Think about it. When it comes to branding, how big of a role does imagery play in the matter?
From storefronts to billboards to restaurant menu displays and even moving ads posted atop metros and taxis, the endgame is the same to catch the passerby's attention and convert that individual into a consumer.
As technology continues to evolve so should a business's branding strategy; this includes upgrading from dated signage to CGI (computer-generated imagery) layouts in hopes of telling a more engaging story.
Man has been sharing personal anecdotes for centuries.
Predating what was originally believed to be the oldest cave paintings in France at around 30,000 B.C., Indonesian rock art, approximated to be 44,000 years old, actually depicts the world's oldest story.
As time moves on and as populations grow, attention spans become more of a challenge to grasp, and the need for more elaborate displays of storytelling becomes necessary. To accomplish this, tools like the printing press and personal computers were invented, and now, we have arrived upon the digital age.
Here's a look at why digital signage software is a good fit for your brand.
In short, digital signage software is a computerized program used to generate a digitized display to market information.
This electronic sign typically consists of LCD or LED components.
- LCD (Liquid-Crystal Display) is a flat panel display that is commonly used in mobile devices (like smartphones and tablets), TVs, and computer monitors. LCD is made up of liquid crystals, compressed by two pieces of polarized glass, and used to switch pixels on and off to reveal a specific image.
- LED (Light-Emitting Diode) is a semiconductor device emitting light when an electronic current flows through, working as a light source. Similar to LCD, LED is often used in TVs and smartphones, as well.
A common form of digital signage, video display screens, are often presented through larger-scale monitors that display signage content, which is essentially customized information in either video or text form, like the screens, and multi screens, seen at sporting events by the scoreboard or as the backdrop layouts at concerts.
Video screens should have precise module details that provide deep contrast, enhancing sharp images and clear coloring.
Pixels short for picture elements, is a term that plays a huge role in the quality of presentation, working as the main source of light to illuminate the entire image, down to the text to the graphics and animation. Working as the smallest element in an electronic display system, pixel power comes from the LED.
In contrast to simply looking at a monitor, interactive digital screens allow the users to interact with the display.
An interactive screen is a computer-driven LCD module that can be accessed by users for a number of activities. For example, digital menus work as a new means of ordering food. Instead of relying on servers, guests can simply select the desired menu items from an interactive screen. The process of ordering food is expedited and cuts down on labor costs by substituting staff headcount for a digitized ordering system.
When visiting a museum, making a trip to a healthcare facility, or trying to find your way around an unfamiliar shopping mall, attempting to utilize a stationary map can prove to be a challenge, as they are not always up-to-date, taking construction/remodels into account, and they are not always the clearest in pinpointing where on the map the viewer is currently located.
With wayfinding boards, digital screens can easily be edited and revised remotely on a desktop, laptop, and even on a smartphone. With customizable options to incorporate detailed images, these digital maps are also more visually pleasing, allowing viewers to have a better understanding of where they are located on the premise, along with how to get from Point A to Point B.
Incorporating the best digital signage software into a marketing strategy has many benefits for all types of businesses using it. However, despite its many advantages, some may find themselves still hesitant to invest. Sometimes, this is due to concerns such as
With companies both large and small, digital signage fears typically begin with the bottom line. A company's bottom line is based on revenue after expenses have been deducted. Although finances should always be kept in mind, focusing on the potential benefits do not appear as enticing, when considering the initial costs to invest.
When deciding whether it is or is not the time to upgrade from previous branding practices, consider profit history. Compare LY (last year's plan) to the current year's anticipated plan. Depending on whether the numbers are increasing, decreasing, or staying the same, the final verdict to convert should be based upon revenue stream.
And remember, the quest for new outcomes is often stimulated by change. Disagree? Google the definition of insanity.
Complicated Installation & Maintenance
This can be especially daunting for business owners who are not technologically savvy, and although IKEA has inspired fellow brands to communicate instructions through simplistic furniture assembly renderings, the concept doesn't quite translate the same way in the tech world.
When shopping around for which digital signage software company to go with, ensure that the vendor has either streamlined the process to make the installation as simple as possible or that they will personally install the software.
Furthermore, when signing a contract, review if maintenance is included. The most elite brands will stand behind their products, providing assistance for system updates and to address and user queries.
To understand what cloud-based signage is, employers should, first, be familiar with what the cloud is.
Also known as cloud computing, this signage solution, AKA the cloud, is a series of networks that host data and deliver services. An example of this would be Apple's iCloud, a cloud-based storage system that holds documents, photos, videos, and music. Through joint Apple products, like an iPhone or Mac Book, iCloud can virtually access such data and store it in an online database.
