Posts Tagged ‘events’

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.


Municipal Use of Digital Signage – Part 2

August 1, 2016


Municipalities serve the residents and businesses that make up their community.

Safety, recreation, public transit, roads, social services, parking, water service and drainage are top of the list of ratepayer services. Many of these apply digital signage within departmental budgets to provide public information, while others such as transit, recreation, art and parking infrastructure use the medium to generate non-tax revenues.

Municipalities also want to attract visitors, new residents and businesses that contribute to growth and broaden the tax base.

Digital street infrastructure is high on the priority list of municipalities, as several capabilities have converged. Wi-Fi, mobile charging, proximity information caching, wayfinding, alerts, transit information, message and advertisement display and links to mobile phones can draw on the same infrastructure to bring streets, pedestrian areas, as well as shopping, entertainment and tourist districts to life.

New York City has been leading the way but many other cities are moving forward with similar plans. “District Detroit” is a 50-block area being rejuvenated as an area of shopping, sports, live entertainment, hospitality, business and living. The CityScapes of Dallas, anchored by the massive Nebraska Furniture Mart retail outlet is a similar undertaking.

The vitality and service to patrons of annual events such as South by Southwest SXSW in Austin mean that such events can bring significant financial benefit to the community. SXSW contributes over $300 million in economic benefit annually to Austin. Most municipalities have festivals or special events that attract visitors and increase their profile.

Special events that host large numbers of visitors and local participants can offer the focus and funding to enable media infrastructure. The potential for advertisers to align their branding with the spirit of the event is attractive to their branding. Economies are built into message delivery to a large, highly concentrated audience that self-identifies as sharing an interest. Advertising can be highly contextual and very effective at establishing brand awareness and alignment.

Trade show and exhibit producers learned the lesson of digital display revenues years ago. Temporary or trailer-mounted, mobile, large-format LED signs provide a way to assess the impact of digital media during an event while at the same time kick-starting a funding campaign for permanent multi-purpose signs.

Local business operators all have marketing budgets and seek to get the most for their communications investment. The modern appeal of digital signage operating in high traffic areas and engaging consumers with addition service elements allows the advertiser to gain exceptionally good exposure.

The action plan for municipalities related to digital signage should be:

  • Have individual departments assess how their service quality, community outreach and goals could be better met by using digital signage.
  • Determine locations of high viewership as candidates for installing ad-based digital out-of-home networks.
  • Use digital media to bring modern-ness and vitality to areas where more pedestrian traffic and commerce is desired.
  • Use festivals and special events to fund digital media infrastructure.

The knowledge gained by one department can be offered to others and the buying power of a broader application can benefit each budget area. The key is to start.


Lyle Bunn is an independent analyst, advisor and educator providing digital place based media subject matter expertise. He has assisted hundreds of organizations, published more than 350 articles, whitepapers and guides and helped to train more than 10,000 professionals.