The Great Equalizer
The US out of home landscape is shaped like a pyramid, with three publicly-traded companies at the top (Lamar, OUTFRONT, Clear Channel) Adams, Reagan, and Link Media in the middle, and many smaller, independent companies at the bottom – the foundation of our industry. The largest media operator owns more than 150,000 faces, while the #100 operator owns 249. Due to advantages in size, scale, and resources, it’s challenging for smaller companies to break out and compete effectively, especially at the regional and national level.
However, there is one great ‘equalizer’ that levels the playing field, by helping smaller OOH brands act, look, and feel bigger. It is brand marketing. Brand marketing can position smaller companies as more creative, more innovative, more media-savvy, and more customer-focused than competitors. All else being equal, customers buy from brands that they admire and trust.
In fact, brand marketing is the secret sauce that moves smaller companies up the ‘pyramid’ to become bigger companies. Brand marketing gives smaller brands a megaphone to communicate what they stand for, why they’re different from other options, and why customers should care. Brand marketing brings focus and clarity to a company’s mission, rallies people around a unified vision, and acts as a strategic roadmap, helping guide decision-making. Most importantly, brand marketing can help smaller players deliver superior ROI, by staking out and owning profitable opportunities where they can compete more successfully.
Over the years, I have successfully named, branded, and launched a wide range of small, medium, and large-sized OOH brands as a Fractional CMO:
- Geopath renamed and rebranded itself from the Traffic Audit Bureau for Media Measurement (“TAB”) more than 7 years ago. Geopath’s name, strategy, identity, and messaging reinforce the narrative that it has transformed from an old-fashioned organization into an agile audience expert whose vision is to provide trusted intelligence to help OOH buyers and sellers “transact confidently.”
- BOLDSITE positions itself as a ‘destination media’ expert that partners with real estate developers to place OOH and DOOH media in high-traffic, public spaces like the shoppertainment destination American Dream. Its brand voice and stortelling work together to communicate BOLDSITE’s highly ownable position.
- NextGrad is the only OOH digital media platform located inside public high schools that promotes college and post-secondary career opportunities exactly when and where students are making important decisions about what’s next. Through targeted promotion to budget-constrained high school districts and eager college marketing departments, this “high school opportunity network” has expanded dramatically across the U.S. and Canada.
Bottom line, most OOH businesses, whether they are media owners, agencies, platforms, data, or Ad-Tech providers, can greatly benefit from smart brand marketing. But many organizations lack the staffing, the resources, or the organizational structure to hire a full-time CMO or to build out a full-time marketing staff.
That’s where a Fractional CMO comes in. Fractional CMO’s are on-trend in the ‘sharing economy’ and a win-win for the OOH industry. Fractional CMO’s provide executive-level expertise that many companies cannot afford on their own. They offer invaluable marketing leadership. They are data-driven and digitally fluent. They employ the most proven digital, social, and performance-marketing best practices. They build, mentor, and lead marketing teams. And they can hit the ground running, making an immediate impact in weeks, not months or years. In many cases, a Fractional CMO can achieve better results in one or two days a week over a six-month period than a full-time CMO ever could. At a much higher ROI.
At Rafkin Brand Consulting, we’ve been working as a Fractional CMO since 2002. Founder Lee Rafkin has consulted with over 100 clients on four continents, including Fortune 100 companies like Discovery Communications, Fox Sports,Starbucks, Pepsico, Nestlé, Estée Lauder, and American Express. For the past 12 years, Rafkin has consulted as a Fractional CMO in the OOH industry, working with organizations like OUTFRONT Media, OAAA, Geopath, BOLDSITE Media, Trailhead Media, NextGrad Networks, and Motionworks. Rafkin is a highly creative OOH evangelist and an expert marketer who’s eager to share his expertise to help small and medium-sized OOH companies get bigger.
Lee Rafkin is a leading branding, marketing, and strategic communications consultant based in New Yor City. As a Fractional CMO, Rafkin has named, branded, and launched numerous OOH brands, including OUTFRONT, Geopath, BOLDSITE, NextGrad, and Motionworks.