Posts Tagged ‘signage’

Visual Vitality for Retail Locations

August 18, 2016

Anti-boring store

B-o-r-i-n-g ! While some may say it and others are thinking it about a retail location, you can bet that consumers will be voting with their feet and not just their wallets on a possible future visit. Without the visit the conversion opportunity is lost, and so for lack of customer experience, the kingdom is lost.

March 28-30, 2016 in Las Vegas will be an interesting time for retailers. GlobalShop will feature education sessions and the show floor will include about 800 providers of design services, flooring, lighting and fixtures, all intended to make the retail location interesting enough earn a patron visits. Layout and fixtures will be planned, purchased and installed, and the store will be locked into that design and experience for many, many months to come.

From season to season, calendar event to calendar event, little will change until the brand that year-over-year traffic is declining, the shopper loop is more shallow and dwell time is shortening. Staff turnover may even become an increasing cost factor as associates become complacent or even leave for places that offer more income potential and fun.

Meanwhile, at the same time at the Las Vegas convention center at the other end of the strip, the 13th annual Digital Signage Expo (DSE) will be in full swing presenting solutions to the problem of how to make retail locations better, and at minimal investment.

Vendors, including LG (which many claimed “stole the DSE16 show”) will show how vitality, ambiance and positive energy can dramatically escalate the customer experience with compelling, relevant, better targeted in-store visuals.

GlobalShop delegates who care most about their brand identity and cost-effective retail design will likely make their way to DSE to visit LG and others of the almost 200 providers, many of which partner with LG. Perhaps they’ll hit the high points of GlobalShop on March 28-29 and visit the DSE show floor on March 29-30.

Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) displays were unveiled last year and will be on full display again this year at DSE by LG.

The vibrant colors of images presented, the Wow-factor in fashion, outdoor, destination, action and lifestyle media that can make the store a destination and the ultra-thin, modern form factor that can fit into any store design or architecture makes OLED from LG a digital display that can attract traffic, increase dwell time and amplify the brands like no other retail device.

The inherent ability of digital signage to present images that are most suited to day and time, and the major calendar events of consumer’s lives, mean that store refreshment and messaging relevance are as simple as posting new media materials through an easy to use media management desktop.

When attracting attention matters, nothing suits retail vitality, brand alignment and conversion messaging like digital signage. And no digital signage display is as compelling to consumers as OLEDs from LG.

 

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. Lyle is a member of the Consultant Advisory Counsel of Digital Signage Expo and serves as a “BrainTrust” commentator of RetailWire. www.LyleBunn.com

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Museums offer Good Customer Experience Lessons

August 1, 2016

Museum - worlds

“Our location is all about the experience, the learning and the inspiration” said David Humphries, Chief Information Officer of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas, TX in hosting a tour of the facility for delegates of the ICX Customer Experience Summit.

Since museums must deliver an experience worthy of it being a destination and re-visit, a museum offers insights to retailers and other customer-facing organizations that seek to earn a consumer visit.

“We intend to inspire minds through an encyclopedic space that tries to address a wide range of disciplines in nature and science” said Mike Spiewak, Perot Museum Senior Director of Exhibits.

Consumers are willing to pay for the privilege and pleasure of a museum visit, typically many times annually, while retailers are losing sleep on how to earn a consumer visit, through which visitor needs, wants and aspirations can be met.

Retailers can take note of how digital place-based media can add vitality, discovery, information exchange and improved visit experience.

Many of the Perot Museum exhibits either included or were centered around a digital media experience. These ranged from sensor-triggered musical notes as patrons go up or down stairs to a panoramic view of the planet Mars presented on synchronized LED flat panels. Common approaches included gestural interactivity, touch screens, video walls and information display. One of the most engaging exhibits launches Ping Pong balls based on brain wave activity detected through forehead and earlobe sensors.

The museum visit experience offers the following lessons and guiding principles on digitally-enabled customer engagement:

  • It has to work. Digital experiences that are not operational (one exhibit display was closed for upgrade at the Museum) easily disappoint and de-brand unless an adequate explanation is provided.
  • “Cause and Effect” defines one of the most powerful paradigms of patron digital engagement, and it can be the basis of the gestural, touch screen and other interactivity.
  • “Learning styles must be considered to achieve impactful engagement” notes Humphries, adding that “people can learn through text, photographs, video or animated images that are published or interactive”.
  • Macro motor movement such as running, walking, climbing, stepping and other movement of body, leg, arm, head, etc. are the most engaging. These physically immersive experiences can be augmented with digital media to support the cause and effect, or augment the experience with a scoring or visualization.

Patrons experiences can include building it, playing with it or operating it.

