Resonation and Relatability - The Keys to Impactful Outdoor Advertising

Like any media channel, the primary aim of targeted OOH advertising is to get an organisation’s message across to the right audiences. It is important however, to give thought to exactly how that ad is digested across your audiences; boiling down to your brand’s ability to go above and beyond just selling yet another product or service to be consumed by the masses.

Outdoor media and other dynamic forms of OOH have been growing exponentially – which is exactly why it is necessary for for brands to develop their own distinct voice in a respective niche if they ever hope of resonating with their target markets.

Although lines are frequently blurred between the two, relatability and resonation in OOH media are two different things.

That being said, OOH media is the ideal solution if what you’re looking for as the end goal of a campaign is having your audiences tie in personal experiences, memories and relationships to your ad.

Take the “Vote to Count” campaign that went up in 2017. The ad reads out labels such as “black”, “white”, “gay”, “straight” and many others that eventually tie into the single word of “voter” splayed on the side.

The ad campaign - that was carried out by Outfront Media - is a lesson in relatability. When done right, OOH media is all about playing to it’s strength of audience identification; and, even without fancy feats of augmented reality, is able to convey an impactful message.

What advertisers should take advantage of when using OOH media especially, is their audience’s intense need to connect and identify. You could run the most out-of-the-box, unique and creative ad when it comes down to it, but all that might accomplish is raising a few eyebrows.

Not exactly meaningful when it boils down to purchase decisions, is it?

The difference OOH media offers in this context vs other forms of digital strategies would be that it inherently relates to a sense of community and location.

It’s one thing that the barrage of online ads and mobile pop-ups fail to have; the relatability that comes with people from all walks of life understanding that a particular OOH ad in a location either directly or indirectly affects them.

When Hurricane Irma was brewing in the US, select private advertisers saw the opportunity to spew out real-time weather updates, geographical maps of affected places and other forms of relevant data to those in the city.

Herein lies a perfect lesson of location and geo-relatability; a term coined and defined by the ability of OOH to stand out specifically from other digital strategies and generate maximum exposure in a short period of time – to the people that matter! Data is the lifeblood behind everything that concerns OOH media, but instead of churning out random, cold facts – it falls on the shoulders of each advertiser or media buyer to serve relatable information that would concern those that cross those streets or walk through those malls every day.

Relatability is essential, but it’s not to be confused with resonation.

While your audience relating to OOH media through personal experience or at-the-moment concerns is key to any successful ad; having them resonate with one is equally as important.

Take for example the “Live with Love” billboard campaigns that were put up around Las Vegas shortly after a mass shooting that affected the community. Executed carelessly, this ad would be accused on capitalising on a massacre; but instead it proved successful in the subtle way of reminding locals on the importance of unity and strength through tough times.

Having your audiences resonate with an ad is tricky – but completely achievable if the message you intend to convey is one that is heartwarming or is aimed at inciting emotion. Not everyone might have been there at the time of the Las Vegas tragedy, but almost all of them can empathise to those who have; which is the very basis of having an ad that doesn’t relate, but resonates strongly enough to leave a lasting impression of your brand’s true priorities.

Whilst relatability relies much more on audience insights and what audiences want, OOH media that resonates is all about going the extra mile to create a meaningful brand-to-customer relationship.

Factors like geo-relatability, community issues and dynamic data are just some of the important elements to take into account if you intend on delivering such an OOH campaign.

Always keep in mind that your brand’s reputation continues to be defined not only by the sales it generates – but by it’s ability to build long lasting relationships with the people it interacts with via multiple communication touchpoints.

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