Thursday, November 24, 2005

Outdoor Advertising for the Finance Industry

Below is an article that I wrote for the November edition of Australian Broker Magazine (printed version).

How to Successfully Advertise Outdoor

Creating great outdoor advertising takes more than just choosing a billboard location that fits the budget and some vague idea of how many sets of eyes might see it.
Furthermore, Outdoor is more than just billboards, with examples ranging from impressive to cost effective.

Outdoor Advertising can be:
Large Billboards (highways/ airport), smaller billboards (train stations/ corner store), Bus Ads, Street Posters (bus shelters), and Mobile Scooters/Trucks. These are the main categories but there are some specialized areas such as Skywriting, Retail Signage and Ambient media like ads on doors, bus tickets, or in restrooms.

With many new production techniques available today Outdoor has never been so creative. You can have 3D signs, cutouts that protrude from the standard shape, and even modifications to the environment for the full integrated effect. Really the list goes on, only being limited by the imagination. The world is so visual now, every day we are all visually stimulated in more ways than we realize. Whether a good thing or not it’s the new way people use to communicate, and Outdoor makes the most of it.

The benefits of Outdoor Advertising include:

It contacts consumers during the day as they are making purchasing decisions
Its nature allows it to become part of any environment
Creates a localised feel for your company/brand and allows increased targeting
Good research figures are available from the suppliers
Site images available before purchase

Like all media, Outdoor is good at performing some tasks and terrible at others. If you set out to achieve one particular goal and use a media type that is incapable of meeting it, you will no doubt be disappointed with the lack of results.

What Outdoor can do for you:
Raise awareness of a new product or service
Reinforce a product or service
Create or change perceptions
It can reach a lot of people in a geographic market in a concentrated timeframe.

What Outdoor cannot do:
Convey a lot of information
Tell a detailed story
Evoke a call to action

Knowing what it can and can’t do allows you to set reasonable objectives for your Outdoor. You can expect different results based on a number of factors so you should look at the following when deciding what to expect from the Outdoor Advertising:
Is it part of a campaign that includes other media?
What specifically do you want the viewer to do when they see your ad?
How will you measure the success?

At the very least this process of developing the objectives will give you a better idea of what you really want from the ads; at best it can help you to enhance the development process in order to achieve better results.

Develop one message to be conveyed in the ad:
Since most Outdoor viewers will be moving you only have a matter of seconds to get the message across
Keep you message to one specific thing
Develop the creative content to convey that message most effectively, by engaging or entertaining the viewer
Remember what your objectives are for the ads

If you are in fact running a campaign rather than a stand alone outdoor ad you should ensure that the same message is being conveyed in each media. A campaign should work together to increase the effectiveness and likelihood that one message will get through.

Outdoor fits into a campaign in many ways, but in all cases works with the other media and should not be expected to do all the work on its own.

Outdoor Advertising in a campaign can:

Create brand awareness for a new product – before or during other activity
Act as a precursor to an information heavy campaign via press
Reinforce other media as a reminder
Create a local presence in a national brand campaign
Guide the decision making process when close to point of action

Most financial services organizations will use Outdoor to establish themselves or their brands in the marketplace. Outdoor does it quite well with high impact leaving a strong impression. If your company is an unknown then developing a presence is particularly important. New and unfamiliar products and services can also be launched with the use of Outdoor creating awareness and credibility for that product or service.

Remember that Outdoor is a component in your media mix. Be sure to use it in combination with other media that will enhance the overall effectiveness.

By Mike of Big Small Brands

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

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