There’s something innate in all human perception that allows us to generally distinguish between something that looks “just OK” and something that is attractive, beautiful, or engaging. All of us have that gene which allows us to identify a great car, an incredible house, a pleasing website, or even a stellar meal – before we even sample it. Often we can’t clearly describe what it is that made those things stand out, but we know it when we see it. It doesn’t take a digital expert to identify pleasing aesthetics, performance, and engagement with a well-done array of digital displays. Once again, we know it when we see it, but find it hard to describe what is so pleasing about the imagery in front of us.
I just returned from Las Vegas where so many have learned to deploy digital displays and imagery in an incredibly engaging fashion. It’s clear that the notion of Big-Is-Better drives much of what goes on when you travel the Strip, but there are some that stand out regardless of the size and location. And most of us using digital signage to communicate our messages are not encumbered by environments that require 70’ screens with vivid competition trying to outdo us next door. Most of us just want to get it right inside our facility, or restaurant, or theatre, or entertainment venue, or retail establishment.
So what do all GREAT installations have in common? Actually the list is pretty straight-forward, but we often get caught up in the project design rather than the project purpose. Here are some thoughts from leaders in the digital signage industry on how to do it right and ensure that you have a great digital signage deployment.
How many projects of any kind are successful that don’t employ a strategy? Yet many companies start their digital deployments with little, or no, overall strategy. What do you want your signage to do for you? It has to be more than pretty pictures on the wall, or simple ROI, or keeping up with the Jones’, or connecting with Millennials. Are you trying to minimize operating costs, reduce marketing costs, magnify and protect your brand, speed your throughput, increase customer spend? Each of these (and most combinations of these) require a slightly different approach, which you need to know from the beginning. It requires setting the strategic goal, designing with that in mind, and then testing alternative deployments.
Customers often don’t recognize the strategy, and frankly it’s not important that they do. They simply have to recognize that it is done right and is engaging for them. They will notice the following so make sure that you pay special attention to the aesthetically pleasing elements of digital signage design, if you want them to tacitly conform with your strategy. Here are some things that all of us notice but often have a hard time articulating:
- Equipment that is right for the environment – commercial, bright, well-constructed, advanced, small bezels, right-sized.
- An installation that is professional – clean alignment, in the right location, blending with the environment, free from clutter, unique in design.
- Content that is compelling – pleasing graphics, good colors, proper use of graphics/animation, terrific food/merchandise shots, good layout, and the right amount of information.
While digital signage is deployed to speak to your customers, it also needs to do something for you – and a GREAT installation will do this too. You have to pay special attention to the strategy we talked about earlier, and continually take note of whether or not your digital signage is still in alignment with your strategy. Easier said than done … right? Maybe not, if you construct an environment of analyzing results. You NEED to know that digital is continuing to work for you and that you haven’t strayed from your strategic path. Are you engaging customers in the way you strategized, are they being persuaded to follow your prompting/urging, are you increasing revenue or saving operating costs? It all has to be benchmarked and measured consistently through a good analytics program that you and the organization are committed to. If you don’t have the internal capability, then hire someone who is equipped to keep you on track and tell you the truth of the numbers.
You definitely want a digital signage installation that pays for itself – whether through increased revenue or decreases in operational expense. Most want a combination of both, and believe it or not, your customers can sense when you’re doing it right, even when they can’t put their finger on it. A GREAT digital signage installation removes most of the guesswork for your Marketing and Operations teams. It knows when to adjust content to meet the audience, it knows when you’re running out of merchandise or supplies and takes them off the screen, it understands when to interrupt the screens with an LTO or special offer. In reality, it optimizes itself moment-by-moment and becomes predictive! Customers know it when they see it, because what they want information on, or want to buy, or want to happen appears on your displays as the conditions and environment change.
Clients and customers cast a vote for or against your business with every transaction. Will they vote for you again, or even come back to vote? It’s up to you, because you have the ability to stack the odds in your favor through a well thought out digital signage installation. While the customers will have difficulty describing it, they will vote favorably for a business with a strong digital strategy, pleasing equipment, clean installation, engaging content, meaningful analytics, and predictive content adjustment. The ROI and savings will simply be the favorable output of the votes cast by your happy customers.