CASE STUDY

The Project Compass

Prologue

It all began with an audit and monitoring application, and a CRM designed around it. We created a top of the line planning system for brands investing heavily in Out-Of-Home Advertising, we fabricated a camera called, the Peep, to count and analyze traffic. Within each of these applications, was bound the strength and technology to manage their own domain of auditing, planning or performance, respectively.

But they were all deceived, for another application was made, in the land of five rivers, in the house of Hashbrown, where Data Scientists, Programmers and Designers, forged, in secret, a master app that controls and manages total activity of an outdoor campaign, from strategy, planning, execution, audit and analytics.

Compass Graph

Since you have made it this far in this passage riddled with phrases from Lord of the Rings, you shall be regaled with a tale of sweat, labor, innovation, ingenuity and focus towards creating a product that has the potential to upend and transform the Out-of-Home Advertising & Marketing Industry completely and for the better.

Pattern Hashbrown

Step 1

Try and Fail

The Pilot Run

Hashbrown Systems has been purveyor of Outdoor Media and Advertising for some time. Our OOH Media Monitoring System was managing over 200,000 outdoor locations, which also included unauthorized wall paintings and transit media, at any moment. The company had also acquired substantial expertise in Data Analytics, and application of Data Analytics into various domains – institutional sales and Financial Markets, in particular.

We performed a pilot study of about 88 billboard locations in Delhi and measured the traffic. We further analyzed the area, particularly the government zones of the city for demographics, vehicle ownership, literacy, gender ratio, apart from quoted monthly costs of the billboards.

By applying some rudimentary machine learning techniques, we were able to able to build an allocation model that would rely on hard numbers, relied on good metrics and provided measurable results. The whole system was simplified for the marketing executive into three solid steps:

  • donut_smallEnter Amount in Rupees
  • donut_smallSelect by numbers, by literacy, by gender or combination of those
  • donut_smallPress Enter

After we verified the first three results by sending people on the ground and tallying the results, one of us wanted to leap out of our bathtub and run into the streets of Syracuse shouting, ‘Eureka! Eureka!’ But it was not to me as there were stringent laws against public nudity in Chandigarh and our findings were far from getting accepted by the outdoor advertising industry at large.

If we could allocate funds for 88 locations in one particular region, we could do so for the whole state, or the country even. It would be fundamentally the same approach but a different solution.

This was groundbreaking! This was breathtaking! This was the pioneering moment that would define the Out-of-Home Advertising & Marketing industry for years or an aeon to come.

Or so we thought?

Our first brush with the industry was encouraging to say the least, it reminded us of the not too old an adage that assumption was the mother of all fuck ups. We had in our naivety and the haste in applying newer technology into the oldest form of advertisements, had ignored or made assumption of needs and requirement of an OOH Marketer.

Step 2

A kick in the ass, is a step forward

This is an old Romanian saying, loosely translated to English and has been a motivating one for me as a program manager for this product. We had the technology, we had total understanding of how outdoor advertising worked, we had a team of hardcore engineers, statisticians and programmers, and most of all we had learnt from our mistakes and taken industry’s concerns into account and started amassing data that were to create what was truly mind blowing.

By collecting, collating and analyzing millions (yes, millions and we not exaggerating) Points of Interest (PoI) data we were able to create optimal points of commerce for a city or town in India.

Compass Step 2 Image

The rankings show the maximum point of commerce in that city and the findings were verified for over 70 towns and every time we came up trumps.

So, we did what we did before, we took our findings to the powers that be and this time they were accepted, and Hashbrown Systems was green lit to create a product around it.

A lot of information about techniques, analysis, programming and subsequent development of the application has been withheld for obvious reasons – the primary being that we have already licensed the product to one particular agency and they have engaged one of the big fours to further develop and market the product for industry use.

They are calling it – Compass

Compass Map
Pattern Hashbrown

Compass – Brief Introductions

Compass analyses data of about 395 large, medium and small towns of India.

The locations have been segmented into

X-cities viz. Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, and Pune

Compass Brief Image

Y – cities – there are total 88 Y-cities and we are not going to name them all, but they are big towns such as Ludhiana, Nagpur, Madurai, Erode and the like.

Compass Brief Image

Z- about 264 Z-towns and cities

Compass Brief Image

Demographic and commercial analysis for each city if presented for brand owners and executives to plan their marketing. Different players use the data differently and to different effect.

Pattern Hashbrown

Step Next - Furiosa

Remember the fuck up we espoused few moments ago. We were partially right about it, it was indeed a giant leap for the OOH Industry, and those findings shall come into play once the marketers have identified the areas (via compass) they wish to market or/and advertise in.

From where we stand, we figure it would be another few months before we present the world with something tangible, as for that to succeed, we would have to include media owners and vendors 10 into the process, besides working with brands that predominantly employ Out-of-Home as their prime mode of advertising and marketing.

Pattern Hashbrown

Conclusion

Conclusion Compass Image

Compass is the first step towards quantifying outdoor media, not only that it provides wonderful insights about smaller towns and cities that hitherto was not available at all, and one had to rely on mere hearsay. Compass brings you out of those uncertainties and into a field of data and numbers.

Out-of-Home Advertising, for all its misgivings and shortcomings, is the most effective and the most expensive form of advertisement and essential in building a brand. That is the only reason it has and shall survive the onslaught of new media as it had survived the old media before.

Pattern Hashbrown

Measurements, Metrics & Numbers

At Hashbrown Systems, we plug in the gap and make OOH more dependable and reliable by bringing in reliable data of various nooks and corners of the country. One could plan and execute a campaign in a remote geography of country from their boardroom in Mumbai and later on ensure compliance.

We make it all possible by singularly integrating every aspect of an outdoor campaign into one holistic application – compass.

Pattern Hashbrown

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