Digital outdoor specialist’s game-changing technology
LUMO is a fast growing digital outdoor specialist expanding with game-changing technology. Co-founder Phil Clemas explains the reasons why they’re branching out, and what they’ve learned since launching.
NZBusiness puts the questions to Phil Clemas, co-founder and CEO of digital outdoor business LUMO – covering the Covid effect, new game-changing tech innovations that offer transparency and accountability in the industry, and what they have learned after four years in the business.
NZB: Briefly, what does your business do?
Phil: LUMO Digital Outdoor is New Zealand’s only national pure-play Digital Out-Of-Home (DOOH) company. We created LUMO to offer clients a single focus on all things digital outdoor. Our emphasis is on high-resolution large format LED billboards, premium inner-city locations, and leading-edge smart software technologies to give businesses the edge.
LUMO is fast becoming the most influential digital outdoor specialist in the country with premium LED screens operating across Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington and Christchurch, all under-pinned by a technology infrastructure that guarantees a new standard in operational transparency and audience accountability like no other.
NZB: What was the motivation for starting LUMO?
Phil: Kent Harrison and I are the two co-founders. We are both passionate about the DOOH space and most importantly what can be achieved for our clients. I have been involved in media for most of my working life with a passion for outdoor media that started when I joined APN Outdoor in 2008 as GM. I turned my focus to LUMO, introducing game-changing tech innovations and setting new performance standards in the Out-Of-Home (OOH) sector.
Kent fell into the outdoor advertising space 19 years ago and has never wanted to leave. With almost two decades of experience in outdoor advertising his work and personal lives are intertwined as clients become mates and mates become clients.
NZB: How big is the LUMO team?
Phil: At the moment, there is me as CEO and Kent as Executive Vice President, and we lead a team of 13 talented specialists with huge ambition for the industry and their clients. There is a real sense of purpose amongst the LUMO team – this is their obsession. They want to make brands think twice about how to connect with clients in the 21st Century. It’s all about making businesses think differently about DOOH, because thanks to technology, the category has changed. It’s a creative’s dream and alongside our team’s enthusiasm and expertise, the possibilities are almost limitless.
NZB: How has Covid-19 impacted the business?
Phil: The impact of Covid-19 on the OOH industry was immediate. We witnessed a considerable decline in traffic volume across our digital network, particularly during the first lockdown and it is highly likely all OOH vendors were dramatically affected in some way. We must not understate the amount of change that has occurred nor should we assume that all will return to normal. The reality is we simply don’t know what the new normal for OOH will look like.
During the lockdown period, we were in a fortunate position of being able to leverage real-time traffic data from our traffic analytics platform, to update businesses on the changes in its vehicular-based audience volumes and travel patterns by day.
To give crucial support to the small business sector, LUMO Digital Outdoor and Pitchblack Partners launched Up and Running – an initiative dedicated to helping “neighbourhood stores” across New Zealand get back on their feet. Up and Running offered businesses billboard advertising totally free of charge at one or several of 23 giant LUMO sites across New Zealand.
The campaign kicked off and within 48 hours more than 500 submissions from small businesses had been made. Over the five weeks the campaign ran, more than 1500 free ads were displayed, helping hundreds of small business owners.
NZB: What are you focused on right now?
Phil: Due to COVID-19, 2020 has meant focusing on the launch of new technologies. In October, LUMO announced an exclusive partnership with LENS to offer a smart technology solution that captures vehicular data from each site in real-time. High resolution cameras armed with clever automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) software, face oncoming traffic to capture number plates of almost every vehicle.
The number plates can then be used to quantify audience volume, visitor frequency and provides insights to type, make, model and age of all that travel past each site. The LENS platform was purpose-built for DOOH businesses like LUMO which significantly raises the global standard in audience accountability for the OOH industry.
The addition of the LENS data has come at a good time as the global COVID-19 pandemic has turned the world on its head and clients are expecting greater accountability of campaign delivery and audience accountability.
We are focused on continuing to use technology well to improve operational efficiency and introduce product innovations. We are also focused on upskilling staff and adding more resources to grow the business, adding specialist contractor roles to manage certain tasks and requirements.
NZB: What are your long-term plans?
Phil: 2021 is going to be a huge growth year with a large amount of new builds in the pipeline and some further pioneering technology projects in development. We are positive disrupters, asking the questions, testing the boundaries, and setting new standards in performance, accountability, and transparency. Our mission is to smash open the creative box of opportunity digital OOH has to offer and become one of the world’s most innovative OOH companies.
NZB: What advice do you give to others who want to start their own business?
Phil: People are your most important asset. You need good, smart people around you to help broaden your view and provide the skills and imagination necessary to be successful.
Focus, focus, focus. It is easy to be distracted so have clarity around your brand promise and purpose to stay on track.
Agility is key too, especially in such a dynamic industry. You never know what’s just around the corner – you need to have contingency plans ready.
No matter how daunting the task, start with taking that first step and keep taking one step at a time. You will get there. And finally, don’t be complacent about complacency. It is the seed of failure and one that must be anticipated and stamped out before it takes hold.
NZB: What are your three key highlights from 2020?
Phil: They say pressure creates diamonds and this is how we feel about the year that has been 2020. Three key highlights for us include:
1. The ‘Up and Running’ campaign that helped hundreds of small businesses get up off the canvas and back into business after the first lockdown.
2. Supporting our staff during uncertain times with full pay and focus helped retain morale and assisted us rebuild momentum more quickly.
3. The recent launch of LENS, a new real-time audience measurement platform, designed and built during the darkest days of the Covid lockdown and specifically for the needs of digital out-of-home operators like LUMO.
These are the memories that will dwell longest for the LUMO team and have helped us retain our optimism for a brighter 2021.
NZB: What are the tech trends to watch in the DOOH space.
Phil: The following technologies used in the DOOH space will be ones to watch in 2021:
- New LED screen technologies.
- Audience measurement and insights (including mobility overlays).
- Display verification platforms.
- Programmatic trading platforms.
For more on LUMO click here.