The digital signage trifecta: 3 key pre-deployment decisions
By William Henderson/Janus Displays marketing director
Whether your brand is making its first foray into the digital signage frontier or changing the tech you're currently using, pre-planning to clarify objectives, brand-alignment and placement are essential too maximizing your investment. It's about getting it clear in the brand's leadership team's heads about what the main objectives are. Then you must clarify three essential elements about this technology to ultimately make your digital signage deliver the most results.
Begin with clear, simple statements of what you want your displays to achieve for the brand. Is it about guiding customers through your process or menu? will you use the signage mostly to sell high-return items? Is this the tool you'll really make integral to brand engagement or will your displays focus most on the visual "sell"?
Once leadership clarifies these elements in their heads, then you can move on to conquer clear definitions around:
- The nature of display content.
- The best signage frame.
- Choice of cloud-based or on-site.
- Placement of signage.
Notice that the the choice of a cloud-based or on-site solution, as well as the actual placement/location of your display are both elements that are further down the list of decisions to make. Though these decisions are very important, what your guests will remember most is what you display on your signage. Your frame choice will also be remembered, and you want to choose a frame that adds to, rather than detracts from, the content.
Content makes the signage
Without a doubt, the visual appeal of digital signage is enticing. Digital signage can be and should be art that's both functional and aligned with your content strategy.
With any new adoption, it's tempting to add all the "bells and whistles," but that often translates to all "sizzle and no steak." The engagement and overall experience your customers take away from your brand directly correlates to the value it provides them. As a result, keep in mind that you want to avoid technology simply for technology's sake, rather than for a real brand purpose.
Build your content by examining what, when and how the information will be used. Content should enhance a guest's experience, so remember to keep the intent of the message in mind, then provide clear content that is equally engaging and meaningful.
Cloud-based or on-site?
Now that your content is nailed down, you need to choose whether you want to install a cloud-based or on-site solution. When you deploy a cloud-based digital signage solution, you rely on web-based digital signage software to carry messages and information to your screens. This software is usually hosted on an external server, eliminating the need for an on-site server on site. This approach also allows for easy management via the interne with a third-party typically responsible for maintaining and monitoring the external server and really eliminating the need for an on-site IT team.
A cloud-based solution also may make sense for your property if you want to control content at multiple properties around a city or state from one central location. While you can control content like this from a server-based on-site digital signage solution, you'll find it much easier to do when you're using a cloud-based solution.
An on-premise digital signage solution is hosted on an on-site server, meaning you will need to have that at the location. This server sends messages and information to your screens and makes brand personnel responsible for maintaining this server, thus requiring an IT team in-house.
A cloud-based digital signage solution may work for you if you need an easy-to-use budget-friendly solution. An on-site digital signage solution may work for you if you prefer to pay for your solution upfront and have more control over it.
Profitable, powerful signage placement
You must be as judicious and thoughtful about where you deploy your digital signage solution as you are about the previous two elements. Ease of guest usage is your primary objective when choosing placement, so consider all the environmental factors that come into play.
For directional and wayfinding signage, consider the natural flow upon entry and connecting points in the location. Promotional signage is best positioned in open spaces with built-in downtime like QSR entry or counter queue areas.
Remember: the more traffic the better particularly when your signage can give people something to do while they wait. You also can add drama or create a specific mood by installing a video wall in an eating area, particularly if your QSR has lots of single diners that eat on-site. Just keep in mind the idea that your signage's location should be the area that best enhance's the QSR's story and customers' overall experience.
Companies: JANUS Displays