Smart Billboards: The New Flag Bearer of Advertising

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Get smart, stay relevant, do more; for every time a new technology has entered the market this is one mission statement that remains unchanged backed by the task to disrupt the landscape. As promising as it may seem, users and potential beneficiaries more often than not are left scratching their heads over the use of the any technology to its full potential. 

Ode to the unsung hero 

To state the obvious, brands are constantly striving to connect with their customer with content that is engaging, memorable, and more importantly, on the go. Albeit at its own pace, the smart billboard is one such platform that is finding its sweet spot in the brand-meets- customer story. What was previously considered a mere supporting platform in the marketer’s mind space is slowly taking the lead role with OOH becoming digital, flexible and far more intuitive than any other medium in recent years.

The journey from out-of-home (OOH) to digital out-of-home (DOOH)  to smart billboards has been very fast in India compared to other countries, although it wouldn’t be wrong to say its adoption journey has not kept pace. India always finds itself catapulting faster than most countries at product and technology innovation, and the adtech industry is a perfect example for validating this phenomenon. The smart billboards are set to make quite an  impact in India.

Smart billboards for smarter audiences

While it has been established that the adoption of smart billboards’ power has been relatively low, those who have been able to integrate it into their overall marketing mix have witnessed tremendous success. The credit is purely because of the platform’s high capability to provide interactive and immersive experiences. One of the key features of smart billboards is the ability to deliver relevant and timely content that is highly effective and enable engagement with the end user. Advertisers have realized the importance of contextual relevance when it comes to attracting audiences who are now digital savvy or consumers who are always on the move with the means of out-of-home advertising.

In today’s day and time, individuals have become prone to using multiple digital platforms to consume their daily information. Digital screens are set with the ability to provide richer content that is contextually relevant and in sync with consumers’ daily interests while  ensuring interactivity at the same time.

The rise of contextual messaging that is powered by data on location, weather updates, traffic, breaking news, etc., has given brands an opportunity to tailor their content to stay relevant. It is essential for us to realize that every brand needs to evolve and innovate. For example, the Amul girl has been one of the most prominent advertising mascots in India and was able to remain relevant for the last 50 years by using Indian and international news to communicate a witty response across multiple mediums. The mascot gradually came to represent the quintessential characteristics of the brand. Similarly, it is crucial for any brand to adapt and evolve with the changing demographic need in order to make a long-term impact. Smart billboards provide another unique opportunity for brands to create personalized content on the basis of a person’s mood, reaction, geo fencing, etc. Imagine, sensors are used to trigger an ad of Kaun Banega Crorepati (the Indian version of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire”) on a nearby screen, prompting a message ‘You could be our next Crorepati’ and your image is placed next to the host. At the same time, the screen showcases a number or code you can scan that will lead you to the website.

Once the content and visuals are in place, the location makes a lot of difference. Advertisers need to initiate a footfall analysis where they can understand what location makes a better impact through the same billboard. 

Contextually relevant out-of-home is one of the most exhilarating sectors in that it blends with the audience. Smart billboards have given marketers an opportunity to literally think outside the box!

About Author

The author of the article is Shriranga Sudhakara, Managing Director of Vyoma, India’s leading digital out- of-home (DOOH) company. With the intent of integrating and unlocking the potential of creative and digital technology for out-of-home audiences, Shriranga K. Sudhakara started Vyoma Media in 2007. Under his stewardship, the company has organically grown to become one of India’s most formidable players in the ad-tech industry. Given Sudhakara’s prolific line of understanding and vision of delivering the ‘right message, to the right audience, at the right time,’ he and his team at Vyoma have made significant contributions in changing the way digital outdoor advertising is perceived in India.

Having completed his education at the University of Tulsa in 2002, Sudhakara started his career with Way2Wealth Securities where he specialized in portfolio management services.

During this time, he started to identify and dive deep into the depth and breadth of innovation in the space of digital out-of-home advertising , especially within the mass transportation sector. In 2007, his vision to bring a paradigm shift to the industry was realized when he partnered with the Indian Railways. With innovation and disruption at the core of the company, his long-term vision is to bolster Vyoma Media’s reputation of delivering scalable and milestone-setting DOOH work which is responsive, experiential, interactive and digitally connected.

Recently, Sudhakara was also invited to be a part of NITI Aayog’s Champions of Change initiative by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Shri. Narendra Modi. A keen sportsman, he also represented India at tennis for the Juniors and played a number of ATP Challenger events.

 

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