There are a number of out-of-home media players in the transit environment, but how do you know that the one you have engaged with is right for your brand? Shamy Naidu outlines a checklist for choosing the right out-of-home transit media provider, which includes one that knows the environment, has the required advertising rights and has an operational infrastructure fit to strategically implement campaigns.
As a marketer engaged in a process of determining which player in the local out-of-home transit environment to appoint in order to implement a campaign, be it activations, taxi branding, digital out-of-home or rank branding, there are a number of simple factors that need to be determined and weighed up to ensure that you have engaged with the right service provider.
Firstly, let’s set the scene: Latest research shows that over 16.6 million South Africans make use of taxis, buses and trains every week and these commuters form the backbone of the economy. Whether in a taxi, at a taxi rank, at a train station or a bus station, commuters are engaging with out-of-home platforms.
You understand the power of media within this environment because you’ve experienced it first hand or you’ve done your homework and know that communicating with an audience in a captive environment delivers brand messaging in a way that results in high recall and powerful return on investment.
So how do you decide who to trust in terms of capability and reputation? Over a decade of experience and expertise operating in the out-of-home space has taught me that there are some non-negotiables.
Here’s a checklist of key criteria I recommend you evaluate with any transit media provider you are assessing:
First and foremost, do they have advertising rights in place?
Do they have rights to the advertising platforms? Can they offer packages that are tailor-made to budget and needs, because of these acquired rights? Would they be able to provide national or regional dominance in the transit environment?
Ask just how formal your media partner’s agreements are with the relevant taxi associations. Never underestimate the expertise and resources it takes to establish bona fide, solid relationships. They are built over time and only sustain when all dealings are above board.
The answers to these questions would also provide a very clear, definitive indication of how well and how widely their operational infrastructure is entrenched and how well it works.
Are they innovators in the transit space?
If they have the expertise, the infrastructure and the rights in place, next on the checklist is innovation. Are they harnessing the full potential of the environment and bringing new, exciting platforms and methodologies into the mix? A company that has a gleaming track record of innovation, is a company who really understands the environment and will help to make your brand authentically stand out from the rest.
Do they have Rank Ambassadors in key ranks?
These ambassadors ensure access to quality vehicles and maximise control and management of campaigns. They have established relationships and intimate knowledge of the subtle nuances that can make or break a campaign.
Do they have a state-of-the-art Reporting System?
Do they use real-time electronic reporting technology linking suppliers, operational staff and field support? There’s no other way in the current market place to genuinely ensure proactive problem solving unless you know what you’re dealing with the moment it happens.
How independent and credible is their research and insight on the commuter market?
Can they offer you independent audited audience figures that validate their advertising effectiveness and exposure? Anyone can make claims, but substantiating them is imperative.
If you need it, do they offer a national footprint?
You don’t have to be in all ranks all around the country; but you do need to be sure that your selected media company intimately knows which ranks are the right nodes along popular and high density routes. Reaching maximum audiences relies on identifying these and knowing them well. Reaching these audiences means knowing audience behaviour and having a hands-on knowledge of specific transit nodes and routes.
Over the years, the taxi environment has become a lot more formalised. The infrastructure has grown, transit nodes have become even more important activity hubs and this has led to a growth in out-of-home opportunities in this environment. For brands wanting to engage with taxi commuters, it is of utmost importance that they appoint out-of-home media owners and service providers that are well-established to deliver excellence, let alone return on investment.
Shamy Naidu is an executive: Transit Ads at Provantage Media Group.