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OOH media is evolving towards an ecosystem of tech integration: Kinetic Worldwide’s Amit Sarkar

The COO of Kinetic Worldwide shares his views on the current scenario of OOH media in India, the changing ecosystem, emerging challenges, and more

Aanchal Kohli | Delhi | August 11, 2015

Amit Sarkar Amit Sarkar

If there is an effective way to communicate with people outside of their homes and on the move, then it is out of home advertising. One agency that has been successfully catering to the growing needs and demands of the OOH industry is Kinetic Worldwide. Kinetic has been building a keen understanding of how brands connect with people’s lifestyles and the environments they engage with when away from the home. Their expertise and insight allows them to deliver solutions for their clients that achieve brand and marketing goals.

Kinetic has developed centers of excellence in digital and aviation media, point-of-care communications, multicultural and mobile marketing, and OOH printing and production to expand the possibilities of communicating with a diversity of audiences on the move.

Kinetic’s network reaches across the globe. From 42 offices in 32 countries, the company offers dedicated expertise in OOH planning and buying solutions and have developed strong partnerships with clients, agencies, suppliers, media owners, and technologists.

Amit Sarkar, Chief Operating Officer, Kinetic Worldwide speaks at length to BestMediaInfo.com on the key developments in the OOH industry in India, the changing ecosystem, growing demands of clients and consumers, and more. Excerpts:

You took charge as COO in 2013. How has been the journey been so far?

It’s been a fantastic journey over the last two years. We started from the second quarter of 2013, and made the drive successful with some great new business wins, restructuring the talent matrix in the organisation to get the right optimisation that fits into the changing needs of the business. In 2014, we successfully integrated Bates WallStreet under the Kinetic umbrella and in December, we launched Kinetic Active – our specialist offering on OOH creative, digital content, technology and experiential marketing, which will further strengthen our position in the market place. We are today a Rs 425 crore-plus organisation with the largest office network in India, providing 360 degree integrated OOH approach to clients.

Kinetic launched a full service OOH agency, Kinetic Active, in late 2014. How well is it doing?

Kinetic India since inception has been servicing clients and providing solutions that are 360 degree OOH, which include Impact, Awareness, Reach, Engagement, Interactivity and trying to bring in ROI for clients. With the launch of Kinetic Active, we have created a specialised focused division addressing today’s needs of advertisers, brands and consumers. We are servicing our existing clients and pitching in for other new business as well. We have received an encouraging response from clients in support.

Please specify your key markets.

In OOH, every market is important. It is not we who choose the markets, it’s the needs of the clients and brands that have to be reached to the target audience. This audience could be anywhere – in metros, Tier II, Tier III towns or even the remotest areas of India. We capture more than 560 towns to facilitate our clients’ needs for OOH.

Give us a sense of the OOH industry – how big and robust is the market, and how has it grown over the years?

The OOH industry showed a growth of 9 per cent in 2014 (Source: GroupM Estimates) and this is a robust growth compared to 2013 growth of 6 per cent. Earlier, the media were static, but now you can do many things with the same static media to engage and interact with the audience, capturing eyeballs. Not only agencies, but clients have also advanced to doing things differently. Also, the growing investment in infrastructure (roads, malls, commercial space, airports, bus shelters, billboards, street furniture) will offer more and innovative opportunities which will show remarkable growth.

Is the OOH industry still unstructured?

Every agency is trying their bit to make OOH media as simple and friendly as print or radio or TV. The connected drawback is that there is no matrix which substantiates the whole campaign or the spends of the advertisers.

Technology is a big USP for OOH in developed markets. But India still seems to be caught up in the age of billboards and unipoles…

While there are limitations in India, OOH media is evolving towards an ecosystem, which now has been integrating technology to connect with consumers on the go. Earlier, it was a static medium, but now we see lot of innovations beyond cut-outs communicating strongly. We are routing consumers to the Internet, activations, radio, and TV through the use of billboards. OOH been a broader term, I take the liberty of saying that there is lot of technology-driven innovations like NFC, QR, Augmented Reality, Geo Tagging, Facial Recognition done at malls, airports, cinema halls, and many other touchpoints where there is high proximity of consumers.

What are the real challenges that the OOH industry faces in India? Where does India stand in the global map?

The real challenges that still exist are lack of clarity on regulations, absence of uniform measurement metrics, unauthorised hoardings, which continue, and attraction of fresh talent. As an agency, we consider moving from a media centric approach of single creative on every site to a more TG, time and location base approach to increase relevance of brand messaging. India is a very important market from the global perspective and is seen a priority growth market.

With digital and new media taking priority, how should OOH reinvent itself?

To reinvent OOH, one has to look at it from a consumer’s perspective. The OOH medium has evolved beyond traditional OOH and pure display. Consumers want something that engage, educate, entertain and interact with them irrespective of place. Digital as a medium brings in lot of engagement and interactivity; where OOH brings in Impact and largeness. You have to treat the medium the way you want it to deliver.

What percentage of marketing spends is allocated to OOH?

While advertisers spent Rs 25 billion on OOH in 2014, its share in the overall OOH advertising pie remained at approximately 6 per cent, which is still small comparatively to mainline and the Internet.

Which category of clients is holding on to OOH?

The year started with lot of e-commerce and real estate players holding the OOH space duly shared with automobiles , telecom and FMCG companies shelling new brand launches.

How can brands connect with people’s lifestyles and the environments they engage with when away from home?

Today is the era of smartphones, statistically half the population who is spending time out of home is connected through smartphones. They live and breathe the phones that they hold. Any communication that comes to them through this connects well, associating them in the environment they are in.

As we talk about reinventing and evolving, there has to be consumer engagement and brand. People spend nearly half a day out of home, so there is a huge opportunity, but we have to tap this opportunity at the right place and time and with the right communication.

When it comes to innovations in the OOH space, what are the key things that clients look at?

With innovation, clients want brands to stand out amid the clutter in media and communication, creating relevance for the TG. They want to attract maximum eyeballs and create advocacy around the campaign. With innovations in ambient space there is a need of ROI, at times depending on the objective of the campaign.

Info@bestmediainfo.com

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