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Outdoor advertising: communicating your brand

Outdoor advertising is not just about putting your goods and services in front of your audience. It’s about communicating what your brand is all about, what makes you tick, the values that drive you, and so much more.

Let’s take a look at the essential elements to consider when communicating your brand via outdoor advertising.

Communicate through concepts

The concepts behind your ads say a lot about your brand.

Spotify’s Outdoor ads are about crunching the wealth of data they collect from users’ listening habits. They then use fun, amusing, topical stats as the basis for individual ad designs.

image showing Spotify's 2018 outdoor marketing campaign in an underground tunnel
Image: www.campaignlive.co.uk

It could be as simple as this campaign by Ecco which used a simple perspective trick to show how their footwear could be integrated into the everyday urban environment whilst providing effortless style. The fact that the ads were integrated into the architecture of the shopping mall showed a brand with attention to detail and creative thinking. A creative concept like this can be just as powerful as a slogan, if not more so.

Communicate through design

In outdoor advertising, the way you say something is as important as what you say.

It’s worth taking the time to sit down with your designer and discuss how their ad designs can best reflect your brand. Get them to send you a scratch pad of design ideas. Think about which ones not only stand out from the crowd but also capture the essence of your brand.

Study the outdoor ads of your rivals and/or brands you admire. What do their designs say about their brands? Send examples to your designer; not so they can copy them, but so they get a better idea of the sort of thing you’re looking for. For more on this, check out our guide to ad design.

Communicate through colour

Just take a look at Ebay’s “Fill Your Cart with Colour” campaign; they want to show that their brand is all about people colourfully and quirkily expressing themselves, in contrast to the “beigeness” of their main rival, Amazon.

Dating site Eharmony wants to show you that, unlike new lovers, its brand doesn’t have its head in the clouds. For their recent out-of-home ads they use a starkly contrasting black and white colour scheme to suggest their USP… being “the brains behind the butterflies”.

eHarmony outdoor advertising panels

Communicating your brand values

What does your brand stand for? These days, consumers are interested in a range of social and/or personal issues as well as getting quality products and great deals. By connecting your outdoor advertising to your values you show audiences what you’re really all about.

Maltesers’ chocolate braille billboard did exactly that; showing support for the blind community as part of their “look on the light side” campaign. It seamlessly connected to their USP whilst showing social awareness, and coming up with a good “gimmick” ad idea.

Communicating your personality

What sort of personality does your brand have?

Are you nerdy, obsessively mining user data to find cool facts, like Spotify?

outdoor advertising from Spotify on a bus shelter

Or “feel good” like Kit Kat, who seem to be extremely relaxed about people taking breaks on their payroll?

Personality is about how your brand sees the world and how you make your audience feel.

It doesn’t mean you have to be the quirky life of the party, you could be sophisticated like Burberry or life-affirming like Tesco.

 

 

It can sometimes be hard for small businesses to pinpoint their brand personality. Does your team have shared values, interests or ambitions you can draw on? Think about what three words you’d use to describe your company.

Are you ambitious, motivated, focussed? Your brand personality could be about motivating people to reach their dreams or achieve personal goals.

Are you fun, relaxed, unconventional? Maybe you’re all about unlocking your audience’s inner child.

Once you know what your brand personality is, think about how that might influence your ad concepts.

For example, Tesco want to encourage people to see food as an extension of their personality, and a way to bring pleasure to everyday events. So they create campaigns that put people and their everyday stories at the heart of their brand.

Communicating your USP

USP, or unique selling point, is another thing small or new businesses can struggle with.

In essence, it’s about answering two vital questions on top of all consumer’s minds:

– What can your brand do for me?

– Why should I choose you over your rivals?

It’s often the second question that can take a lot of time to answer. The answer doesn’t have to be about cost; it’s usually a bad idea to use cheapness as a USP because it creates a race to the bottom and, ironically, it can actually put customers off, who associate price with quality.

The better you understand your market sector the better you will be able to identify your USP.

Maybe your rivals are much larger brands and your small, hands-on team puts you in a position to offer the personal touch.

Maybe your competitors outsource a lot of the production process; your artisan business means customers are guaranteed handcrafted products created by talented makers. And so on.

Now you have a solid understanding of how to communicate your brand via outdoor advertising, check out and buy ad sites in your area with the Bubble Outodor panel locator map.

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