How do you strategize for branding when “staying home” is here to stay? The jump to remote work hasn’t just changed the way people interact with their workplaces; it has also changed the way people interact with their immediate environments.
Brands that used to rely on marketing efforts that exposed their brands to customers during commutes, lunch runs, and after-work outings are left wondering how to redirect their messaging in the work-from-home era.
Does tried-and-true out-of-home (OOH) advertising still work in a post-Covid world where remote work has reconfigured the daily grind?
According to Encompass Media Group (EMG), a national marketing firm that specializes in innovative OOH advertising campaigns, the answer is a vehement yes.
EMG’s co-CEO, Don Winter explains, “Out-of-home (OOH) advertising is an essential part of branding, and it’s part of the reason that OOH is up over 20.7%, exceeding the revenue record set pre-COVID in 2019.”
What Is OOH?
Out-of-home marketing is a broad term that means so many things. In one way it is the big, flashy advertising that most people think of when they picture ads created by Madison Avenue; encompasses billboards, posters on bus shelters, ads painted across city benches, and other high-visibility options.
Put more simply, it’s the touchpoints brands can use to engage their customers when they’re out of their homes. And contrary to the mass marketing OOH approach many brands have used in the past, it actually can be very targeted.
The biggest benefit of OOH is that it gets eyeballs! Although high-traffic areas may not be pulling the traffic they did before the big switch to remote work in many cities around the country, OOH can be tweaked to bring messaging directly to consumers in the places where it makes the biggest impact.
Rethinking OOH in a Remote World
One of the interesting post-pandemic marketing trends is that out-of-home advertising has gotten a makeover that makes it less “stuffy” than before.
Realizing that they can’t rely on commuters to grow brand visibility, brands are increasingly bringing their messaging to customers in newer, more relevant ways. The big “commute” that many workers are making today is bringing them to the local coffee shop, pharmacy, laundromat, or dog park.
Remote Work Is Forcing Marketers to Go Where Their Customers Go
Retail partnerships have become increasingly important for OOH due to a landscape where customers have the ability to be more intentional about the places they visit during the course of an average day.
Using strategic channels, brands are having their names and logos featured on dry-cleaning bags, shopping bags, and pharmacy bags. Inserts added to retail and takeout bags are also great for delivering little handheld billboards to customers.
Brands are also seeing success with branded coffee sleeves that get distributed to local coffee shops and delis. EMG reports an 80% recall rate using these types of outreach efforts as part of the 400 out-of-home advertising programs it runs annually.
“We can get into the home, hand, or reach the consumer on the go in relevant places such as the pharmacy, convenience store, doctors’ office, grocery store, laundromat, and many other important destinations,” shares EMG’s website.
Of course, the shift to remote work doesn’t mean that the flashy billboard is dead. Brands simply have more freedom to use custom advertising programs that can strengthen their efforts to increase brand awareness, drive sales, or connect meaningfully with a particular target audience.