Similarly, digital signage programs include cloud-based access for content management systems or CMS. Through the cloud, users can customize content remotely, offsite, while using a smartphone or computer/laptop. Cloud access can also be granted to multiple parties, like owners, managers, and the marketing team.
This is especially useful because digital displays can be updated as frequently as desired.
Digital signage allows companies to take control of their message, thoughtfully communicating to different demographics pertaining to age, ethnicities, sex, etc. Not only are the users in control of the written content but also how, when, and where the message is displayed.
Digital signage fosters a new-aged approach when it comes to advertisements. With ease-of-use features, more A/B experimentation can be conducted to learn how consumers respond to varying displays and marketing campaigns. Such customer engagement is now the driving force for successful content.
Other key digital signage software features should include
Content playlists are key to implementing messages that resonate with a target audience. The main factors that should go into putting together a sound playlist are
- Knowing the audience
- Creating a working formula, like time duration, rotation, varying visuals (this will require experimentation before finalization
- Matching the content with the company's overall goals
- Frequent updates to keep the playlist interesting and fresh
- An opportunity for a call-to-action from the customer
Although not necessary in most cases, it's best to invest in software that supports 1080p displays (also referred to as Full HD) resolution. 1080p screens have the capability to display all 1,920 pixels and at the highest resolution. Also, take into account the size of your display screens and where they will be located in your establishment. For example, digital signage that will be viewed from afar can afford to present less vibrant resolution, like 720p and 1080i. Whereas, a screen that will be viewed closer up, like a digitized menu in a restaurant, would require better quality as it is more closely visible.
Remote Management and Screen Monitoring
Remote management could arguably be one of the most important software features. Typically digital signage is cloud-based. This means the screens can be controlled and managed remotely from any authorized personnel with access and an Internet connection. This empowers businesses to react to any signage repairs or technical errors, as well as make display edits in real-time.
Similarly, screen monitoring allows live multiple screens to be viewed remotely from a computer monitor. This allows users to confirm that the digital presentation looks exactly as it should, even when they are not physically there to view it in person.
Scheduling and Programming
In relation to the digital playlist, the software should provide scheduling options, allowing users to set duration and rotation schedules. This prevents the monitor from going stagnant during open hours of operation, keeping all viewers and customers engaged in the signage.
A perfect display should marry imagery with messaging, ensuring that one does not overpower the other. Over-cluttering should also be avoided because this can distract an audience away from the message.
Signage, alone, is a powerful tool, with the power to reel consumers in by means of strategic wording, appearance, and placement. Digital signage not only has the power to do the same, but it also provides benefits like
1. Converting foot-traffic into sales
Reaching out to your already loyal in-store customers and asking to spread the word is now much easier due to digital signage. Satisfied customers can leave a review or connect with the business on social media. The message employers want to convey to customers can now be shared once they leave the physical location.
2. Reducing costs
Because digital signage software offers so many capabilities, the need for a large staff count is no longer necessary, cutting back on overtime hours and overall labor costs. Also, the need for printing marketing materials, like new menus, window signs, and flyers becomes obsolete, proving to be cost-effective and eco-friendly.
3. Monetizes screens
Interactive digital signage creates monetization. For example, interactive lunchtime menu boards allow customers to pre-order lunch for pickup, or signage located outside of communal workspaces can promote clients to book a space for future meetings.
Before investing in digital software signage, it's important to address common questions and concerns like
- How many screens are being used?
- What's the timeline for the project?
- What's the content strategy?
- What's the budget?
Digital signage is a fast-growing market, meaning there is a multitude of companies selling a similar product. This is why employers need to become knowledgeable about the product before buying. Other subjects to consider before purchasing are
User-friendly - Using digital signage software should ease the stress of creating content, therefore the software should include pre-made templates that are quick and easy to publish.
Dynamic templates - Digital signage software should include dynamic templates, something that can wow customers, and not just ordinary templates for everyday usage. Digital software should include a set of dynamic templates for companies to use, however, it's encouraged to use other sources to create a well-rounded screen. For example, apps like Adobe Photoshop, VSCO, Pixlr, PowerPoint, and Slides Carnival can create content that may not be included in the already included dynamic templates.
Reliability - Digital screens are typically a reliable product. However, whatever signage software is chosen should be reliable with little to no technical issues, so check other consumer reviews before finalizing the contract.
Compatibility - Be sure the software that's chosen can run on multiple internet browsers such as Windows, Chrome, and Safari.