A unique combination of factors in 2020 made the year particularly – let’s go with – “memorable.” We experienced a global pandemic like nothing the world has seen in 100 years. Then, almost at the same time Americans retreated to our homes to “flatten the curve,” our country also underwent a social justice upheaval we’d not witnessed in a generation or more.
We were mostly stuck at home, glued to screens. People “Zoomed” into everything from work meetings, to online public-school, to meetups with friends. Although we did find ways to entertain ourselves offline, with things like board games and puzzles (puzzle sales soared!), we also spent more time than usual binge watching movies and shows on our streaming services. (Admit it: You watched The Tiger King out of boredom and wanting to know what was the big deal.)
If adjusting to everyone being in the house and learning to use online tools in new ways for school and work wasn’t enough to spike our stress levels (and blood pressure, etc.!), it all occurred during a contentious presidential election year.
Congratulations to all of us for navigating these challenges simultaneously!
What Does This Have to Do with Outdoor Advertising?
So, what does one crazy year have to do with billboard ads? Quite a lot, actually, including some specific advantages of leveraging outdoor advertising during this slow social and economic time. But we’ll discuss that in our next post. For now, billboards are a “huge” way to let your voice be heard.
The Importance of Using Your Voice
Privately, speaking up for yourself gets your needs met and resolves conflict. Plus, it’s arguably a form of self-care. We all want to be heard and to connect with others.
In a public space, it’s also important to use your voice. And if 2020 taught us anything (and we think it’s taught us a lot), it’s that we all need to speak up, voice our opinions, and “put ourselves out there.” Speaking up on this level gets our collective needs met and helps to resolve societal conflict. Here are a few of the ways individuals and organizations are using billboards to spread important messages right now.
Advertise for Business
Obviously, businesses continue to use outdoor advertising to promote their companies’ products and services. This may seem to be a self-serving purpose in an article about using your voice. But there’s nothing wrong with letting the public know what you have to offer. Your company solves a problem or fills a need for your customers. That is: They need you for something. And if they don’t know you exist, you’re unable to help them. No one should feel guilty – even during a pandemic – about making a living. The way you earn your income fills a need and provides a valid resource for your clients.
Raise Brand Awareness
It may seem counterproductive to use billboards to advertise and spread awareness while people are staying home more. With fewer cars on the roads, that means fewer eyes on your outdoor ad. But people still have to go out for necessities, and billboards can’t-miss-big. They simply can’t be avoided as online ads and TV commercials can be. Plus, billboards provide repetitio, and marketing experts say it takes 6 to 8 exposures to your company or product before someone becomes a viable lead for your business.
More importantly, as much as many companies have had to reel in their expenses over the last 9-10 months, advertising is not a budget item to delete from your business plans! Companies that balance spending reductions and business investments come out of economic downturns ahead of their competition. Companies that choose to either drastically reduce expenses or invest heavily to take advantage of low prices tend to fall behind.
Plus, advertising is a sound investment. It ensures people will remember your business and visit your location once the tough times have passed. You’ll be poised to capitalize on everyone’s excitement about getting out and about again.
Show You Care
Businesses may want to couple their brand awareness efforts with a special message showing your clients you care. You have probably noticed how quickly brands and advertisers have responded to the conditions created by the pandemic and other 2020 issues. For example, people in TV commercials can be seen wearing masks and exhibiting social distancing behaviors. Many of these recent ads have also taken on a feel-good vibe. With words and images, many brands are expressing sentiments like “we’re in this together,” or “we’ll get through this,” or “we’re here for you,” without even having to use those words. Although those types of messages are easily brought to life on video, the size of outdoor advertising also allows you to tell a story with your ad.
Get the Word Out (Local Services)
Stay-at-home directives have not only affected local businesses, but they’ve also affected families’ ability to get what they need. Local nonprofits and similar agencies have used billboards to communicate with the public about how they can help during this “unprecedented time.” Messages on billboards help to let people know where they can get assistance with their finances, to fill their pantries, and to receive other services they may need for their families.
Promote Healthy Behavior
Healthcare organizations have included billboards in their advertising mix as they strive to get the word out about staying healthy during the pandemic. They share PSAs (public service announcements) about handwashing and/or sanitizing and the use of face masks, as well as news about the rolling out of vaccines.
It might seem like there was little to celebrate during such a frustrating year. Plus, the conditions disrupted so many of our usual celebrations, such as graduations and grad parties, weddings, and fund-raising outings. But people managed to get creative and find ways to celebrate differently. For example, we saw all manner of “drive-by parties” – for birthdays, Mother’s and Father’s Days, graduations, and more. Did you know that you can build your own billboard to send a special message to a friend or family member? And it’s simple! We have an online tool that can help you create a custom, special message for someone in your life. It’s a great “gift” for anyone achieving a milestone, whether it’s a graduation, retirement, or a notable birthday.
Simply Be Heard (Policies, Politics, and Issues)
We didn’t want to “get all political,” but politics and related policy issues were larger than life in 2020. All kinds of political and social issues were communicated with billboard advertising throughout the year. Everyone from individual politicians, to political parties, to political action committees (PACs), to watchdog organization used billboards over the last twelve months to get their message out and appeal to the people and their needs. And because it was an election year, those messages were particularly important to the public, as using our votes to use our voice is one of the core privileges of living as an American citizen in a democratic republic. We should all feel confident that we’ve casted an informed vote – for the candidate that best aligns with our opinions and values.
Now Go Get Loud
There are many ways to use your voice and express your values, both as an individual and as a business or similar organization (e.g., nonprofit). For sheer size, repetition of your message, and the can’t-miss-it nature of outdoor advertising makes billboard ads the perfect solution for amplifying your important voice to the world.
And billboards aren’t just for the big-name companies (or politicians, etc.!). We have outdoor advertising options for everyone and every budget. To amplify your voice by building your own billboard with a special greeting or message, visit our online tool. For more traditional ways to amplify your organization’s voice with outdoor advertising, give us a call and ask about our current, special financing options.