I was very pleased to be invited to attend the LGcomms / GCS Awards Showcase day in Whitehall recently. As a public sector ‘outsider’, but someone who works very closely with the full range of organisations in this field, it was exciting to see how various organisations, from Central to Local Government to the emergency services, are tackling big communication issues. It’s even more interesting when considering that this communication generally must happen without the size of budget or resource that private sector organisations have at their disposal, and with a far-reaching range of messages to communicate and stakeholders to communicate with.
Given this background, throughout the day it was no surprise that the speakers reiterated the need to use data to understand who the audience is, where they are, and how best to reach them. Blanket communications campaigns simply don’t achieve the impact; gone are the days when a brief was ‘reach everyone, as they’re all the target audience’. Research and experience have shown that the more tailored a message is to the audience and the environment, the more effective, memorable and acted-upon it will be.
The communications landscape has arguably changed more in the past five years than at any other time in the 100-year history of public sector communications. Audiences are more segmented than ever before, and the channels to reach them are equally diverse.
However, there is still a clear role for a classic medium – out-of-home advertising – to reach and engage audiences with public sector messages. With the ever-increasing expansion of digital, out-of-home has evolved into a sophisticated, highly targeted channel which can deliver tailored messages to vastly diverse audiences at a time and place where they are available to absorb them.
Towards the end of the Awards Showcase day, I was lucky enough to have chance to share a presentation about the wealth of data sources used at JCDecaux, and how these are the key to achieving the targeting and engagement mentioned above, supporting our public sector partners in their communication requirements.
Our investment in data means we can segment audiences into clear target groups, and understand where these groups can be found throughout the week, and throughout the day, then identify the most appropriate out-of-home channels to reach them. Copy shown on these channels can be tailored to match with specific mindsets, as well, depending on time of day and location. All in all, our data-driven approach encourages creativity and provides increased effectiveness.
Founded in 1964, JCDecaux’s history is rooted in the public sector, providing public amenity at no cost to our partners, funded by the display of high quality advertising. We are at the forefront of digital and the smart cities revolution that is connecting communities across the world. We are committed to leveraging this experience for the benefit of our public sector partners.
By Gerard North, Head of the Public Sector at JCDecaux