In an age of mistrust, out-of-home inspires confidence
Thijs Verheugen, Marketing Director and Elise Thijm, Marketing Coordinator, Posterscope Netherlands

It’s not news that public trust in the news media has declined in recent times, fueled in no small part by accusations of fake news and data privacy across social media.  As a result, public confidence in social media is eroding.  According to the Edelman Trust barometer of 2018, 33% of Dutch people say they lost confidence in social media last year with a meager 19% trusting social media in The Netherlands.  This eroding trust can have wide-reaching effects on other media but where social media has suffered when it comes to trust, channels like out-of-home are the opposite: research by Nielsen has shown that more than half of consumers (56%) trust this medium.

What Nielsen’s research also showed is that if a target group is exposed to online advertisements and subsequently receives outdoor advertising, brand trust increases. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that we have known this medium for so long or that it is so intrinsic to public and daily life. That it is such an obvious form of advertising must help.  It seems that OOH just feels more comfortable.

The use of anonymous data contributes to trust in out-of-home. OOH, digital and non-digital, uses plenty of data to select the right locations to reach the right audiences at the right time to drive a response.  However, the datasets that are used for strategic planning are not based on personal data and behavior, they are collected anonymously from large groups of people, not the individual consumer.

The legendary Dutch soccer great, Johan Cruyff, once said that “every disadvantage has its advantage” and this rings true for out of home. While digitization of out-of-home continues at pace, a large proportion of out-of-home still comprises static poster sites.  Unlike online, static posters raise little concern among consumers, while the gradual roll out of digital is assuring that sites can be GDPR compliancy.

Out-of-home campaigns that perform well and increase consumer confidence often feature one or more of the following elements:

A response to current events

A political battle is being conducted in the media, making it a popular topic of conversation, and technological advances in out-of-home mean that out-of-home can be very responsive to this.

A great example is renowned vodka maker Smirnoff’s apparent cheeky swipe at U.S. President Donald Trump and the Russia scandal that enveloped his campaign and administration. Spotted by U.S.-based social media users, the campaign featured a picture of a bottle of Smirnoff behind what appears to be a Moscow mule cocktail, declaring “Made in America” with the quote, “But we’d be happy to talk about our ties to Russia under oath.”

Stimulating word-of-mouth

Not many brands take word-of-mouth as literally as SuitSupply.  Its campaign, including an out-of-home element, featuring two men kissing, set a lot of tongues wagging and that was precisely their intention. The campaign initially lost the company thousands of Instagram followers but also gained it significant support and praise for breaking down barriers. Delivering such high visibility, out-of-home was ideally suited to help launch this powerful word-of-mouth campaign.

Useful service information

Digital screens lend themselves perfectly to sharing useful service information.  Sourcy deployed a dynamic digital out-of-home campaign across Amsterdam and Rotterdam to celebrate The Netherlands’ connections with water.  The campaign featured three different creative executions, triggered to appear in response to different real-time weather and location data sets, to provide passersby with up to date forecasts, local event calendars and tourist information. This service information helps boost confidence and trust in out-of-home.

Weaving relevance and engagement into your campaign will also help to build consumer trust so it’s worth considering some of these other tactics when planning your out-of-home executions:

  1. Be topical. By responding to topicality, you can rely on media attention and join in with public debate
  2. Be personal. The more personal the message the more trust you generate
  3. Involve the audience – asking a question or giving passersby an option to choose something
  4. Use humor. With humor you generate sympathy and trust
  5. Be consistent. Consistency contributes to reconcilability and trust in a brand
  6. Offer a service. Offer passersby something that is useful to them. By linking a brand to relevant information, you can convey brand values ​​and instill and reinforce trust.
  7. Be scattered and frequent. By ensuring a good spread over different geographical locations with a high frequency, you’ll be more recognised by the consumer, underpinning brand trust

As consumers lose faith in social media and demand more authenticity from brands, the more important it is to incorporate out-of-home into the marketing mix, and with the right campaign executions, there is no doubt that OOH can increase trust and confidence in your brand.