Creativity first: Lumo’s challenge to the industry

Phil Clemas

It has been another extremely busy year for Auckland-based digital billboard company Lumo Digital.

Twelve months ago when StopPress spoke with co-founder and chief executive officer Phil Clemas at its CBD office, talk was all about growth and opportunities in the out-of-home space.

And that trajectory has been maintained as Lumo continues to grow – hitting 17 screens as expected in December last year, and now 20 which includes its first Wellington screen on Vivian Street.

Wellington is the fifth market Lumo has entered into – following Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga and Christchurch.

Clemas says Lumo has always aimed to create a national network but is “unashamedly Auckland-biased which makes sense considering the level of investment required to build our digital infrastructure.”

As the number of its screens grow, so has the team to add more capability. There’s now 11 staff plus three contractors. Two of those contractors are on the finance side of the business and the other is an Australian representative from WeThinkMedia.  

“He reps Lumo in the Australian market, mostly in Melbourne and Sydney,” Clemas explains.

“He’ll work with agencies whose clients want a New Zealand presence. It’s working well and beginning to grow momentum.”

In May Lumo added new talent for two key roles in direct sales and marketing. Josh McWilliams is its first step in structured direct sales and he has made an immediate impact.

“Much of Lumo’s income is from media campaigns booked by media agencies. But the uplift in direct sales bookings has already shown us that we had underestimated the opportunity,” Clemas says.

Hamish Smith joined as marketing manager, with emphasis to support the sales team.

“It’s not a marketing role in the sense of moving and representing product. He’s the custodian of the brand and has a priority to raise our profile and help the sales process through fresh collateral, consumer insights, online innovation and social commentary wherever appropriate”.

A fresh look

Smith has also already delivered a number of key projects, including the recent revamp of Lumo’s website and driven growth in the company’s online presence.

Clemas says it wanted to keep the same look and feel, so those who are more familiar with the website may not initially see much difference.

“There’s been a refresh of content, an upgrade in the quality of the imagery and we have a lot more direct control over the CMS which means we can be much more reactive to change”.

A lot of work on the website was done in-house but Lumo also relied on Latch Digital, a software firm just around the corner from its office in Britomart, who developed an industry-first client dashboard.

The first feature of this platform is the Lumo-Livestreaming portal allowing clients log-in access to view its campaigns in real-time.

Alongside this livestream, two other features that have been added.

One of them is an interactive video which tells the story of the company’s unique technology and what they offer. 

Clemas says from Lumo’s experience when talking to clients about technology, it can sometimes be hard to translate the relevance or context.

“We saw some interesting websites for other businesses that use interactive video to better explain how features work so we adapted the concept to Lumo.”

The minute-long video allows people to explore seven of LUMO’s key technological offerings – such as real-time traffic insights and independent display reports – while being taken on the journey around some of Lumo’s screens.

Transparency is important to Lumo.

“We spend time in Sydney and Melbourne with WeThinkMedia, and it’s particularly helpful for Australian agencies to see our inventory on the ground through drone footage because they’re less familiar with our locations, our market and what the streets, roads and cities look like,” Clemas says.

“By being able to provide this on our website, on our locations page, it opens the door to greater transparency and offers more information than you’d get from a static photo.”

Lumo-Livestreaming lifts the lid on their entire media network and is a world-first in terms of transparency.

Clients and agencies are given free log-ins and can see each individual LUMO screen in the moment, date and time stamped. Clients can take their own screen shots for proof of postings, or can be inspired by some of the other content they see.

The idea was championed by chief technology officer Robin Arnold who went to tenants and business owners on neighbouring properties from its sites to seek permission to install high definition cameras.

“The thing we like the most about it is that the infrastructure is now in place – now every new screen comes with a camera already prepared, built and installed nearby at the same time. We’ll have 27 by March next year and by June, we’re well on track to exceed 30,” Clemas says.  

Another fresh feature is the supply of campaign display reports from Sydney-based OOH independent technology platform Seedooh which started in June.

“They access our Ayuda platform via an API, draw out the display data per client and report back in a format that’s easy to read,” Clemas says.

“As campaign content and scheduling becomes more complex, it will become impossible to report actual display performance without a technology solution. This independent verification of performance by Seedooh is another new benchmark in our transparency journey.”

The last new feature on the refreshed website is an insights page which will grow over time and includes case studies, blogs and media releases.

Inspiring creativity

With almost three years under its belt, Lumo felt it was the right time to introduce its latest initiative, The Pixel Awards – a competition with the aim to ‘inspire digital outdoor creativity’.

“One of the things that’s missing from almost all outdoor advertising we’re seeing at the moment, particularly the roadside outdoor media, is regular use of dynamic or interactive ad content,” Clemas says.

He puts this down to a few things following talks with agencies; one – they just don’t think about it, two – clients think it’s too hard or really expensive, three – OOH is often planned and booked too late and leaves no time for creativity.

“The Pixel’s is really about trying to break down all of those barriers. Firstly, to inspire and to educate about the dynamic and interactive capabilities, get creatives excited, allow the creative thinkers to get their imaginations flowing, and then they can put an idea together for a client. This is a chance to showcase creative work in a premium-quality, brand safe environment where advertisers can reach large audiences in a more contextually relevant fashion.”

The inaugural Pixel Award winning entry will win a prize package worth over $45,000 including a trip for two to SXSW in Austin, Texas in March 2020, free media time on Lumo’s media network and the coveted Pixel trophy, a creative piece of art in its own right, designed by Simon Lewis-Wards.

People are able to enter as an individual or as a team but the idea has to be affiliated with a client who has signed off on it.

The travel package will include return flights and airport transfers, Platinum Badge tickets to the SXSW festival, five x nights hotel accommodation and $500 each spending money. 

The campaign will officially launch on 24 September and entries will run through to the end of October. There will be five judges – Clemas plus four creative luminaries who will be revealed on launch day.

“We asked our creative agency friends what would be really exciting for a younger creative. All agreed unanimously for that level SXSW festival is best, it’ll be an amazing experience and a great prize to win,” Clemas says.

It is also not going to be a one-off ­– The Pixel Awards will be a quarterly competition, running in February, May, August and November from 2020.

Clemas says each quarterly winner will receive $20,000 of free media and a $5,000 cash prize, as well as the  Pixel trophy. 

Each of the four quarterly winners will also become finalists for the annual Pixel Award winner which will be announced in early November, giving them plenty of time to prepare for their SXSW experience the following March. 

“We hope what comes out of this is far greater use of digital billboards, more effective advertising for clients, agencies get a pat on the back because they’re doing a good job andwinners can use the design for their books – everybody wins.”

And we believe this initiative will have really positive long-term benefits for the out-of-home sector, Clemas says.

“Ultimately, it’s a celebration of great ideas. Creative thinkers will express themselves in ways we can’t foresee and we are very excited about the potential. Agencies and advertisers will then use the audience insights, technologies, screen locations and dynamic capabilities to bring the ideas into a brilliant and vibrant reality. The possibilities are almost endless.”

Contact: Phil Clemas – phil@lumodigital.nz // https://lumodigital.nz/

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