As technology improvements move at a break neck speed, concepts and new communication strategies often take a back seat to the newest way to display and communicate ideas, which is why it is paramount to remember that content drives sales and must always remain a priority.
While the language used to communicate the message itself has changed only slightly, the purpose for content has not – to drive sales, enhance business and communicate brand messaging. The strategies for developing effective messaging language have also remained unchanged.
A significant consideration is message length. Optimal length is and will always be just long enough for the viewer to absorb the message. A human being can only absorb so much information at any one time and as recent studies have shown, shorter ads of around 15 seconds lifted sales by more than 50% when compared to a single 30-second advertisement. So time and delivery of content has kept pace with advances in technology, but the content itself has only changed marginally.
In the face of inviting new technologies one way to be sure that content remains the primary focus is to ensure it is developed specifically for the medium. Historically delivered via print, the printed brochure, radio or television, content was created specifically for those channels. As technology has evolved, so has content. Now content is developed specifically for digital signage as a distinct medium. To engage viewers digitally content must not only be relevant, but often entertaining as well. It must be contextual, relate to the environment in which it is being viewed and coincidentally the length of the message must be timed to accommodate the circumstance.
When viewing content on TV, Internet or mobile devices, it can be challenging to involve the viewer. TV is a medium whose audience can change the channel in somewhat the same way mobile device users can close a pop up ad. Personal devices are controlled by the viewer, but digital displays can deliver content to an audience twenty-four hours a day seven days a week, wherever they happen to be.
Another way to be sure content remains a focus is to understand the importance of branding. Branding drives content and brand recognition is a driver of customer loyalty. Customer retention is important because existing customers have already bought into the brand identify, which makes selling to that group more cost efficient than acquiring new customers. On average, loyal customers are worth ten times the value of their first purchase, while acquiring new customers costs up to 500 percent more. These statistics prove the importance of engaging customer relationships, which means that the importance of the message itself always transcends the method of delivery.
Because there is only so much advancement associated with concept delivery, new ways to distribute that message are what we as media specialists look to promote. What better way to do that than with the latest technology? In general we are always impressed with the newest digital products. We’re always looking to the future when it comes to hardware and software development. It’s my belief that the natural curiosity humans have is what drives research and development of new ways to deliver content.
Ideally the relationship between the content and the medium should be seamless. If the hardware is too impressive it could distract from the message. When done well, the hardware will be perceived as invisible or as an extension of the message.
Plainly, people love the bells and whistles; they love what looks the best. The biggest screen, the highest resolution etc. It’s just more fun to research and implement the latest advancements than it is to brainstorm new ways to write and communicate the message. But after all is said and done, content is king.
Author Joshua Goodwin will co-present the webinar discussion entitled, “With the Increased Focus on Displays & Hardware, How Do You Ensure that Content Remains a Priority?” when the DigitalSignageConnection.com presents its 30-minute webinar on Thursday, February 23rd from 2:00-2:30pm EDT. Josh is a member of the Digital Signage Expo Advisory Board’s End User Council, which addressed the question of Smart Cities last fall. His and other Advisory Board answers can be found at http://www.digitalsignageconnection.com/ask-board-hardware-concepts
Joshua has been with Eileen Fisher for close to four years as a Digital Media Specialist with an emphasis on digital signage. In this case “Digital Media Specialist” is a hybrid of IT and creative making Josh responsible for expediting, coordinating and the deployment of weekly deliverables for the digital monitors within the stores as well as trouble shooting the digital monitors and the video players to ensure they remain viable. Josh transcodes media files, authors DVD's and uploads files as needed. He also creates new content as needed for any department within the Eileen Fisher system and anything else that falls within that realm. For instance, he has just completed fully restructuring Eileen Fisher’s video delivery system companywide with new hardware and support software.