As a landlord, you know the hard slog and expertise it takes to sort out leases, maintenance and compliance. Not to mention finding good tenants!
We know it’s hard work because our Sales & Marketing Director, Rupert Fenton, grew up in a family that owned commercial properties. What he absorbed around the kitchen table turned out to be oddly relevant to his subsequent career at Phantom.
Rupert, a bit about your background…
“I grew up in the UK where my family had a small portfolio of commercial properties. I remember listening to my parents and grandparents talking about rates, rent rises, deferred maintenance and all the other stuff you need to stay on top of. So I never had the naive idea that owning a commercial property was easy money.
“In the end I didn’t join the family business, opting instead for the media business. I’ve spent 25 years now in the outdoor advertising industry in the UK and New Zealand. I’ve worked for start-ups and the world’s biggest outdoor media company. And now I’m part of a great team here at Phantom.”
On the surface of it, being a landlord and running a poster network seem like quite different businesses. But you say they’re similar. What do you mean?
“It’s the fundamental business model. If you get the right tenant/advertiser in the right location, you will get the best result.
“As a landlord you don’t want just any old tenant – you need a business that will really thrive in the space, as well as treating it with respect and paying the rent on time. As their business grows, you as the property owner will be rewarded with a greater return. In the same way, our advertisers benefit from being in high-quality spaces.
“By attracting the right advertisers into our frames, we’re rewarded when their campaigns succeed. They know they’ve done well so they’ll happily come back for more.”
Surely it’s straightforward – high foot traffic equals high value?
“Of course, a premium site on a busy street will command top dollar simply because of the number of eyeballs it attracts each week. But that’s just the beginning.
“Just as smart retailers look to add value to their stores, we add value to our poster sites. So you’ll see retailers taking on the online threat by innovating with their commercial space, like Barkers with in-store barber shops in its menswear outlets. We have the same can-do, innovative attitude.”
Can you give any examples?
“At Phantom we’ve been creating more four-in-a-row sites, because we’ve noticed that big brands like State Insurance or Mercury like to book sequential street posters that tell a story. We’ve also invested in extra-large sites, that act as eye-level billboards to give our clients extra impact. And we have the skills in-house to build shelves for product sampling, or to customise and colour-coordinate our frames with their brands.
“There’s a big pay-off, because now street posters can now serve a strategic purpose in big brand campaigns – and attract more customers.”
What about the role of posters in recovering from Covid?
“We understand how their businesses were hit by the lockdowns. Losing tenants and customers was a brutal blow, and it affected our business as well as theirs.
“That’s why we’re super-focused on maximising returns from our poster network and helping support the property owners where our frames live. You could say we’ve got skin in the game.”