• Kym Frank on Geopath and the Future of Audience Location Measurement

    Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 9.09.37 AMKym Frank is President of Geopath (formerly known as the Traffic Audit Bureau for Media Measurement or TAB).  Geopath is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to power a smarter US OOH marketplace through state-of-the-art audience location measurement, insights, and market research innovation.  Geopath is a tripartite organization representing the interests of agencies, advertisers and media companies.

    The official Geopath rebrand will take place in Times Square on September 19th.  TAB changed its brand name to Geopath to reflect the changing landscape of the OOH industry.  You can watch an entertaining TAB/OAAA 2016 Conference speech on the Geopath YouTube Channel.

    Kym, talk about your background and how you got involved with Geopath.

    I just kicked off my 20th year in media research this February!

    I got my start in television syndication at King World Television Productions (now CBS Television Distribution).  In my early days there, my most important duty was pulling the overnights off of the fax machine in the morning and reading them to Roger King.  It wasn’t what I had planned on doing with my career, but I quickly found that I had a passion for telling stories with data.  I spent 12 years with the company, eventually landing the VP, Research title and leading the team. After that, I went on to leadership roles at FTI Consulting, ZenithOptimedia, and most recently Symphony Advanced Media, a leading technology company providing cross-media measurement and insights.

    I received a call out of the blue in the spring of 2015, asking me if I’d be interested in interviewing for the position at TAB.  The organization was in need of a new leader, some fresh positioning and new measurement methodologies.  After a multitude of meetings with key industry stakeholders, I knew that this was the role for me!

    You are a relative newcomer to the OOH space.  What made you want to join the industry?

    I am a researcher at heart, so I spent a significant amount of time investigating the space.  It didn’t take me very long to realize that the industry is at a real turning point.  The opportunities are staggering!

    At SymphonyAM, I used geolocation data for cross-channel optimization and advertising effectiveness studies.  I knew that this type of data could be harnessed by the OOH industry with great impact.

    Additionally, OOH is immune to many of the problems facing other media channels such as ad fraud, ad blockers and viewing fragmentation.

    Our members are out there testing, learning, incorporating state-of-the-art innovation into their OOH campaigns.  I feel so fortunate that I get to be a part of the industry at such an exciting crossroad.

    •Geopath_Logo_descriptorHow is the TAB to Geopath rebranding going?

    I announced the Geopath rebrand for the first time at the TAB/OAAA Conference in Boca Raton this April in front of hundreds of attendees.  Talk about exciting…and a bit scary too!  TAB is an 83-year-old organization – but it was definitely time for a change.

    We launched a survey immediately following the conference, and the change was overwhelmingly embraced by the membership:

    “I think it was a very smart move to re-name and re-brand the organization!”

    “…bold move to change the name.  Took courage… I like it.”

    “Fresh and overdue.  Reflects a more modern positioning.”

    “I like the fact it can include all current/future forms of OOH, is media neutral which will allow Geopath the headroom to study other away from home media, and sounds more like a tech start up than the IRS…”

    The most exciting part of our rebrand is the new tagline.  We used to be “TAB, Out of Home Ratings.”  Now, we are “Geopath – Audience Location Measurement.”  We are measuring the pathways of an anonymous audiences as they move about their days – not simply measuring inventory and generating ratings.  It has really resonated with our members.

    There is so much more to the rebrand than the name though.  Geopath is embracing an enhanced member-centric culture, a start-up mentality, providing educational resources and thought-leadership to our members, building relationships across the media landscape, and most-importantly embracing our inner geeks.  We are a team of passionate, brave, intelligent people who are dedicated to the success of our members – and we just have a lot of fun.

    While we have already migrated over our social channels to the Geopath name, the bulk of our changes won’t go live until September 19th.  Many of our members donated digital inventory that day so that we can showcase the new logo around New York City!

    I am on the Geopath Tour now, visiting as many cities as I can to meet with our members face to face.  We talk about their needs and challenges.  We discuss the Geopath rebrand, our services, our current measurement system and the future of audience location measurement. It’s a good opportunity for me to look for ways that Geopath can better serve our members.

    Our industry is populated by some really amazing people, making every visit truly enjoyable.

    Geopath has an exciting project – Operation M.O.R.E – to incorporate mobile phone and connected car data into out-of-home measurement.  Can you give an update on how the project is going and a timeline from here?

    Our Board of Directors unanimously approved a Proof of Concept of the system in December.  We are at the conclusion of the Proof of Concept phase right now and are about to bring the results to our Operation M.O.R.E. Committee.  We built data in three cities, Chicago, Atlanta and Orlando for the test, and the results are really exciting.  An industry currency based on data that is this robust and granular could truly be game-changing for OOH.

    We will be presenting the Proof of Concept to the Geopath Executive Committee at the end of August and then the Board of Directors in mid-September to determine next steps.

    What other exciting initiatives are underway at Geopath?

    We recently opened up a new membership class for data providers, research companies and software systems.  This new Provider – Associate membership is a great step for us as Geopath works to be inclusive of the entire OOH ecosystem.

    We also are offering webinars on a variety of topics.  We refer to them as our Out of Home Office Hours or OOHOH.  Topics vary widely.  We’ve recently done webinars on the Internet of Things, Programmatic in OOH, Millennial Media Consumption, and how television and radio are measured.  We’ve had over 1100 attendees in 2016.

    We are actively blogging, engaging with our members on social media, and generating thought-leadership on behalf of the industry – all while maintaining our existing measurement system and developing a new one.  It is a lot of to accomplish with a team of 12, but we love it.  We continue to work hard to ensure that our organization meets the expanding needs of our membership and the industry.

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