Posts Tagged ‘business’

When “New” Really Means “New to Us”

December 1, 2016


Companies improve their results through innovating. Innovation is synonymous with advancement and in our world where enabling tools and solutions present constant opportunities, the challenges of selection is ever increasing.

 “New” most often means “new to us.” This brings a key dimension of evaluation because “new to us” can mean that competitors for share of wallet, time and attention are already benefiting from the new approach. Leadership in our world is more often defined as being a fast follower or part of the early majority of users.

Bob Amster, Principal of Retail Technology Group sums this up in saying that  “most follow, few lead,” adding that “innovation is dictated by a combination of imagination, perceived return, trends, culture and the personality of individuals making those decisions.”

The abilities to manage risk and for change management are some key ingredients of innovating.

Mark Ryski, Founder, CEO and Author, Headcount Corporation noted in a RetailWire comment “When it comes to innovation, retailers in particular need to focus on the critical few versus the trivial many of business challenges”. He notes “there are so many solutions available that determining which solutions to evaluate let alone implement is a problem. Retail executives need to be clear about their business objectives, set priorities and then narrow their focus to explore the solutions that can help them achieve these”.

Many innovations contribute to the accomplishment of a range of business priorities. Email and electronic commerce are good examples of broadly applicable enabling infrastructure, and umbrella approaches such as omni-channel marketing, customer relationship management and partnership strategy provide the context to assess the applicability of innovations.

Innovation only happens when somebody is expected to do it. Otherwise the force of inaction will prevail. Everybody in the enterprise must expect it from everyone above and below as a culture of innovation.

Patricia Vekich Waldron, Global Marketing Director, Retail, Consumer Products, IBM Corp cautions against trying to be incrementally better than the business next door, because consumers are measuring everyone against their last great experience regardless of what it was”.

Innovation in the “new to us” world can mean applying approaches that are proving successful in different applications. For example, quick serve restaurant drive-thru offers lessons to banking and parcel pick up. Museum, gallery and stadium media presentation offer lessons to malls and retailers. Corporate lobby display can take lessons from transportation messaging and trading floors.  

Lee Kent, Principal, Your Retail Authority, LLC advises that “The first step to saying yes to innovation is to be innovation-ready by creating an infrastructure based on a core. A core is established by looking at mission-critical processes focused around customers, suppliers and employees”.

When this is slow to emerge, innovation centers should be established to be a force for improvement by identifying and advancing business, marketing, operating and technical opportunities that others may overlook or that span organizational boundaries.

Dynamic in-store signage is an example of an approach that improves the productivity of place, processes and people and positively impacts many areas such as customer engagement, location appeal, branding, merchandising, supplier support, associate training, safety improvement, hiring, loss prevention and others. Introducing this approach requires executive or innovation group stewardship.

Digital signage and place-based dynamic screenmedia meet the definition of “new to us” innovation definition and criteria of many organization. It’s technology has been well-proven across and within business sectors even as the content that it is used to present is specific to the goals of the individual business. It’s customer engagement and business development value through branding and merchandising support traffic generation and revenue achievement, as does it’s bringing vitality and improved ambiance in locations where it is used.

For some organizations, the challenge of advancement lies in more fully using the innovations that they discover. The processes used for test, trial and discovery can differ from the budgeting and operational approaches that would allow an innovation to be more widely applies.





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Being innovative therefore entails defining approaches that are new to the organization, but also, advancing the ways that allow the benefits of these to be more fully realized.


Change Management is the Key to Digital Media Success

August 1, 2016

Change magic cartoon

Some banking sector case studies of digital signage use offer useful insights to maximizing the return on digital signage investment.

The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) was named Global Retail Bank of the Year in 2014 and 2015 by Retail Banker International and offers its services in 37 countries. RBC was one of the first banks to use dynamic place-based digital media in branches and their way of applying it offers important insights to all customer-facing organizations as provided by Alan Depencier, VP Marketing of RBC to delegates of the Interactive Customer Experience (ICX) Summit in Dallas.

Depencier summarized that “Digital is as much a cultural change as it is a communications paradigm” in describing the changes that forward-thinking consumer-facing organizations are making in applying branch/store/restaurant digital place-based media.

He added, “One of the key challenges of digital on-location media, as part of an integrated client experience, is in its change management requirement in interior design, technology and merchandising. The elements of investment validation, budgeting, layout of the customer environment, design of the engagement experience including adapting the customer interaction and adding new skills all contribute to maximizing the value.

“What makes a bank most different from other retailers, and we are a retailer”, said Depencier, “is that we do not have any physical products. This makes our marketing in this highly competitive sector of particular challenge”.

“A key to our success” he described “has been in holding up the brand value proposition against the physical location. When you do this, improvements are readily indicated and these are the foundation for improved customer experience.”

“Lead with strategy and client experience intentions, and then select technologies to enable these in a way that delivers value “in the now” while enabling economies of operations and future proofing,” Depencier advised.

“Change management is the journey of learning how to do it well. Marketers learned how to do mass communications and today are targeting messages better than ever before, but all customer-focused communications is on the path toward intuitive engagement in which customer awareness and business goals are merged to meet the needs and wants of all stakeholders. Dynamic, technology-based engagement is one of the most effective ways of achieving this” said Depencier.

Visitors to RBC branches can see many examples of tactical engagement. For example, patrons could place the coins from their pocket or purse on a digital table, which when detected illustrates how saving the amount of the coins could result in savings growth over time.

Other gamification that inform, inspires and engages customers include presenting true/false or multiple choice questions as a way to provide information about product features and benefits.

Digital place-based media should enable staff success and move the brand forward in “conversational commerce”. Depencier noted, “RBC advisors are inclined to learn what customers are learning and asking about through the on-location messaging”.

Bank of America has also been a long-standing user of in-branch digital signage. In 2014, the marketing division launched a concerted effort to further exploit the benefits of their system that had been installed in over 2000 branches.

The bank provided an in-depth briefing of the six major creative and ad agencies it used for video production, marketing campaigns, outdoor advertising, online promotion and static poster programs to rally agency efforts toward improved in-branch content. Not only did the Chief Marketing Officer want to better harmonize communications along the customer’s path to purchase/service, but also the “transmedia” opportunity was clear. Content created for use in other communications was to be re-purposed where suitable for in-branch displays that spoke to patrons as they were in the branch.

This process was very successful as the Bank Of America was recognized with an APEX Award during Digital Signage Expo in March 2015. Change management to better take advantage of the digital signage investment was focused on better engaging marketing communications suppliers so that their contributions could also benefit in-branch communications.

While creative production for the online experience made significant contributions, it was the agency that produced static posters that had the most to offer. Chicago-based based TPN (which had nominated Bank of America for the APEX Award), leveraged its capabilities to craft simple, core messaging by adding animations so the combination of the medium and the messaging maximized marketing spending.

In summary, change management in support of the brand objectives is the key to the success of the in branch, store and restaurant digital signage program success. When the current brand objectives are considered against the current on-location experience for patrons, the ways in which in which the medium can serve the enterprise become quickly evident.

Digital signage is one of the brands most influential communications tools for customers that express and want alignment with the brand, and the products and services that are promoted on digital signage help both the brand and the customer benefit from the brand-product-customer interaction.  

Lyle Bunn is an independent analyst, advisor and educator related to digital place-based signage who has assisted hundreds of organizations, published over 350 articles, whitepapers and guidebooks and helped to train over 10,000 end user and supply professionals.