Some commercial examples of applying these principles are available.

  • The Royal Bank of Canada invites patrons to place the coins from their pocket or purse on a table, which when detected illustrates how saving the amount of the coins could result in savings growth over time.
  • McDonalds invites guests to build their burger or place and pay for their order through a touch screen kiosk. By “gamifying” the order process they are also able reduce order counter staff requirements.
  • Retailers sometimes pose multiple choice questions as a way to provide information about product features and benefits. A suitable winter coat is more easily sold when customers are asked the actual temperature based on the combination of thermometer reading, wind chill and humidity.
  • A patron photo can be placed into a magazine cover template or morphed into a movie character that can then be emailed to the patron to help amplify a brand.

Flat panels bring a new level of engagement wherever they contribute to a memorable visit experience. Where a museum or science center can charge an admission or annual membership fee based on their thoughtful application of digital place-based media, retailers and brands can be rewarded by customer purchases, visits and loyalty.

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. Lyle@LyleBunn.com

End Users and Suppliers Both Do Better When Equally Yoked

August 1, 2016

Yoked 2

Over an 18-month period, a large grocery chain had a standing time of 2PM on Thursday afternoon to hear from vendors about digital signage. A vendor calling to try to book a meeting was delighted to have a date offered by the secretary, who simply flipped forward to the next available Thursday at 2pm and added the vendor name.

Whoever was able to attend from the grocer’s impacted departments would participate in the meeting. Hundreds of vendors presented, with some presentations including partner suppliers that might be part of a final solution. Many would request, and be given a second date to focus on key elements.

Not very far into the information gathering process, the grocer came to believe they knew more about the medium than the vendors did. Whereas vendors were focused on the element of their particular expertise, the end user was seeing the big picture comprised of these individual elements and assessing what would be required for them to benefit most from digital signage.

“Everyone believes their part is the most important” I was told by someone from the grocer “, and very few had any idea of what it would take to truly do a cost/benefit or investment analysis, or create an overall project plan.

Despite this time consuming exercise, and the benefits that it could deliver, no investment was ever made. “Hearing about all the moving parts, system complexity and lacking the time or motivation to assess application possibilities and real ROI, we decided not to proceed,” said the grocer representative.

What are the lessons?

Digital signage needs to integrate into existing operations and do something better than existing approaches.

  • The property operator (in this case a retailer) is but one stakeholder in the decision process. In retail, merchants matter.
  • Technology follows intention. Presenting a solution when there is no appreciation for the problem or opportunity is a waste of time.
  • Business value motivates investment.

All these point to the “pearls before swine” maxim and the concept of “equal yoking.”

Many suppliers presented their solutions while meeting the end user eye-to-eye. They were eloquent in presenting the “how” of digital signage that they would bring. They described the trunk, legs, tail, tusks and other parts of the elephant with which they are familiar in great depth, while overlooking the importance of establishing why an elephant is important to the enterprise.

A stronger positioning for the supplier would have been to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the end user to determine how the future could be different.

Yoked 1

An “equal yoking” would result, as when beasts of burden are joined by a yoke placed around the neck of each to harness and direct their individual contributions.

Each of the end user and the supplier have a role to play. As each oxen or pulling horse in the yoke is entitled to expect the contribution of the other, lest they go in circles, so it is with end user and supply organizations.

Clarifying, refining and even validating the description of benefits that are to be derived is a mutually beneficial effort. The end user gets investment validation while the supplier is provided the opportunity to describe how their solution will maximize the benefit.

A wise procurement executive said it simply as we were about to go into interviews of a short list of possible turnkey solution providers. He said “I just want to learn one thing… are they here for our benefit, or their own. We have done our homework and know what we require”.

The end user can become the swine toward which the best of suppliers will not cast their pearls and those who bear little burden for describing their intentions will loose the benefits of being equally yoked with suppliers that are most capable of delivering highest value.

Lyle Bunn is North America’s longest-serving independent digital signage analyst, advisor and educator. He has served hundreds of end users and helped to train thousands of marketing, media and technology professionals. Lyle@LyleBunn.com

Digital Signage Addresses Customer Experience Problems

August 1, 2016

Cust Loyalty wordal

Customer experience (CX) drives revenues in retail, food services and consumer service locations. The benefits of branding, merchandising and improvement to the ambiance, vitality and staff communications that are provided simultaneously at locations by digital signage serves CX goals.

As North American retailers invest over $125 billion in technologies annually to manage operations, cut costs and improve customer experience, digital signage is one of the high growth elements of this investment.

In a Temkin Group survey, 55% of brands indicated their intentions to improve CX because satisfied customers purchase more, forgive the brand for breakdowns more readily, have greater trust for the brand and are more willing to recommend the brand.

