A Beginner’s Guide to Digital Signage
Digital Signage has been a chief talking point within the AV industry over the last couple of years. Despite being in its infancy, the market is enjoying rapid growth, but what is digital signage and why does it make good business sense to use it?
For those discovering digital signage, the Digital Signage Federation (DSF) gives a concise definition, proffering digital signage as a ‘network of digital displays that is centrally managed and addressable for targeted information, entertainment, merchandising and advertising’. The DSF’s explanation effectively positions digital signage as a highly flexible platform that can be used to leverage communication, enhance customer experience and inform purchasing decisions.
While this is a sound definition, it has one shortfall: it fails to extend the explanation beyond the use of digital signage as a product. Digital signage is in fact, a unique business tool which can provide businesses and institutions alike, with a platform to strengthen their position and increase their image in the market. Signage technology gives companies complete control over their brand; they can tailor their signage collateral to reflect and promote their company mission, vision and values, and drive brand awareness. At the same time, digital signage is making companies think about the way in which their message is told; importantly, whether people are engaging with the content.
Now, more than ever, signage technology is becoming an integral part of the business model.
How can digital signage help?
Across multiple industries, digital signage provides businesses with a display place for a variety of communications: merchandising, promotion, branding, information and wayfinding, as well as internal and corporate communication. In retail environments, for example, digital signage can be a significant footfall increaser, as companies such as O2 have shown. In these applications, digital signage is often used to augment a customer’s in-store experience, with the ability to integrate with social media and display promotional material and offers. Elsewhere, when used for internal communication, digital signage can accelerate the dissemination of important information to employees and visitors, extending traditional electronic communication, such as email, the internet and intranet.
Digital signage can significantly increase workplace efficiency, offering alternative workflows to streamline processes and operations. Admittedly, there is no cost to be saved upfront - due to the expense of hardware - but signage technology reduces costs over time, in comparison to traditional printed signage. Amongst others, digital signage reduces paper waste and minimises the use of electricity. The signage infrastructure can also be seamlessly integrated into existing systems and networks, reducing the need for costly knowledge transfer.
Message control is one of the automated processes that digital signage offers over traditional static signage. Through the network, the digital signage infrastructure can be monitored and managed locally meaning that content can be scheduled to appear at a certain time based on demographic, time of day or event. The Content Management System (CMS) further gives users the flexibility to adjust content quickly and seamlessly. For instance, in the event of a price change or new offer, the entire system can be updated in minutes to increase awareness or deliver important information.
The single most important consideration when you are designing a content strategy for your digital signage is to determine who your audience will be. Think: “Is the right message being shown to the right people”. The content that you would show your staff, for example, would be quite different from the content that you would show your customers, visitors or guests. The content therefore, has to be meaningful and engaging to the demographic that you are targeting. An intelligent content strategy can enhance customer loyalty and develop brand awareness, thus driving growth and improving your competitive advantage.