“The more you think differently, the faster you grow.”

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Overview

The 57th FEPE Congress (Federation European Publicite Exterieur) was held earlier this month in sunny Barcelona, with FEPE’s role as the international organisation for Out-of-Home (OOH), cemented at the Congress by an impressive 377 international OOH delegates from 40 countries, including a delegation from Australia.

Over the course of the two day congress, it was clearly evident that as a global industry we share similar opportunities and challenges. The most heartening of all is that the channel is enjoying growth across the globe and that the digital transformation – while still in its infancy – is creating more engagement and delivering more results for clients.

Five key themes, which were articulated by Nancy Fletcher, President and CEO of the Outdoor Association of America (OAAA), at its conference in Baton Rouge in May, resonated at FEPE.

1. Symbiosis
“Every time a marketer plans a mobile campaign, it should include OOH.” – Annie Rickard, CEO Posterscope.

Now is the time to concentrate on the new. While, partnering with other traditional media channels will play a part in our success, we need to radically shift our focus to connect more with mobile and social media – OOH and mobile are the perfect bedfellows.

2. Making the most of data
“Money chases the audiences, and where the audience is, Out-of-Home is.” – Naren Patel, CEO, Primesight Ltd.

OOH audiences are growing in size, wealth and consolidation, and OOH is located in the heart of the global economy, with access to more data, insights and connections to these audiences than ever before. We know OOH is becoming more than just about advertising, it will play a role in data aggregation. This is going to be a very powerful tool in the OOH arsenal, if not the game changer in the years ahead. OOH has the ability to analyse audience data that goes beyond just audience measurement. It will be able to segment audiences better and deliver more relevant and targeted messages.

3. Ease of buying, selling and delivering
“Publishing to a digital billboard should be just as easy as publishing to a web page.” – Andy Sriubas, Executive Vice President, OUTFRONT Media.

But data is only half of the story. Automation, making the process of buying, selling and delivering OOH easier, was the hot topic of the conference. There was a sense of urgency in bringing players together to fast track automation so the buying process is more efficient, and while there was general consensus that this was imminent, it was noted to be a significant challenge for both buyers and sellers of OOH. What data will drive the event that triggers the real time buy? How will data collection be used in a way that doesn’t conflict with privacy regulation?

4. Evolution
The opportunities for OOH are boundless.

We need to tell a new story about how OOH has evolved. It is the only traditional media channel not to be disrupted, and while technology has enabled OOH to grow its brand offering to include flexibility and immediacy, creativity still remains at the heart. Mark Craze, Chairman of the UK Association, Outsmart, championed that creative was king and argued passionately saying that no client ever cheered a great algorithm – they would, however, be compelled by a great piece of OOH creative. This was reinforced by James Murphy, CEO of adamandeveDDB, and a strong advocate of OOH. Murphy was quick to point out that creativity was still key in telling a brand’s story, and while analytics and more accurate targeting can do an effective job, it can only go so far without the spark of true creativity.

5. Care
“We need to acknowledge the power of our public promise.” –Matthew Dearden, Chief Executive, Clear Channel UK and FEPE President.

Growth and numbers amount to nothing if we can’t try to make the world a better place. Companies with values and integrity are more likely to get a better profit result. Doing great work and making buckets of money is no longer mutually exclusive, and given how ubiquitous OOH is, the industry has a social responsibility to the communities that support us to give back. And in this new age of screens in the public domain – how does OOH embrace rather than impose itself on the community?

Conclusion
It was evident that the growth OOH is experiencing globally was fueled by new thinking. There was consensus that FEPE has a very important and useful role to play in orchestrating a global focus for the industry.

While Barcelona cemented FEPE’s global role, it also consolidated and honed in the way forward. The Australian delegation, represented by Brendon Cook, CEO, oOh!media, and a member of the FEPE Board, was invigorated and motivated by our global shared goals. It also reinforced that our program for the coming years not only embraces new thinking but is also on target to achieve these shared global goals.

Title cited from Tim Bleakley, CEO, Ocean Outdoor.