OOHCC Thought Leadership

Taking Risks. It all starts with one small step…

31 January 2018
Taking Risks. It all starts with one small step…

By Louise Stubbings

Pushing boundaries and going outside our comfort zones. Life’s all about that isn’t it? If we don’t we stagnate, procrastinate and just continue to go through the motions.

Taking risks is not just about jumping out of planes, writing your first blog (this is mine) or investing in virtual currency – it’s about putting yourself out there. It’s doing something that might end in failure but doing it anyway. It can leave you vulnerable, exposed and uncomfortable. But it is essential to drive change, create higher standards and take you places you’d never expected to be.

Clear Channel has always taken risks – it’s one of the reasons I joined the business 4 years ago. We put the first digital screen in the ground back in 2005, helped bring a new trading model to the market with the launch of Storm in 2013 which put flexibility firmly at its heart and changed the way that digital out of home is now planned across the industry, and bought a phone box business 2 years ago with a vision of de-cluttering and planting trees in order to improve the local communities.

This month, we are launching the Out of Home Creative Council, a small seed of an idea that began 12 months ago – get together a group of like-minded, passionate individuals who all love Outdoor, to see if we can truly help to drive creativity up the agenda as a result of first uncovering the challenges and then working together to overcome them.

The OOH industry has undergone enormous, transformational change over the past 4 years and the opportunity to be creative is seemingly at an all-time high, but we can do more. We need to connect across all specialisms – media, creative, client, media owner – to fully open up the discussion on how we keep moving forward to the benefit of those creating ads and those engaging with them.

I joined the media and advertising industry just over 15 years ago and am hugely passionate about it. Great creative advertising pays off in spades. Not only can it change the way you think, feel and act towards a brand in that moment, but it stays with you because of the emotional impact it imparts.

Posters are the perfect canvas for creativity but I feel the rapid pace of change that the medium has gone through recently has been both a blessing and a curse. But, while the canvas may have changed, the basics remain the same.

The adverts that push boundaries are always the ones that stick in your mind – Hello Boys, This Girl Can, Araldite, The Economist, Look At Me (domestic violence), Lego Movie Adbreak, BA Look Up. They were only possible as a result of strong collaboration, divergent thinking, open discussion and (most importantly) trust.

Creativity is one of the most basic human desires. I watch my 6 year old drawing, building Lego, making up stories, devising new games, ever amazed by his seemingly constant supply of it. It saddens me to know that he may lose that as he grows up and more focus is put into doing things ‘properly’.

I would love all of us to reconnect with that kid inside us. The one who just does something to see if it’ll work, because it looks fun, because we can and no-one has said no, because why the hell not? That’s why I’m excited about doing this. Because I want to see what we can do. I want to know if it’s possible for us to get more people thinking about the seemingly impossible. I want to make sure that everyone knows the potential OOH has and help them use it. Creativity flourishes in the presence of others, much like I’ve seen with my son and his friends – they are unconstrained by process and linear thought. I’m hoping the OOHCC can think like a classroom of six year olds – wildly imaginative, not burdened by the world around them and ready to get creative because that’s what will drive us all forward and deliver the change we need.

So I’m excited. And nervous. And I’ve taken to having semi-regular moments of panic when I realise we are actually going to do this. But there are boundaries to push and comfort zones to step outside of, so I know it’s worth the risk.