How to Grow Your Brand in 2023 With Out of Home

2023, a new year full of new possibilities.  

A new year to grow and build a brand, whether it’s a start-up or a fully established business.  

A new year to engage with audiences in new and exciting ways. 

Growing Your Brand in 2023 with Effective Out-of-Home Strategies

Although the year has already started in a recession, our opening statement still stands whatever way you slice it. With ten years under our belt, three of which we spent in a global pandemic, we know more than anyone that brand-building and engaging with consumers is more important now than ever.

It’s important to note that this is not the UK’s first recession, nor will it be our last. Since 1923, this country has faced 8 major recessions and from all of them we have bounced back even stronger. Statistically, most recessions only last 12 months – but brands must not “write off” the year and hope for the best.  

We’ve learned many lessons along the way about brands and how they behave. There will be brands that win and brands that lose but the brands that hope for the best and fade into the market will be out of sight and eventually be out of mind. As an independent, global Out of Home (OOH) media agency, we’re here to showcase what we do best and show brands how they can grow in a recession by putting OOH to the test. 

As it’s already well documented that increasing spend during a recession can increase sales during times of adversity, we won’t focus too much on that. Instead, we will bring these tactics to life and explain why it’s not just advertising that’s the right thing to do, but why OOH is the right choice to make your brand thrive, not just survive in this recession. 

To do this, we’re going to break down the three stages of your campaign plan – Strategy, Creative and Measurement. 

ONE: Strategy

In a fast-moving world of marketing and media, it’s easy to overlook the basic principles of marketing – Product, Price, Place and Promotion. These 4 principles should still form the bedrock of your marketing strategy. However, each of them should be approached differently in times of financial hardship and economic uncertainty. 


In marketing and media planning, it is vital to establish where your product fits within the market during a recession. You must also understand how your target audience will interact with it from a purchasing decision point of view. 

Typically, marketers target based on demographics, but during a recession adopting a psychological segmentation that takes into consideration consumers’ emotional reactions to the economic environment may deliver greater success. 

However you choose to define your product and segment your audience, Talon’s proprietary technology platforms can help you achieve this goal. For example, with our DMP, Ada, we can help you to understand bespoke audience segments and provide insights based on real and recent consumer behaviours to create more precision in OOH planning and buying. This results in an average of +32% increase in targeting efficiency, resulting in uplifts for ad recall, consideration and purchase intent.


One of the biggest areas of opportunity, but equally risky, is how a brand prices their product. Although it often feels longer, most recessions only last 12 months. So, although discounting may increase sales in the short term, you run the risk of devaluing the value of your brand in the long term. Put simply, the price of your product is a key differentiator in the perception of your brand. Significantly discounting a product is comparable to turning an Audi into a Ford or a Rolex into a Timex. 

By showing resilience on both the price of your product and your advertising budget, your brand can reap rewards, particularly when keeping OOH as a part of your marketing mix. In the most recent time of uncertainty, brands that continued to invest in OOH saw a 51% shift in ad recall and + 16% for purchase intent. 


The place, or where your product is available is a hugely complicated yet impactful part of your marketing and media strategy. Whatever place you decide to sell your product – OOH can help increase purchase intent by 10% on average – this figure lifts to 12% when using long dwell formats such as transport and lifts to the high 50s and 60’s for call to action and brand consideration after being exposed to OOH. 

This is proof of OOH’s role as a fantastic trust builder – even more importantly, in a recession. If your advertising preference is online, then we’ve got some news for you. According to research conducted by Outsmart, OOH is proven to drive consumers online, delivering: 

  • +17% uplift in smartphone brand actions 
  • 61% average OOH call to action rate 
  • +29% increase in web traffic during an OOH campaign. 

Due to its environment in the physical world, OOH is great at hitting prospective customers on the high street can influence last-minute purchasing decisions and footfall. As O2 recently discovered with their Black Friday OOH campaign, they were able to increase store visits from their target audience by more than 186%.

Although buying behaviours are heavily impacted in a recession the fundamentals of advertising theory are not… a balanced advertising and communication plan is crucial for success. Outdoor is a fantastic brand builder, but it can also significantly improve short term impact – particularly when combined with other media. 

OOH pays back in terms of ROI when OOH share of a media plan is at 17% or more (current average is 11%) and can amplify the effects of ‘Recession preferred’ mediums such as social media & search by more than 50%. 

When it comes to traditional TV, OOH is and always has been a hugely complementary channel. 70% of light TV viewers are exposed to OOH and this figure jumps even higher to 82% in 16-34 year olds. For the harder to reach 16-24 year old category, who according to Ofcom, spend 7x less time watching TV than over 65s, heavy viewers of VOD are 45% more likely to be exposed to OOH. 

TWO: Creative 


During a recession, trust in institutions tends to decline. So, brand building and promoting a product goes a lot further than simple visibility. As we saw in the pandemic, reassuring simple and strong creative is important for building brand trust.  

With OOH, over 98% of the UK and US population is reached by OOH ads every week, making it an excellent channel to communicate these simple and strong messages. Reassuring messages that reinforce an emotional connection with the brand and demonstrate empathy (for example, by conveying a sense that “we’re going to get through this together”) are vital. 

The best way to drive trust is through a strong brand presence and strong creative messaging. Tweaks to your creative messaging can have a hugely positive impact on campaign performance. For example, in 2021, McDonald’s launched a campaign with a simple reassuring message of ‘We Deliver.’ This was an incredibly valuable proposition at the height of the pandemic when public places such as restaurants were not as appealing to customers. 

Home delivery during the pandemic was a practical message, but emotional messaging can be equally impactful – particularly when using large format OOH which is proven to increase emotional intensity by 43%.  

#SendingLove was another campaign that was live during the pandemic, that utilised emotional messaging. We along with Talon International and Grand Visual launched a global initiative to promote messages of love and raise money for the global COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. The user-generated messages of love and unity were displayed on digital OOH screens in 38 countries worldwide with social media amplification ensuring the messages were seen both in and outside the home. 

If truly authentic, purpose-led marketing can assist brands in standing out against undifferentiated competition – which could be essential at a time of price sensitivity.  

For example, with sustainability a key responsibility for audiences and brands alike, OOH can be used to supplement an authentic sustainability message for brands in various ways. 

THREE: Measurement 

Measuring the success of your campaign should be the staple of any activity – particularly when budgets are under increased scrutiny.  

At Talon, we offer bespoke measurement services as we know that understanding client objectives and KPIs is vital. Once the KPI is identified the measurement option, requirements, feasibility can all be discussed to ensure the measurement is bespoke to the campaign. Talon’s measurement studies can identify uplifts in footfall, brand perceptions, and sales following exposure to an OOH campaign.  

In addition to bespoke measurement options, we can provide performance norms due to our ongoing benchmarking project. 

And lastly, recessions are temporary, but decisions brands make can be long lasting. It’s up to you whether you grasp with both hands the possibilities that come with a new year. It will be whatever you make it. By taking the initiative and focusing on brand building and engaging with consumers, your brand can use this opportunity as a jumping off point, to build a brand that thrives not survives for years to come.