Gartner, Inc., the world’s leading information technology research provider noted that 47% of the 4,000 CX Executives worldwide currently use digital and e-commerce strategies to support goal achievement. Digital media is one of the 50 CX projects that billion dollar companies are currently focused on noted said Ed Thompson, Garner VP and Distinguished Analyst. He added that $100 million firms typically have a dozen major CX projects moving forward at any one time.

According to Gartner research, 31% of projects are funded by Marketing and 15% by the Customer Experience function.

CX is heavily focused on metrics and analysis since in creating strategies, knowledge is powerful.

If “power” is defined as the abilty to effect outcomes, the power of consumers to impact the success of brands and retailers has never been greater. It is on his basis that Voice of the Customer programs within the marketing function have such importance.

But beyond their ABC of attention, browse and comments, consumers provide feedback by their actions, interactions and transactions. The “big data” that describes the brand engagement experience holds the key to brand success. It is the 1-2 punch of analysis followed by actions that makes data useful to validating investment.

“Not all people matter equally to the business” says Paul Pacheco, SVP, Customer Strategies, TNS Canada in describing that an occasional patron is less important to the business than a loyal, high volume patron. TNS recommends that brands focus on the optimizing and improving the touch points for the people that matter most.

Lyle@LyleBunn.com.. See other Customer experiences resources here.

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. Lyle@LyleBunn.com

 

Municipal Use of Digital Signage – Part 2

August 1, 2016

Municipal

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. www.LyleBunn.com

 

Building the Right Digital Signage Team

August 1, 2016

Team heirarchy

The collective strengths of the people involved in a digital signage initiative generally define the project success.

Team leadership usually lies with the department that will gain the greatest benefit toward achieving their goals. Departments bring their expertise and things get done, hopefully.

Digital signage is one of those multi-department projects with touch points across the organization because of its impact on the organization.

Operationally, digital signage contributes to the productivity of places, processes and people. At the tactical level it impacts the success of the engagement of customers, patrons and staff. At the strategic level it impacts brand positioning and equity, along with the creation and leverage of assets.

When digital signage becomes the focus of discussion, each department has its own interests.

  • Everybody wants improved customer experience based on what they do as a contribution to it.
  • Executives want better corporate performance.
  • Procurement wants to minimize capital outlay, and if they are team players, the total cost of ownership.
  • Facilities seek digital signage that will deliver improved performance of the location and a better visitor experience
  • Marketing wants better branding and merchandising at lower ongoing communications cost.
  • Human Resources want to inspire productivity and minimize staff related costs such as absence, hiring and accident claims.
  • Information Technologies want a solution that works and is RAS-able (Reliable, Available, Scalable)
  • The Chief Information Officer wants to leverage data assets to improve productivity and enable new ways of operating.
  • The security department want loss prevention.

When the medium is applied, everyone has something at stake. The task of aligning those interests, marshalling resources, consensus building and “herding the cats” often calls on subject matter expertise as well as project management skills.

The project sponsor should be the highest-placed executive of the department that realizes that they have the most to gain toward digital signage helping to achieve their goals.

The team leader should be a direct report to that executive with the proven ability to get things done. They will understand the organization and its priorities, and marshal the resources to move the project forward.

Team Heirrchy 2       Team Heirarchy 3

The core elements of the team should include the key stakeholders such as marketing, information technologies, procurement, facilities and human resources. Specific groups such as security, merchant/supplier liaison, public affairs or investor relations can be engaged as suitable.

The digital signage team will oversee the design, funding, sourcing, deployment of the project, and it is common that responsibilities for ongoing elements such as network operations and content administration are met by the suitable business division. Optimization of the investment typically resides with the primary beneficiary.

Since “content” will be a primary consideration if the benefits of digital signage are to be fully realized, business units such as marketing, human resources, patron/facility personnel, line of business managers and agencies responsible for “content” on other marketing/communications devises such as TV, cable, billboard, print, internet and mobile should be involved.

Given the ability of digital signage to drive “audience of one” engagement, those involved with internet, mobile and kiosk strategy and operations will be particularly interested in the digital signage initiative from the standpoint of “transmedia” leverage.

Suppliers can be very useful in providing technology and service element expertise. External resources, such as a consultant or suppliers, able to provide objective guidance can also help to assure involvement by applicable business units while minimizing staff time and resources while minimizing time, risk and investment on the project.

“Templates” can be a strong foundation for project advancement. Designs, plans and budgets from similar projects can minimize the effort and time requirement while helping to assure that elements are adequately addressed and risk is minimized.

