How To Tell An Effective Story With Digital Signage
Originally published on Forbes.com.
Imagine the world around you as a theater and your brand as the star. Right now, you’re only using a tiny portion of the space, but you could be leaping over the seats and swinging from the rafters, immersing your audience members in a story that grips their imaginations.
Digital signage turns the surfaces of your city and your office into stages. And the content that these signs show isn’t just a generic Shakespearean adaptation; it’s a personalized story that involves every individual who encounters it. It diverts viewers, leads them into a deeper knowledge of your brand and surprises them.
But there’s been so much noise about digital signage in the last few years that some of us are suffering a bit of burnout. We’re overthinking the technical aspects. Scared of creating something that will age quickly or prove obsolete down the road, we avoid committing to one platform or another. But the success of digital signage is not technical; it’s about the story you’re telling.
At Bluewater Technologies, we have found digital signage to be a powerful medium for our clients’ stories because it can show highly targeted, personalized content, encouraging audiences to look again. It can shift and adapt to current events and audiences, allowing your brand to narrowcast content and stay relevant. And it brings viewers into the story and allows them to interact and share themselves with your brand.
As you develop your brand’s storytelling, here are three steps to follow to get the most out of your digital signage strategy.
1. Craft a guided tour of your brand.
Signage doesn’t have to be about the hard sell. It can be a narrative device, created to tell the story of your brand through the space you call home.
You could use signage to transform your workplace or headquarters into a living, breathing depiction of the journey your brand has been on (and where it’s headed). Use it to show your values, offer personalized welcomes to guests and clients, and motivate team members.
One of our clients, an automotive parts supplier, did this superbly. The company used digital signage in its corporate headquarters to create a space that was fun to work in and inspiring to visit. The company’s latest news, employee achievements and other tailored insights were splashed across the workplace in the LED installation, evolving to the pace of the people inside.
2. Use automation to target your story.
With digital signage, you have the opportunity to shift your message in real time, adapting to the audience that encounters it. Digital content can evolve according to the personalized information it receives from sensors and data sets.
That means you can tell a more meaningful, resonant story. Consider this: Your guest is wandering through a mall. It’s raining outside, and she can hear the drops hit the mall’s massive roof. This is when your digital signage appears, displaying a crackling fire, a pair of cozy pajamas and a hot drink. Your audience members are transported — their senses are all yours.
This approach has practical (as well as emotional) benefits. Shift your message according to stock levels, competitors’ pricing and location. This is why one of our clients, General Motors, is rolling out digital signage across its local dealerships — to adapt its global campaigns to the intricacies of different regions and customer bases.
3. Interact with your audience.
It’s easy to get stuck seeing digital signage as a two-dimensional experience in which brands poster their messages hoping to get in front of customers’ eyes. But the best signage interacts with how audiences think and move.
For instance, a Detroit-area community project and client of ours chose interactive signage to depict the Detroit riots of 1967. The challenge was to communicate the experience of the riots to audiences with no personal knowledge of them. The signage the organization chose — a trail of surfaces in different forms and sizes — displayed a narrative that audience members could play and interact with, triggering content at their own pace and immersing them in the story.
Go beyond single screens playing single advertisements. There are many other forms that digital signage can take: mosaic canvases, holograms, images split onto multiple planes. What’s exciting about these more dynamic forms is that they can adapt to the way people explore spaces. Architecture and lighting can interplay with a brand’s themes in a way that connects the viewer more meaningfully.
How will you play and create digital signage to tell the shifting, riveting story of your brand? Whichever way you choose, make sure you’re using this platform as the blank canvas it can be, imagining beyond marketing to tell your brand’s story.