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Nick Mawditt of Talon Outdoor: ten themes which will change Out of Home in 2021

Following the testing environment of 2020, Out of Home has adapted to the challenges of reaching consumers on the move.

Audiences have shifted rather than disappeared and have shown an appetite for social mobility that will continue into 2021. Strong development factors in digital OOH inventory, audience data, automation and effectiveness leaves OOH well placed to reach consumers at scale and with full flexibility in the trusted, broadcast, and relevant context of the public space.

Reset: Out of Home will bounce back stronger in 2021. As we reset, some of the key characteristics of the channel – broadcast, audience growth, a trusted medium for brands seeking to be trusted by consumers, a fully flexible approach to reaching audiences paying only for those impacts delivered and using OOH as a complementary channel to reach young audiences – will be crucial in finding audiences out of home and adapting to their changing behaviours.

Changing Audience Behaviours: 2020 has seen changing audience behaviours; we are shopping more in our community and online, but we are also maintaining travel activities. We will come into 2021 keen to socialise more with friends and families, go out and do more, whilst altering some of the core elements of our lifestyle to gear around wellbeing, the environment and the workplace.

Development: Out of Home was very well equipped to adapt to the huge consumer mobility change in 2020. The explosion in digital OOH development, particularly around local community and roadside complements OOH’s ability to reach people in city centres, transport and shopping environments. We have used robust and accurate device data through research tool Ada to apply accurate audience measurement to location and region across the year; Route will adapt industry measures to this approach, whilst the development and use of automation platforms like Atlas has enabled a smooth transition to digital buying strategies.

Agile and flexible: We have applied real agility and flexibility as an industry to deliver client advertising campaigns to audiences changing their behaviours. Digital OOH, data technology and smarter as standard buying strategies will continue to deliver audience reach and impact that finds and targets the right audiences out of home.

A trusted branding environment: Brands need recovery in 2021 and OOH is a broadcast solution that can reach targeted, behavioural and mass audiences, complementing other key channels. Digital OOH reaches more than 80% of the UK every week, but importantly helps brands convey messages in a public space where they can deliver core brand engagement and a degree of trust not always matched in other environments.

With Brexit upon us, it is another reason for trusted brand and communication clarity to mass audiences that is much needed in the current economic and social environment.

Supporting TV as complementary channels: TV has enjoyed more success in 2020 as people have spent more time under restrictions. But younger audiences remain hard to reach and OOH targets and delivers light TV audiences both nationally and in London to augment commercial TV ad delivery. Younger audiences are using TV streaming more, with significant additional viewing to networks such as Netflix and Disney now affecting more family and niche audience viewing. Digital OOH can ensure TV ad content is near replicated in OOH.

The rise of the public screen and how it complements social ad strategies: JCDecaux published its P2+C=5 initiative in 2020 highlighting the importance of the public screen working alongside private screen communication using social channels. Evidence is increasing that brands can influence key brand metrics using re-versioned full motion creative, whilst brand safety and accountability issues remain around social media ad strategies. OOH is proven to work alongside this channel to reach audiences and influence outcomes.

A return to activities: 2021 will see a significant return of audiences participating and experiencing cultural, sporting and retail events. The Olympics, the Euros, a return to safe crowd participation will significantly mobilise audiences seeking experiences. Meanwhile, cultural celebrations and festivals will resume in safe environments bringing the return of opportunities for brands to associate with a range of activities and bring retail experiences back to life.

Sustainability and a Platform for Good: From media owner initiatives like Clear Channel’s sustainable bus shelters, to brands advertising on sustainable OOH formats, from a living billboard to pollution-absorbing paint, sustainability and responsibility will reach new levels of significance in 2021. We have already seen a higher advertising ROI for companies utilising social and responsible messaging. 70% of consumers will pay up to a 35% premium on average for sustainable products, whilst 80% of companies that adopt a sustainable plan see an increase in their share price.

Resilience and Effectiveness: Brand, government, and cause-led marketing success in 2020 came from brave, smart and flexible use of OOH. Many big brands returned to the channel to communicate contextual and reassurance messaging in the knowledge that audiences were still on the move – on roadside, in retail environments and across the digital OOH estate. The industry has shown resilience and success in delivering a +51% shift in ad recall and increase of +16% for purchase intent among advertisers who continued to invest in Out of Home across 2020.

Nick Mawditt is Managing Partner of Talon Outdoor.

About Talon: Talon Outdoor is an independent Out of Home media specialist and a significant player in the Out of Home agency sector with a focus on delivering smarter, creative, technology-led and integrated OOH communications. Combining independence with a collaborative approach, Talon promotes open working between agencies, clients and media partners.

Talon has achieved the Campaign Best Places Number 1 Medium sized UK Company to Work For and has also featured in the Sunday Times Fast Track 100, as No. 1 in Best Companies and in LSE’s 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain.

Talon handles the Out of Home media for several of the UK’s leading advertising brands through Omnicom Media Group UK agencies, along with other agencies including AMS Media Group, JAA, Havas Media Group, Goodstuff, Ptarmigan Media and Republic of Media.

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