Bryan Baxendale —OOH Today Champion
OOH Today features women and men who Champion and define the Outdoor Advertising Industry.
We share the faces and stories behind the names who add a personal dimension to #Out-Of-Home (OOH). Relationships are still an important part of #OOH and is an Industry, where the people behind the company, are as important as the company itself.
Bryan has 14 years in the OOH business. The Cleveland native, graduated as a Golden Flash (Kent State) with a major in Marketing and minor in Advertising, staying in Ohio beginning his career with Matrix Media, in Columbus.
We have known Bryan for over 10 years and Project X since the day it started, in 2010 with its industry leading technology platform, ADstruc, via Founder and CEO, John Laramie. Project X is the fastest growing independent Out-of-Home media specialist in the U.S.
OOH Today’s Conversation with Bryan Baxendale
Bill B: Bryan, what drew you to OOH?
Bryan B: I’d always thought it would be cool to work at an ad agency and come up with ideas for ad campaigns, little did I realize that those jobs are not easy to come across. After college, I moved to Columbus, OH and responded to an ad in the newspaper for an advertising job. It ended up being for Matrix Media. Landing in OOH was unintentional — I knew nothing about it going in — but it ended up working out perfectly.
Bill B: What is the unique skill set one must possess to succeed in your OOH role?
Bryan B: First of all, you need to be skilled at multitasking. There are always multiple campaigns for different clients — all at different stages — taking place at the same time, so you need to be able to handle complexity without getting overwhelmed, and be able to jump back and forth without skipping a beat.
Secondly, you’ve got to have thick skin and a short-term memory, because plans get shot down all the time — largely for reasons beyond your control — and you can’t let it affect your work.
Attention to detail is definitely critical because there are just so many components to running these campaigns.
Lastly, and maybe most importantly at the higher levels of this business, is the ability to build relationships. It’s a small world within the industry — you never know when your client will become your colleague, or when your colleague will become your vendor, etc… — and establishing trust helps you navigate challenges that require cooperation from multiple parties.
Bill B: What do you enjoy about working in OOH and why?
Bryan B: Every day in this business presents a new challenge — it never gets old. It’s also one of the rare businesses where you actually get to see your hard work pay off when your campaigns post. Sometimes I’ll see ads I forgot I’d placed because they were planned so long ago. It is still rewarding when you see one of your campaigns go live and put up for everyone to see.
It’s also the people — I’ve made lifelong friends in different cities across the country because of this business, most of whom share the same interests as me so there’s always something fun we can find to do together.
Bill B: What are your observations regarding the future of OOH?
Bryan B: I foresee some more consolidation within the industry (among both vendors and agencies) in the not-too-distant future.
Digitization — both in the inventory, which is becoming more digital, and in the way the medium is bought, which is beginning to shift to more of a CPM basis like digital/mobile. We’re certainly not approaching full digitization — there will always be analog inventory and people will always be required to structure campaigns — but there is a shift taking place.
Bill B: How did your career take shape?
Bryan B: As I mentioned earlier, I got my start at Matrix Media. I began as an entry-level OOH buyer and over the course of 8 years took on more of a leadership role within the company, eventually managing a team as an Associate Media Director. While there, I led the development of Matrix’s internal tech tools, and worked to improve the overall structure and workflow of their media department.
Next I went over to Billboard Connection, which required me to move to West Palm Beach, FL. They brought me on to revamp the training & development for their existing and new franchisees. By the time I left, I was overseeing 50+ franchisee offices and I’d helped improve their tech stack, as well.
Billups then recruited me and moved be out to their Denver office, where I came in as a Director and was tasked with growing the agency’s business with Minneapolis-area clients. We parted ways after about a year and I started my own business — Out-of-Home Media Consultants (OOHMC) — to help upstart, independent media operators market themselves more successfully to clients & agencies. I also freelanced on the side for some agencies, including Project X.
John Laramie (Project X’s CEO) had actually reached out to me years before for feedback on his company’s tech platform and we’d kept in touch. Once Project X won the Havas business, they needed someone of my level to run accounts, so they brought me on as a full-time employee. While at Project X, I’ve managed teams across the country and established the company’s second office here in Denver, which is one of our fastest growing markets.
Bill B: Are there any campaigns that exemplify the kind of innovative thinking you have?
Bryan B: I’m extremely proud of the campaign we ran for Noosa Yoghurt where we put up a billboard made entirely of their product’s lids in the shape of the Colorado state flag.
There were numerous logistical challenges to the project, but it ended up being a major success — within the eyes of both the client and the industry — and really represents one of my signature accomplishments.
Getting the concept from brainstorm to posting required me to collaborate closely with the client, their media agency, the creative agency, my national sales rep and the folks at the local plant, including in-person work with the install crew.
The campaign got a ton of local attention, was picked up by the press, and now the board itself resides at Noosa HQ as an emblem of company pride. Pulling it all off was extremely rewarding!
Bill B: The Noosa Yoghurt billboard was spectacular, literally and figuratively. Great CPG category and nice account for you back in 2016. What do you look for in prospecting for new business? What is the health of new business in Denver?
Bryan B: I try to identify small to midsize independent agencies where we can come in and provide value as a consultant on how their clients can leverage OOH to build their brands. I want to demonstrate the effectiveness of OOH to agencies so that they’re recommending it for all their clients. Many marketing plans are so fixated on digital these days that I believe by partnering with us on OOH, clients can use OOH to differentiate themselves from their competition.
Denver as a whole is one of the fastest growing markets in the nation, which you see reflected in every industry — including OOH. Companies are moving in every day and it feels like the sky is the limit. I look forward to seeing where it leads.
Bill B: Denver is a city, it seems everyone wants to move to. The tech business there flourishes. Can you tell us about your life outside of work?
Bryan B: I really enjoy life in Denver. There’s snowboarding, hiking, golf — all the outdoor stuff I love doing — right here all year-long. The Rockies play just down the street from me, so I end up going to a lot of those games, and there are a lot of music venues around Denver (e.g. Red Rocks), so I end up seeing a lot of concerts too. I also love to travel, so it’s nice to live in such a great hub…I’m basically on the move at all times.
Bill B: Tell us what you think about the Denver OOH community and market place.
Bryan B: The Denver OOH community is relatively small, but everyone here has pretty much worked together at one point or another, so we all play nice together. The quality of the OOH talent here is top-notch. And while we’re not as formally organized as markets like NYC or LA, the OOH community here is only getting stronger, which follows as the Denver/Boulder ad scene in general is bursting.
Thank you Bryan for sharing your story.
Enjoyed it Bill.
Contact Bryan at:
Project X Denver