Mike Cooper is President of Rapport Worldwide, a global Out-of-Home media planning & buying agency with a mission to build rapport between brands and their consumers. With offices in the U.K., U.S. and India, the company complements the offerings of both UM and Initiative and represents numerous brands including MasterCard, Microsoft, Sky and Tiffany. The Makegood recently spoke with Mike regarding how Out-Of Home Advertising has been affected by the digital revolution.
The Makegood: Rapport is an Out-of-Home advertising agency. Can you talk about some of the benefits that clients get from Out-of-Home advertising that they can’t get anywhere else?
At base level the key is in the name – ‘Out-of-Home.’ Consumers currently spend up to 70% of their waking lives away from their homes and that number is increasing annually. OOH really gives us the ability to weave our way into the fabric of daily life, focusing on where people live, work, play and how they travel between these entities. Digging a little deeper, by establishing where people are and when, we can map mood and lifestyle as well as geographical locations. That allows us to deliver messages in the right place, at the right time, on a personal level to enhance a group or individual’s day.
The Makegood: With digital advertising increasing in popularity so quickly, how can you integrate a digital presence with your physical outdoor ads?
OOH has constantly evolved, from tin panels to painted wooden boards to paper to HD vinyl; each of these stages has allowed us to be more efficient. Digital is the next evolution which allows us to be more pure in our audience interaction. There will always be brands that benefit from the mass incremental coverage that a traditional billboard campaign can deliver, but now the evolving digital element allows us to complete the route to audience through more relevant, personal targeting, to actual audience interaction and final reward using new technologies such as augmented reality and Near Field Communications (NFC). Of course the ability to work hand in hand with mobile and share experiences through social networking opens the door to so many amazing and creative ideas, for the first time OOH Space is just that, space, and outside the restrictions of time and money, anything is possible.
The Makegood: Has Out-of-Home advertising been slowing with the rise of digital? What practices have you been taking to keep your industry relevant?
After online, OOH is outpacing all other media in terms of growth, averaging 5% a year. This is because OOH works hand in hand with digital and, a large part of OOH, is digital. The synergies between the two make them a formidable communications force. At Rapport, we place our focus largely on the consumer and the ‘live, work, play’ ethos. Our tools and research models are consumer-centric and allow us to map moods, attitudes and opinions as well as geographical patterns. The key for us is the individual. Media evolution, OOH & digital, allow us to communicate with each individual on a more personal level, which means each client can approach their media plans in a way that more closely adheres to their brand’s values and challenges. We approach every client and every brief as a fresh challenge and an opportunity to develop the relationship between brand and consumer on a personal and rewarding level. With consumers spending more time out of home than ever, relevance is not a challenge. The consumers live in our universe, and we just have to communicate intelligently with them while they are here.
The Makegood: Can you talk about some of your more successful ads? How did they come together, and how did the Rapport approach offer a client something new and original?
The best campaigns are always delivered when there is interaction between all parties from inception to completion. We have ‘hot desks’ in most of the agencies and clients we work with so we all get the brief at the same time, brainstorm together, plan together and ensure there is synergy throughout the media mix so each area complements the others and adds incremental delivery and value. People often talk about the large outlandish stunts that happen in OOH – an ice rink in Times Square, etc. These things are fabulous, but only scratch the surface of what OOH can do. They should be just the cherry on top of a well-planned consumer-centric campaign. We’ll shortly launch a campaign for a large entertainment client, led by OOH, which will use the 15-second Instagram videos to link all media. Consumers will be able to post their own videos directly to digital OOH screens, share it with their friends on social media and the client will use the actual footage for their own on-air idents. This was simple, cost-effective and will be measurable on delivery. Back to individual service, we used bespoke relevant research to establish exactly how a tricky, young target audience felt about themselves and wanted to integrate with this brand. All too often research budgets are wasted on ‘pre & post awareness.’ In this case, we used these dollars to answer questions our clients really have.
The Makegood: How do you see the Out-of-Home advertising industry developing over the next few years and how will Rapport lead the way forward?
The mind boggles at what may be possible. If you would have told me five years ago that people would be downloading music wirelessly from OOH screens in Grand Central, or that we’d be using facial recognition software to tailor individual messages to different models of passing cars, I’d have had my doubts! But, the audience continues to migrate toward our medium en masse. I encourage you to take a look at your own life, irrelevant of what you do for a living, you are a consumer. It’s highly unlikely that you have a lengthy breakfast with the family listening to the radio, or rush home for an8pm viewing of a scheduled TV show that you’ll never see should you miss it. Therefore I see the key developments are in the inventory and the audience. Rapport will lead the way by focusing on the link between these two factors and tailoring a bespoke offering for each communication. Industry bodies like the TAB have developed robust measurement tools that allow us to plan & buy audience, not panels, optimize delivery and demonstrate how we compliment or even challenge other traditional media. Yes we can programmatically buy, like TV, with the added benefit of placing our ‘screens’ in front of the audience throughout the day.
The Makegood: Thank you, Mike