Digital signage has broad organizational impact, and as such there are many with interest in how the project will go forward and the medium used. The key role is that of project leader, who requires the support of management and input from other stakeholders.

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

Trolls and tolls in Digital Signage patents.

August 1, 2016

Caveat Emptor

Patent infringement is common in digital signage as suppliers struggle for critical mass and unaware end users seek pricing advantages. Patent compliance is typically not part of sourcing criteria, though it does rear its head as installations become larger.

A patent troll (defines Wikipedia), “in pejorative usage, a patent troll is a person or company that attempts to enforce patent rights against accused infringers far beyond the patent’s actual value or contribution to the prior art. Patent trolls often do not manufacture products or supply services based upon the patents in question”.

Interestingly, the top result from a Goggle search under the words “patent troll” is an ad for patent troll insurance “for less than $100 per month”. That would be $100 per month for each media player software license by the way.

Trolls do not want to sell anything involving the patent they are awarded. They simply want to monetize their investment in filing with usage licensing fees. Trolls charge tolls. Like the children’s storybook character of a troll beneath the bridge, the troll bullies or extorts a fee for the use of a bridge. As digital signage is a bridge to greater communications productivity, the patent troll wants its toll. Travellers pay up or take the long or treacherous alternative route.

There are about 50 key patents in digital signage application and thousands of others related to the technology elements (i.e. flat panels, media players, etc.).

Worst case scenarios include receiving a cease-and-desist letter, time/expense related to assessment and defense, unexpected fees, or inability to apply the technology as invested and planned.

In short, an end user must assure that patent compliance is not an exposure during vendor sourcing.

Vendors must take actions, as many primary providers, in particular of Content Management Software, already have to negate risks or future fees that they or their end user clients might endure.

Patent trolls are acknowledged as a challenge to commerce where intellectual property rights are a reward for research investment leading to unique insights and practices. Where trolls and tolls are synonymous in the intellectual property rights regime, sustainable providers are those defined as having the legal right to conduct commerce.

In July 2016, Stratacache announced its acquisition of the outdoor digital board product line and related intellectual property from Civiq Smartscapes. This positions Stratacache to serve the drive-thru requirements of quick-serve restaurants, coffee and pastry locations, banks and others in outdoor commerce with patented digital promotion, menu, transactional order confirmation displays.

The digital signage technology ecosystem of hardware and software has proven its value in improving the productivity of places, processes and people. A foundation of end users, and providers enjoying this benefit on a sustainable basis is that patents for the application of these technologies is owned or licensed. Caveat emptor – “Let the buyer beware,” and providers as well.

Other reading on patents as follows:

A bipartisan consensus to address the issue is building in Washington By Steven Titch, Computerworld. Feb. 10, 2015. White Castle food services and digital menu boards referenced.

BroadSign challenges digital signage “patent trolls”, a guest post by Burr Smith on July 26, 2016

Trolls May Have Seven More Digital Signage Patents Coming (or More), post by Dave Haynes on October 25, 2013 reflecting conference commentary.
http://www.sixteen-nine.net/2013/10/25/advice-digital-signage-patent-trolls/

On-vehicle digital signage is on the move. Sept 2014 by Lyle Bunn. It bears noting that the Madonia Family Limited Partnership, which was awarded patent for Integrated Flat Panel Display for Mounting to Exterior Surfaces of Motor Vehicles. US Patent Number 7,478,492 B2 Issued January 20, 2009 is seeking to license this patent to a supply or impacted end user.

Lyle Bunn is a highly regarded analyst, advisor and educator in North America’s Digital Signage industry. Lyle@LyleBunn.com

Municipal Use of Digital Signage – Part 1

July 5, 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. www.LyleBunn.com

The Strike Zone of Digital Signage

September 9, 2015

There is a definite “sweet spot” or “strike zone” that applies to digital signage projects as illustrated here..

Home Plate Digital

The end user team, including its advisors and suppliers have a growing degree of knowledge about the medium including what can be expected of its application and how to achieve business and communications value. On the vertical axis is the level of deployment that has occurred or is planned.

Strike Zone of Digital Signage

The sweet spot is when the level of deployment (i.e. investment) is supported by adequate knowledge. Experimentation and learning while doing can include a limited deployment that coincides with the level of knowledge of the medium.

Where deployment is proceeding without adequate knowledge, the project is doomed to failure or lack of additional build-out.

The benefits are not fully realized when there is a lower level of deployment than could best serve the organization’s goals.

Knowledge about objective-setting, content strategy and composition, technology infrastructure, optimization and the use of impact analytics position the end user to maximize their return on investment.

Lyle@LyleBunn.com