Sight Lines

Working through the crisis: How relationships, collaboration and trust will shape the future

oOh!media National Commercial Director – Fly Elise Taylor comments on the changing landscape for Out of Home media, and on how partnerships will evolve as a new future emerges.

The aviation sector will remember 2020 as a year like no other – from aviation traffic at unheard of levels to airports left with little to no passengers, the damage caused by COVID-19 has been widespread, serious and of deep concern, writes Elise Taylor.

These conditions have forced industry participants to adapt quickly, make tough decisions, and build for the future in an uncertain climate. Yet what we are seeing is a resurgence in trust and collaboration as people work together in new ways.

Elise Taylor: Transparency, integrity and maturity are required to overcome this crisis as partners

Relationships are everything

When COVID-19 hit, business relationships were put to the test like never before. As Australia’s leading Out of Home company, we were impacted as borders closed and people retreated from city centres, entertainment precincts and travel hubs to their homes and suburbs.

Our existing relationships with airports and companies like Qantas faced real challenges, but we collectively realised we were all in this together and would have to find new ways of working. The first major decision was to be completely transparent about the impact of the pandemic on our business, and how we could help the aviation sector. Our partners responded with the same transparency, for example by sharing information daily that helped us understand the extent of the downturn and implement mitigating strategies.

Everyone displayed maturity and integrity about the seriousness of the issues and put in place the mechanisms to talk about them, whether weekly meetings or daily calls. We also provided a single point of contact for commercial matters, giving our partners consistency and familiarity.

oOh!media has played an important role in communicating health message to the public, at airports and beyond

Collaborating through crisis

As the pandemic unfolded, we ramped up collaboration with our commercial and advertising partners. An immediate decision was to rapidly promote health and safety messaging across our assets in the airport environment, and we rolled out content within 48 hours.

We then turned to working together with our airport partners to support their retailers, given the drop in traveller numbers and the significant amount of stock being held and no sales channel available. Brisbane Airport (BNE) pivoted quickly to create BNE Marketplace, an online platform for their retailers’ products created in just 16 days. BNE approached oOh! to seek support for this innovative online airport retail store, and we discussed how together we could efficiently and effectively target a market that wasn’t the traditional airport customer. We applied our audience data to identify the buyer and where they live. This provided the framework for BNE to target their key audience sets based on buyergraphic data to promote BNE Marketplace with scale across oOh!’s entire media suite, including large format billboards, bus stops, train stations and cafes.

Additionally, we supported our airport partners’ retailers by using creative content to display which retailers remained open and provide wayfinding in terminal for people still travelling or working at the airport.

This took a lot of collaboration across multiple stakeholders. Toby Innes, Head of Retail and Ecommerce at Brisbane Airport, was one of the key drivers of this initiative, and said: “oOh!’s willingness and collaborative approach during this challenging time has been exemplary.

“oOh!’s consideration of how different stakeholders have been affected and how they could help each other wherever possible by leveraging the sheer scale of their business is extraordinary. For Brisbane Airport, this level of support was incredibly valuable in the inception of BNE Marketplace.

”It has been a real demonstration of teamwork and creative thinking. Collaboration of this nature is in oOh!’s DNA, which makes working together, even in unusual times, a value-creating experience.”

We also collaborated with our advertising partners in adapting their booked campaigns. For some like Deloitte, the answer was to donate their campaign to a worthy charity, and we are proud to bring this act of corporate generosity to life across the airport environment. Besides this, we have several well-known brands currently exploring unique concepts that will inject new life into airport precincts, and their creativity will be on show before too long in key locations.

Sharing the commercial pain has been paramount, and here airports have played their part, says the Out of Home specialist

A question of trust

Above all else, trust is the key factor underlying our approach to the pandemic, and I’ve never seen such levels of trust and respect than I have over the past few months.

For example, while commercial relationships are underpinned by contracts, there have been many occasions where the strict letter of existing clauses has been put to one side due to the prevailing conditions, and new arrangements implemented that fairly honour the spirit of the contract, without resorting to formal and expensive legal amendments.

On all sides, everyone has shared the commercial pain and worked towards creative solutions in order to survive with the view to future whatever that may look like.

Changing demographics shaping the future

It’s been a good time to plan for the future. The latest research, for instance, shows that in the post-pandemic era airport travellers will become younger and are savvy about saving on the essentials. This trend clearly has implications for travel retail, affecting everything from product mix and merchandising to advertising and PR activities.

For some airport operators, it will be an opportunity to refresh the offering and tailor the retail mix to the Next Generation* traveller. On the flip side, the traditional luxury brands so familiar to airport environments may have to adopt new approaches to market, tailor their own product mix, or weight campaigns more heavily to airport lounges to reach affluent travellers.

We will be working with our partners to adapt to this changing market, potentially focusing more on creative content and experiences to engage with this demographic. We will also be making even greater use of our global-leading DataScience insights capability. The advanced tools contained within the offering will be used to uncover highly granular information to help map out the aviation audiences of the future and understand them – taking a very detailed look at hundreds of buyer-graphic categories and people movements.

This information will then be analysed in minute detail to identify emerging trends, as well as buyers of different types and inclinations, and then help position brands and commercial partners accordingly.

Turning to the big picture, the pandemic has forced us to innovate at a faster pace than expected, and jump several years ahead in terms of strategy, product mix and commercial positioning. It’s been an intense experience that reinforces daily how the future of the aviation sector will be different from the past.

Trust, collaboration and strong relationships will remain crucial in this new era, and the foundation of a more prosperous time ahead.

*Sources: oOh! DataScience, Quantium QCrowd, Next Generation

oOh!media is a leading media company across Australia and New Zealand that creates deep engagement between people and brands through unmissable Out of Home advertising solutions. Our connected offline and online ecosystem makes brands unmissable across our diverse network of more than 37,000 locations across Australia and New Zealand helping brands connect with their audiences through powerful and integrated, cross-format campaigns. Our unparalleled reach combined with industry best data, insights, media planning tools and technological innovation gives advertisers an added layer of campaign intelligence. oOh! delivers the reach, optimisation, engagement and impact to connect and influence audiences anytime and anywhere.

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The Moodie Davitt eZine Issue 284 | 30 September 2020

The Moodie Davitt eZine is published 12 times per year by The Moodie Davitt Report (Moodie International Ltd). © All material is copyright and cannot be reproduced without the permission of the Publisher. To find out more visit and to subscribe, please e-mail

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