By Victoria Ferrari
Welcome to the third and final (for now) installment of this blog series on digital signage. We’ve covered why you need digital signage in your lobby and even offered some creative ways to use digital signage technology in our first two posts. Now it’s time to talk about the most important aspect of your lobby signage: the content.
Figuring out what you want your messaging to convey, what you want it to look like, how to get it to properly display on the installed technology, and who is going to create it are all critical components to a comprehensive content strategy. Whether your signage consists of a simple LCD panel, a curved DV LED wall, a mosaic configuration, or other display technologies, content is the key to using digital signage effectively
Digital signage doesn’t consist of display technology alone. You should also consider the hardware and software solutions which allow you to process and display your custom content. There are solutions all over the spectrum of cost and capabilities — such as high-end enterprise solutions offered by Haivision, simpler solutions like Brightsign, and mid-sized solutions from Visix and SVSi.
There are a lot of digital signage solutions out there and the choices can be overwhelming. An AV provider can offer key insight to help you find a solution that fits your goals and your budget. Every project is unique, so defer to the expertise and vendor relationships of your AV provider to figure out which back-end solution makes the most sense. After all, that’s what AV experts are for!
No matter what, your content strategy will be a deciding factor in which digital signage solution best fits your needs. So the first question to ask yourself is, Who is going to handle our brand storytelling?
To help you answer that question, let’s look at three strategies for creating a killer digital signage content strategy!
1. Leverage Your AV Partner’s Vendor Relationships
Many digital signage vendors offer content creation as a part of their signage package. A knowledgeable AV integrator can help you find a dependable technology provider who will help you strategize, create and manage your content going forward.
Visix is one such digital signage company that we recommend both for software and content creation. In addition to enterprise-level digital signage software, their award-winning creative team can bring your signage to life by developing branded messaging for your signage that draws viewers in and encourages them to act. Simply put, their goal is to make your signage impossible to ignore.
No matter what signage solution you go with, it’s important for your message to have a consistent tone and visual style. It’s a good idea to create and stick to a brand style guide that incorporates your company’s colors, fonts, graphics, and other components of visual identity. Visix’s creative team can even help you start from scratch and develop a content strategy tailored to your corporate vision.
2. DIY Content Creation
Another way to get creative branded content for your signage is to do it in-house. If your internal marketing is up to the task, this is certainly the most cost effective option. This is a good option if your marketing team has graphic designers and software experts who are experienced with tailoring content for digital signage.
It may also be a good way to go if your company would like to offer an intern position. Many talented graphic designers and digital artists these days are looking for just this kind of career path when they get out of college. One of them may be just the right addition to your team, and bringing them on staff would allow for quicker design changes and more consistent messaging.
It can be good to have outside perspective for content creation, but there’s also a benefit to having content creators on staff. It’s often easier to create engaging brand content when you’re plugged into the company. Internal content creators may be better able to understand and express your company’s message.
3. Hire a Third-Party Design Firm
This is probably the most expensive route for content creation, but depending on your budget and business goals it may be the best option. Many advertising and digital teams specialize in digital content strategy, and the results of good design are hard to beat.
It’s important not to write off this option simply because of the cost. Because content is the most important aspect of digital signage, you should consider the long-term ROI of expertly designed content for your signage. If you can afford it, hiring a team of experts who specialize in content strategy is the best way to ensure your digital signage reaches its full potential.
Content Doesn’t Reign Alone
There’s a bit of a chicken-and-egg scenario when it comes to digital signage. Should you decide on your hardware technology first and then address content to fit? Or should you start with content and optimize the hardware to match your creative vision?
The answer is, it depends.
If you’ve already set the look and design for your lobby signage — if it functions as a digital architectural piece in an expansive lobby area, for example — you should probably decide on the content first and then get hardware for maximum visibility and optimization. But in another scenario, it’s possible that your content won’t need to come first.
Although content is “king,” context is just as important to the success of your digital signage. In fact, context is the key to any branding or marketing effort. That’s why you shouldn’t discount the value of an experienced AV partner who can design an environment that maximizes the impact of your digital signage.
But even with the right environment and the latest signage technology, content is still the most important factor in the success of your signage. Without a solid content creation strategy, a sign is just a sign.
This column was reprinted with permission from Synergy CT and originally appeared here.