When it comes to traditional, old-school advertising, the outdoor billboard always seems to come to mind. Maybe it’s the nostalgia of seeing these giant ads on a long trip, the distraction they bring when you’re stuck in traffic or simply the comfort of knowing they are always there, and yet, always providing something new as well. They are, or what should be, advertising’s most simplistic form of communication – a story told with the use of a single image and a few words, all told in the blink of an eye. And even though outdoor advertising has been around for decades, it remains a powerful tool when used properly and executed effectively. The following are a few things you might want to consider when it comes to utilizing outdoor in your marketing plans.

1. Your Audience

As always, know your audience, and make sure outdoor is the right vehicle to reach them with your message.

Assertive types are known for making quick decisions. So, if they see an outdoor board that is geographical in nature, you may be able to influence them with a more direct approach.

Amiable types are usually drawn in by visuals, so it’s always good to have a strong visual component to go along with your message. (For more details on personality types and how to develop messaging for them, check out our blog HERE).

In the end though, it’s important to consider your audience first, and not just the thrill of seeing your company’s name plastered along the highway.


2. Types of Messages

Now, we know any outdoor advertising message should be simple and to the point, but what should that short, clear message actually communicate?

  • Directional Messaging: This one is a quick indication of what your business is and where it’s located, hopefully near the outdoor advertising. Something like: “We’re 2 blocks away,” or “Just around the corner” works really well, but make sure you find a creative and memorable way of saying it.
  • Event-Oriented: If your brand is sponsoring an event, outdoor advertising is a great way to get the word out to the masses. Just make sure you include the details, without going overboard. Remember, you only have a few seconds to communicate your message, and when it comes to outdoor, less is always more.
  • Brand Awareness: General brand awareness also lends itself to outdoor advertising, but it needs to resonate with your audience and be memorable. Remember, you only have a few seconds at best, so be sure to make what you say count. Let’s look at this great example from a previous Razor Branding Blog. Here the car dealerships used billboards to poke a bit of fun at each other. It was clever, witty and attention grabbing. There was nothing nasty, no losers, just great use of outdoor advertising by two brand giants.


3. Use of Digital Space

Fortunately, outdoor advertising has managed to change with the times, particularly with the use of digital boards. These types of outdoor spaces provide the opportunity to have multiple messages that can be rotated – both on a single location, as well as throughout town.

Unless you have some form of mutant powers you got after being bitten by a spider, no one is going to scan that QR code at 50 mph. If you utilize digital boards, this QR code would be completely lost in a matter of seconds.

Another great benefit from developing a digital campaign is re-purposing the creative on your social media channels. Outdoor messaging is tailor made for this and can provide additional opportunities for reach, without spending more for content.

The main take-a-way for outdoor advertising is audience, messaging and space. Realizing how people make decisions based on outdoor advertising is important, and knowing how to talk to them with effective messaging is crucial. Take the time to craft your message and outdoor advertising can be a vital part of your marketing and branding initiatives.


RUSSO is a strategic branding agency that uses consumer insight to change the conversation; forming emotional connections with your target audience. To learn more, click HERE to subscribe to our podcast.

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