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Using Strategy to Turn Art into Digital Signage Content

I have spent the past 5 years building and growing a Digital Signage department that focuses on creating experiences for our Clients’ using Digital Signage and Graphic Design as a tool. The more I think about the solutions we provide and the way we have rapidly grown into a large Digital Signage provider, the more I realize that the custom strategies we deploy is our biggest strength.

Before I dig into the strategy side, I need to give our Digital Signage Graphic Design team props. They are fantastic at creating head turning engaging and dynamic content that brings our Digital Menu Boards, Digital Directories, Digital Bulletin Boards, and Digital Reader Boards to life. They work tirelessly to turn words into pictures, blurry cellphone pictures into clean Digital Signage Content, and to redesign Digital Menu’s as our client’s restaurants continue to grow and evolve. While the graphics side of our Digital Signage Content is the most glamourous side of our business, without an effective strategy, that content we design would just be art, not Digital Signage Content.

At focus4media, we take the time to learn about our client’s business and then build a custom strategy to effectively accomplish their Digital Signage Goals. This approach is very similar to the approach we take when customizing a customer’s sound track, designing a custom scent solution, or engineering the perfect sound system. Let’s look at the four main components of building a custom Digital Signage strategy.

First, we must look at the energy of our customer’s business. Is this a business with hundreds of visitors a day, or just a handful of people walking through their doors each week?  Is the average customer onsite for five minutes, or for five hours? Is the customer typically in a rush as they grab a quick item or is their visit to the business an afternoon break that is meant for relaxation as they sit and enjoy a cup of coffee? We call this onsite time dwell time and it has a heavy impact on the strategy of how we schedule their Digital Signage.

Second, we look at the demographics of the business. Do they cater to students, young professionals, families, or retirees?  The message and structure of the Digital Signage must be different based on the demographics. A Digital Menu Board in a café near Century Village in Boca Raton, Florida will have larger text and less movement than a Digital Menu Board at the coffee shop in Blacksburg Virginia on the Virginia Tech campus. Virginia Tech’s menu uses vibrant colors, small text, and lots of movement, while the café in Boca Raton doesn’t change, uses large text, and uses soft colors.

Third, we consider the style of the business.  Style refers to the feel of the business. Is it a country club in Palm Beach, Florida that is remodeled every couple of years to make sure it’s always fresh and cutting edge? Or is it a historical hotel in Birmingham, Alabama that knows where it came from and thrives on the properties long history? Does the business often offer limited time specials and consistent new inventory? The answers to these questions heavily determine the update strategy of the content. Typical update schedules include content updated daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually.  Once update schedules are determined, a strategy can be put into place to execute the plan.

Fourth, the mood of the business must be taken into consideration. Mood can be determined by uniforms, brand colors, and attitudes. Does the business thrive on repeat business and every customer is known by name? Are they addressed by their first name or last name? When a guest asks how to get to the pool, does the staff member point towards the pool, or personally walk the customer to the pool? These items all influence a business’s mood.  The layout of a Digital Signage display is heavily influenced by the businesses mood. Should it show weather, RSS feeds, and social media? Should the Digital Signage be full screen or be broken into zones that always shows additional information?

The four of these components are essential to determining a Digital Signage strategy. They heavily influence the content plan, content design, and content calendar of every Digital Signage rollout focus4media participates in. We offer free webinars to discuss your business and your Digital Signage needs, followed by a Digital Signage strategy that we believe will help you thrive. One last important comment, when considering these four components, remember, these should be geared towards the experience you want to create for your staff and guests, not necessarily the experience you are offering today.

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