x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Dubai’s billboards point the way to advertising future

You may have noticed that many new billboards have been installed on Dubai’s Sheikh Zayed Road. These are billboards with a difference – they show moving adverts, not just stills. And they represent the future of advertising.

You may have noticed that many new billboards have been installed on Dubai's Sheikh Zayed Road. These are billboards with a difference – they show moving adverts, not just stills. And they represent the future of advertising.
Digital media is paying big dividends for companies across the globe. Consider the success stories of companies like Burberry; since applying digital strategies in 2006, the company has enjoyed a staggering 250 per cent rise in its stock price.
You may think that because your company is on Facebook, you are up to speed with the new world of social media and communications – especially if you have seen the positive results of social networking turning into sales for your company. The ease of social media has made marketing activities a lot more affordable. A Facebook page is free when you compare it to the cost of traditional advertising, and the reach is just as great.
But now advertisers have something else to consider if we want to remain noticed and relevant moving forward. Now we must consider whether our message is engaging.
The industry is changing again because of viewers like you. People are now demanding how they want to view their media, and if you're a smart business or brand, you're listening to them and adapting your marketing message to suit.
The future of telling your brand's story is moving motion, also known as video. People have seen enough stock images, long articles and pretty quotes. They now want something real, knowledge-based and fast. The answer is video.
Google acknowledges this, too. Its rankings are based on the quality of the article and content, and now, video.
Burberry is on the mark with this new trend. Angela Ahrendts, the former chief executive of Burberry who recently joined Apple, has said: “There are companies that still do everything for print. We were doing everything for desktop, but now let's do everything for mobile and then take it back to the desktop.”
At the recent Abu Dhabi Media Summit, we heard news of even more changes in the way people behave. Andrew Scott reported in this newspaper last month that: “While parents may be content to watch just [the TV], their children are used to switching between tablets and smartphones. And the media industry is aware that as television's power wanes, commercial revenues will need to take the multi-screen environment on board.”
So what are the options for a brand to do that locally?
Jordi Casas, the chief executive of The Traveling Shoe, a hybrid production company between marketing and branded content, offers a solution. “Audiences today demand that their media sources provide constant current and stimulating content. And so it has become imperative for media outlets to adapt their eco-system to fulfil these needs.”
The Traveling Shoe produces one of the UAE's leading web-video content blogs, www.mydubaimycity.com.
Mr Casas says: “MDMC [a local video producer] was born with the aim of providing the ideal platform for SME [small and medium enterprises] and large organisations to advertise their brands, services and products through native advertising. In short, we aim to provide video content instead of commercials, and targeting these to a specific audience living in the UAE in a story telling format.”
Samantha Barry, a social media producer for BBC World News, believes “Engagement is the key to second screen use. If we are not interacting with them, they will be interacting with someone else.”
While it's fine for companies to feel proud of our social media efforts, it appears that we need to change the game again. We now need to think video if we want our businesses and brands to remain relevant.
This now means we have to invest in creating our message in a moving format. Whether they are shown on billboards on Sheikh Zayed Road, an iPad or a smartphone – the verdict is out – video is the future of your digital message.
Are you on board?
Janelle Malone is a wealth commentator, writer and author. You can read her blog at www.womenmoneyandstyle.com