How Outdoor Can Help DTC Brands Connect in the ‘Real World’

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According to 2018’s “The Brand Gap” report from Work Research, when marketers think about their ‘go-to’ channels for a brand-building campaign, Out-of-Home (OOH) advertising is the second most popular after TV. In today’s cluttered media environment, the ability to communicate a brand message at scale is the traditional strength of OOH.

This strength is now being enhanced further by the emerging capabilities of Digital Out-of-Home (DOOH), enabling advertisers to harness the power of context and location in ways no other medium can match. With digital scale now at critical mass in the UK (reaching 62% of UK consumers every month, according to Route) DOOH is now seen by the marketing community as having the fastest-growing reputation in the industry (“The Brand Gap”).

Translating your online campaigns into Digital Out-of-Home

Many DTC brands have cultivated an online store-front for themselves on social platforms such as Instagram, in lieu of a physical space. This ethos often continues into marketing; beauty start-up Glossier, now a unicorn, adopted a very successful online strategy in order to bolster brand awareness of the “Glossier Pink”. However, in order to move from start-up, to household name, there comes a time when online alone cannot deliver on long-term brand building.

At this juncture, DOOH can act as the natural bridge between online and ‘real world’ advertising. Providing all the agility and dynamism brands have come to expect from social campaigns, DOOH is also able to deliver the inarguable strengths of traditional poster and paste; mass reach, amplified share of voice, and brand fame. Moreover, due to the nature of the channel, content developed for online campaigns can be quite easily re-used on digital screens for added impact. After all, both mediums rely on eye-catching visuals (often without sound) and short, snappy content reels which communicate a message in a limited time frame.

Indeed, mobile and OOH also work well together to reinforce a brand message on a subconscious level. Studies conducted by neuroscience market-research firm Neuro-Insight have shown that mobile advertising campaigns are more effective when the audience has already been “primed” by outdoor advertising. The study found that mobile campaigns were over a third more likely to be stored into long-term memory if seen after related outdoor adverts, making the brand more likely to be recalled along the path to purchase.

Building consumer trust

However, Digital Out-of-Home can offer much more than just an easy way to amplify your existing online campaigns. As a whole, Out-of-Home is the second largest medium being consumed out of all media (including the internet) in the UK, with a weekly reach of 99%, according to IPA Touchpoints data. Additionally, it’s more likely to be trusted by consumers, with 69% of respondents to a 2016 study by MarketingSherpa stating that they trusted OOH advertising, compared to just 39% for online banner ads.

This combination of scale and trustworthiness – especially at a time when digital channels are under increasing scrutiny for their lack of transparency and data misuse – makes OOH a hugely powerful tool for advertisers. It’s little wonder then that some of the world’s biggest tech brands, such as Facebook, Google and Netflix, heavily invest spend into OOH advertising as they look to bolster brand perception.

Connecting consumers with DTC brands whilst on the move

Traditionally, retailers tend to think of Out-of-Home’s ability to drive customers to a physical store – something that isn’t possible for an online-only DTC. With the advent of smartphones however, the “store” is now in the shopper’s pocket and any outdoor advertising site has the power to act as a last window of influencer, triggering an immediate purchase.

The value of these purchases should not be underestimated. A recent report from Kinetic, in partnership with Exterion Media, found that commuters alone were worth an incredible £22.8 billion to the UK economy annually, as a result of purchases made using their smartphones whilst on the move – purchases included a broad range of categories, from clothing to groceries, holidays and premium or subscription services. To put that into perspective, this amounts to 14% of all online spending in the UK each year. Of those participating in the “Commuter Economy”, 70% of respondents said that they had made a purchase as a direct result of outdoor advertising.

Investing in Out-of-Home also allows brands to tap into the always-on mentality that smartphone connectivity has created. Google has even started talking about ‘Micro Mobile Moments’, such as ‘near-me’ searches, which are increasingly being used by audiences on the move to search for products or services. Moreover, with click-rates and tracking products bought at the ‘point-of-sale’ part of their internal wiring, the connection between mobile and DOOH allows DTC brands to really understanding the impact of advertising.

At a time when consumers are more connected than ever before, DOOH offers huge opportunities for advertisers to inject new potential into DTC campaigns. As e-commerce comes to play a much more integrated role in consumers’ lives – with users now frequently making purchases whilst out and about – the OOH medium is both versatile and engaging, and a key driver for brands to directly connect with consumers.

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