In the modern age, it’s increasingly important that brands are able to build a sense of trust among their consumer base. After all, the current generation of customers have identified authenticity as one of the top qualities that attract them to brands as they continue to search for messages and narratives that resonate with them.
However, there is something of a disconnect here, as barely 36% of shoppers say that they trust large brands and corporations to do what is right.
With this in mind, it’s clear that brands need to work harder in the quest to build trust and loyalty among their consumers, particularly as shoppers become increasingly knowledgeable and discerning with every passing year.
Out-of-home (OOH) advertising offers an excellent channel through which your brand can build trust with customers, and in this post we’ll discuss the reasons for this while asking how you can capitalise.
Millennials Come of Age, and so Does OOH
In some respects, the viability of OOH advertising (and particularly billboards) has always been determined by demographic shifts. After all, the popularity and effectiveness of marketing channels varies between different customer segments and generations, which at least partially explains the peaks of troughs OOH mediums through the ages.
OOH has certainly gained credibility in the current climate, where Millennials have recently emerged as the most influential and motivated consumer demographic.
Incredibly, an estimated 50% of the world’s population is now under 30, and this represents the highest level of youth population in history. Additionally, Millennials are finally set to realise their full spending potential in 2018, as the youngest members of this demographic enter adulthood and become consistent earners in their own right.
As a generation of people of that are also discerning and keen on curating their own content, Millennials have become increasingly resistant to the power of online advertising. After all, the digital space is saturated with overly-promotional, untargeted and intrusive adverts, while research suggests that the two-in-three Millennials aged between 18 and 24 currently have ad-blocking software installed on at least one of their devices.
The curiosity and quest for trustworthy information has led millennials to interact with less intrusive advertising, while they also seek opinion and recommendations from their friends, loved ones and social media networks.
How Do the Qualities of OOH Lend Themselves to Building Trust?
This is where OOH advertising comes into play, as its fundamental nature and attributes lend themselves to the needs of Millennials (along with other demographics) in the modern age. To begin with, channels such as billboards often blend seamlessly into the natural environment, providing strategically placed adverts that are nonintrusive and capable of engaging customers when they are actively open to brand interaction.
From small, eye-level adverts at train and bus stations to 96-sheet, roadside billboards, these materials can reach up to 92% of targeted customers on a weekly basis while also driving far higher engagement rates than alternative channels. It’s also important to note studies conducted by Nielsen, which reveal that more than 56% of customers inherently trust OOH as an advertising medium.
While the nonintrusive nature of billboards instantly helps to build an initial rapport and level of trust with consumers, there are other important factors at play here. Customers are also more inclined to respond to the relatable and targeted messaging including in OOH media, particularly when it relates to local brands and independent businesses.
In fact, 74% of customers were most engaged by advertising messages that were relevant to their location, with these respondents likely to interact further with the media and follow up their interest with the brand.
How Does OOH Drive Word-of-Mouth Marketing?
We’ve already touched on how Millennials are increasingly reliant on recommendations from those who they know and trust, but this is also a rule that can be applied to older demographics (although older customers may not share referrals through social media). This is why positive word of mouth remains a key marketing tool for brands who are looking to cultivate a trusting and loyal consumer base, and one that OOH can drive on a large scale.
This is borne out by various figures and studies, with one piece of research from the American market revealing that 58% of motorists who viewed roadside billboards saw an event, visited a location or purchased a product in direct response to the advert. Similarly, a further 56% told their friends and family about a humorous or impactful campaign that they had seen, triggering organic conversations between customers both on and offline.
As a trusted and nonintrusive medium, it’s clear that OOH media resonates with the current generation of trust-concious consumers, while its authentic and earnest messaging helps to drive organic recommendations between customers and across a host of social networks.
How to Capitalise on This and Build Trust Through OOH
While OOH may naturally lend itself towards the cultivation of trust in the current climate, it is ultimately your own execution that will determine your success or failure. More specifically, you’ll need to leverage OOH through strategic and targeted campaigns, which focus on carefully selected locations, core segments and effective messaging.
Here are some points to keep in mind.
Utilise Billboards and Leverage OOH as part of an Integrated Campaign
If you’re to truly leverage the influence of OOH, it’s crucial that you use it as part of an integrated marketing campaign. After all, this means that OOH media can lend its considerable weight and authority to other marketing channels, driving assisted conversions and higher conversion rates across the board.
To underline this, you need only look at the unique relationship between OOH, channels like billboards and mobile brand activations. The statistics suggest that customers who see an OOH billboard campaign are around 17% more likely to engage with a brand through their mobile. Remember, more than 60% of all Internet searches are now completed through mobile devices, so OOH clearly offers an opportunity for you to earn the trust of customers before they interact with your business further.
When determining the details of your integrated campaign, you should also ensure that billboards are given priority. This remains one of the most generative and cost-effective OOH mediums, with traditional print materials particularly type and this type of advert likely to resonate with around 71% of customers.
So, by using billboards to target customers and share your primary messaging, you can increase the chances that they’ll interact further and ultimately make a purchase online.
Leverage Roadside and Public Transport Billboards
We’ve already discussed how billboards can resonate with motorists, which is why roadside adverts are so effective at engaging customers and building trust. Not only can large-scale 48 and 96-sheet billboards can effectively deliver messages to a vast target market, but they’ll spark initial brand interactions that instantly create a greater sense of trust and authenticity.
The same principle can be applied to bus stations and public transport billboards, which effortlessly reach and engage huge numbers of customers on a daily basis.
Roadside and public transport billboards offer numerous advantages, aside from their size and visual impact. Firstly, they can be strategically placed in fixed locations and along routes to target key customer segments, ensuring that your message is heard by those it has been designed to engage.
Secondly, billboards must keep words to a minimum if they’re to effectively engage customers, which encourage brands to retain concise and punchy messaging that is decidedly earnest.
This, coupled with the nonintrusive nature of these ads, has an extremely positive impact in the minds of commuters and motorists while encouraging them to engage on a deep and meaningful level.
Aim for Long-term Results over a Number of Campaigns
It’s also important to remember that genuine trust is earned and cultivated over time, so you’ll need to aim to build your audience over a number of OOH and billboard campaigns.
After all, it remains a simple, psychological fact that familiarity nurtures trust, so by displaying consistent messaging across a number of OOH campaigns you’ll inspire confidence in your brand and establish it as a respected authority within its chosen market.
Interestingly, OOH has now replaced television as the single biggest driver of brand awareness and conversations in the modern age, meaning that this media offers an excellent opportunity to create an instantly recognisable and familiar identity even in a competitive marketplace.
The Last Word
There’s no doubt about it; OOH and billboard advertising is the most effective medium for brands that wish to build trust among their consumer base.
This thanks largely to the combination of recent demographic shifts and existing market conditions, which have created a demand for greater authenticity among consumers and implored brands to seek out more nonintrusive and engaging channels.
So, with the right execution and a long-term outlook, brands can successfully leverage OOH as part of an integrated marketing campaign that looks to cultivate trust and loyalty in equal measure.