Dennis Kuperus, Global Head of Innovation, Kinetic Worldwide and Ahsan Shaikh, CEO, Kinetic Pakistan, on how new technologies are changing the OOH landscape.
MARIAM ALI BAIG: What brings you to Pakistan?
DENNIS KUPERUS: I am leading Innovation globally and I saw some great things happening in Pakistan. We got in touch with the team here; they have done some great work for global brands like Coke and Unilever, which is why I wanted to get to know the market, meet clients, understand their challenges and see how we could use our global experience to help them create great work.
MAB: How long has this affiliation been operating in Pakistan?
AHSAN SHAIKH: About six years. However, we became actively engaged in 2012; before that, it was more of a dormant affiliation. Within Kinetic Worldwide there is a lot of focus on innovation and collaboration with the networks and last year, when Dennis took over Innovation, the engagement has been much higher. The global media landscape is changing and the challenge is to connect with people on the go and Dennis is leading that thought and engagement.
MAB: How would you define your company?
DK: We are specialists in reaching audiences on the move. We work with other media and use technology to connect with audiences. As mobile phones, social channels and digital increasingly converge with OOH, we use data and technology to obtain insights to create relevant consumer experiences.
AS: When consumers are out of home they engage with different environments as they move, so there are other touch points where they can interact and experience the brand. Kinetic positions itself as engaging with consumers across any OOH experience; it can be an activation, a retail or a mobile experience.
MAB: How do you interact with the various different brand communication partners?
DK: Our relationship is based on partnership and on the specific knowledge we have of the OOH environment. We work closely with our agency partners, media and creative, although not all creative agencies are always aware of the technologies and innovations within mediums; we try to support and inspire and create great work together for our brands.
MAB: Does the fact that creative agencies are not always up to speed with the latest innovations apply to Pakistan only or does it manifest itself at a global level as well?
DK: At a global level too. The innovations taking place today are so fast and because this is our area of expertise, we are able to support these agencies
MAB: What are you offering brands in Pakistan?
AS: We provide end-to-end solutions from the brief right up to the financial settlement, this includes planning, creative thinking, execution and monitoring. Compared to other media, ours is much more complex because it requires special skills in terms of execution, fabrication and printing. We have several tools to support us at every level, which is where the global knowledge comes in. In terms of creativity and partnering with other agencies, it is important to understand that in this new media world, no agency or brand can work in isolation. Consumer expectations are such that there has to be consistency; all agencies, disciplines and touch points have to come together to create a consistent, impactful campaign. Rather than different disciplines working in silos, Kinetic’s thinking is to bring them together; collaboration within the brand and between different partners is critical.
"Consumer expectations are such that there has to be consistency; all agencies, disciplines and touch points have to come together to create a consistent, impactful campaign."
MAB: Yet isn’t it a question of who is driving the communication?
AS: We expect the brand to take the ownership and we become the support agency for all. Clients in Pakistan are increasingly engaging us in strategy; earlier OOH was just a ‘tick the box’ medium. Now clients have started to involve us in their strategy sessions and this makes it easier to propose solutions accordingly. Clients are much more innovation savvy; I would say that their mindset is a lot more innovative compared to the rest of the world. This year we are projecting media buying worth over two billion rupees which makes us by far the market leader in Pakistan.
MAB: How do you measure effectiveness?
AS: We support MOVE (Measuring OOH Visibility & Exposure), the initiative taken by the Pakistan Advertisers Society two years ago. Earlier we were buying panels, now with this data available in the industry we can buy audiences.
AS: There are three components to this research. The traffic count, the type of traffic and the panel features in terms of size and position vis-a-vis the location. These three components provide the Gross Rating Points (GRPs) for OOH and once we have the GRPs for a particular audience we can buy that audience at a particular rate. For some clients, it is now a matter of how many GRPs they generate from their spend, rather than the number of panels they have bought.
MAB: Are you satisfied with the quality of the data and is there room for improvement?
DK: It is a very important base for accountability. The next step is to have more real time data, which is where convergence with mobile comes in. In other markets, we build profiles on mobile usage in terms of online consumer’s search behaviour to gain a better understanding of real time behaviour. Then we can develop campaigns with maybe hundreds of different executions based on different triggers.
AS: The geographical scope of the current measurement system is Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Rawalpindi, which is where 80% of the media spend is going. However, that still leaves 20%, and the thrust for brands is to go beyond these four cities, which is why we would like the scope to include the top 11 cities where 90% of the spend is – and that could potentially increase, if we have the supporting data. MOVE is providing measurements based on panels and we would like them to provide us with GRPs based on location as well, so that we can do other forms of display.
DK: Compared to the rest of the world, Pakistan is ahead of the curve; many other markets are still buying panels. Pakistan is already focusing on audience buying.
MAB: Are you looking to increase your client base in Pakistan?
DK: We are not about increasing the client base, but about working together and inspiring brands with what we have done and can do with the new technologies and new innovations that are entering our OOH world. Although I am talking about technologies, it is about the experiences; the starting point is how we can use technology to enhance the consumer experience.
AS: We are looking at the brand essence and how we can connect consumers with that brand essence by giving them the right experience at the right touch point.
MAB: How costly are these executions to implement?
AS: It is about leveraging the execution; taking it forward and leveraging it across other media to obtain the reach required. We are hoping that other media – radio, TV and digital – will come together to start the conversation about the execution that is done offline.
"Compared to the rest of the world, Pakistan is ahead of the curve; many other markets are still buying panels. Pakistan is already focusing on audience buying."
MAB: What kinds of skills sets are necessary to implement this kind of innovation?
DK: This is a challenge we face not only in Pakistan but in other markets too. At one end we need data analysts to deal with all the data that is available and data is really impacting creative, in the sense that the creative has to adapt to the data. So, it is a new mix of talent; people who are data savvy and people who can innovate, collaborating together. It is a difficult mix to find, but the younger generation are so digitally-minded that they have a different approach to the world. We are at crossroads. We still need to do all the stuff we did before because not everything is changing overnight, yet it is a completely different landscape. We don’t want innovation to be pushed down from the top. Kinetic is an innovative company but we did not become so overnight. We have different pockets of innovation around the world and some markets are further ahead, like Pakistan, than others. We want to bring innovation into the DNA of all Kinetic employees and not simply have an innovation department so that there is a whole team working together with our business partners to deliver innovation and creativity.
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