Geopath Member Spotlight | Volta
A conversation with Brandt Hastings, Chief Commercial Officer at Volta

Geopath Member Spotlight | Volta <br/> <span style='color:#000000;font-size: 18px;'>A conversation with Brandt Hastings, Chief Commercial Officer at Volta</span>
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Tell us a bit about your background in the OOH industry and your role at Volta.

I’ve spent the last two decades working in the digital media and advertising industries and have been fortunate to help lead its rapid evolution. From my roles at Clear Channel Communications and iHeartMedia, to my current position as Chief Commercial Officer at Volta, I love pushing the boundaries of innovation in my work.

Speaking of progress, the advancements being made within out-of-home media are solidifying its relevance in our current digital era. OOH has long been an effective environment for reaching audiences, but the digitalization of these platforms is unlocking new, measurable value for brands.

At Volta, my job is to evolve our valuable DOOH network into a powerful media solution for a range of industries – from auto and CPG to entertainment and tech. And given the fact that our media network is built into our EV charging stations, I also get to support our transition to a carbon-free future that benefits all. Our screens serve as an essential educational platform showcasing how EV charging can drive meaningful change toward a cleaner environment. As a father, it’s incredibly meaningful to me that I am helping create a safer, more secure future for my children.

Volta has had a lot of great partnership/expansion announcements recently (Tanger, Walgreens, European market, etc.). Can you highlight some of these and talk through how Volta and EV charging in general is growing?

Brandt Hastings, Chief Commercial Officer at Volta

Volta’s mission is to accelerate a clean energy future that benefits everyone. We do this by bringing EV charging directly to our consumers in a highly convenient way that integrates into their daily lives. For example, we enable both a quick charge at your neighborhood grocery store and a longer charge at the sports arena you travel to on the weekends. Our partnerships with household names like Kroger, Tanger Outlets, and Walgreens are an exciting recognition of this model and allows us to keep building out the public charging options that are critical for widespread EV adoption, all while driving valuable business activity for our site partners and new media opportunities for advertisers.

The shift to electric vehicles is one of the most significant changes of this century. EV sales doubled from 2020 to 2021, and that trend is only expected to continue. As more and more EVs replace traditional, gas-powered cars, our society will need more and more public chargers. Looking ahead, Volta’s singular focus remains on delivering convenient and accessible charging infrastructure that maximizes benefits for all—drivers, retailers, and brands.

Are there particular markets that you see as most relevant or untapped for EV charging media networks?

The reality is that to support the full-scale transition to electric, the entire country will need to be covered with charging stations. Therefore, it’s not so much about a particular market as it is about ensuring convenient, reliable access in each market.

Volta has created a proprietary software product called PredictEV® to help us and our partners identify the best charging solutions for each market. It uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to analyze all the relevant facts and figures of a particular geography and plan for expected EV adoption, optimal charging locations, and the right mix of charging infrastructure. To support the strength of our media network, we also look at these potential sites against the DMAs in which they are located to make sure we’re expanding in areas of high economic activity, foot traffic, and advertiser interest.

The PredictEV tool also calculates corresponding societal benefits such as CO2 mitigation, air quality improvement, and improved health outcomes.

What do you see as some of the key opportunities for the OOH industry in the coming year as it relates to unique inventory such as EV charging? Challenges?

The OOH industry, and specifically the DOOH industry, is poised for significant growth. At Volta, we’re partnering with the leading data supply and enablement platforms, as well as measurement and analytics companies, to provide these capabilities for our customers in a way that parallels the best digital measurement solutions around.

Based on a study Volta conducted in December of 2021, nearly half (42%) of Americans have never seen an EV charging station. At the same time, convenience is increasingly a must – not a luxury. That same study revealed that 75% of EV intenders rank convenient access to EV charging as their top barrier to making the switch. These findings only further support Volta’s ongoing commitment to building a network that is highly visible, convenient, and accessible. These prominent locations not only benefit drivers, but also the brands that want to reach an audience of consumers in the purchase mindset.

As an industry, we’ve proven that almost anything in the physical world, so long as it is prominently located, can be a home for advertisements—EV charging stations, bus shelters, benches, sidewalks, even fields of crops that are under popular flight paths. Volta believes that what the industry needs to prove next is that all of these eye-catching OOH placements can be targetable, measurable, and ROI-positive for brands in the 21st century.

What is most valuable to you about being a member of Geopath?

Geopath is an incredible partner to Volta and adds a crucial layer of credibility with our advertising clients. In a world of accountability and auditing, Geopath enables both. This provides important insight into the power of our media network and allows us to deliver higher performing campaigns to our clients.

Being a member of Geopath also keeps us surrounded by a community of cutting-edge ideas and individuals, allowing us to keep pushing our network forward and collaborate with the industry.

How have the needs of national brands changed over the last few years as it relates to their advertising strategies? From your perspective, how does OOH (and media networks such as Volta) best meet their needs?

National brands have historically relied on OOH for only upper funnel awareness campaigns. Volta’s network of highly visible, 55” digital screens grabs attention, but the placement of our screens just steps away from store entrances creates unparalleled contextual relevance that drives conversions. With media networks such as Volta, an advertiser can connect with a consumer moments before they take out their wallet to make a purchase.

And with the advanced audience targeting capabilities available, brands can further segment this highly valuable audience. In an ever more competitive and fragmented shelf, this enables brands to become top of mind with the right consumers just as they are making a purchasing decision. We demonstrate the power of Volta’s placements and targeting capabilities through incremental ROAS studies, proving that awareness is great but conversions are what make brands grow.

What’s the best OOH campaign you’ve ever seen? What made it stand out to you?

Last winter, Volta partnered with Coca-Cola® to drive sales for its Sprite, Seagram’s, and Fresca brands over the holidays. What made this campaign especially exciting was our ability to quickly measure Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) – a metric still relatively nascent in DOOH marketing. Using capabilities from Ahold Delhaize (AD) Retail Media and Quotient, success was determined by ROAS – and the soda brands featured in the campaign racked up $2.51 million in attributable sales and a ROAS 56% higher than the average for DOOH ROAS across all ADUSA food and beverage campaigns. The campaign was also successful in converting new customers, with 8.2% of the purchasers new to the brands, and 7.6% new to the category.

The strategic placement of Volta’s platform, coupled with the full circle customer data from AD Retail Media and Quotient, make for a perfect combination to demonstrate Volta’s power in a consumer’s omnichannel path to purchase.

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