agree on a methodology like in any other medium that will professionalise our industry and make advertisers invest with more confident.

 

Professionalise?

The more data we have, and the better the understanding of our currency, enables more professional dialogue between advertisers, agencies and media vendors.

 

People say the OOH business is disorganised and there is some corruption. Do you agree, and how would you improve the situation and change this perception?

It’s a perception and it depends on the different companies and their ways to manage regional products. At Kinetic, we follow compliance strictly… none of the companies are as strict about following compliance protocols.

 

This interview first appeared in dna of brands on April 18, 2016

 

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