In the realm of digital signage, there are countless scenarios and applications, but there is one thing that every installation has in common–the goal of getting someone’s attention. Since a digital display doesn’t wear a skirt that it can hike up and show some leg, it’s up to us to create dazzling content to capture the gaze of passers-by.
If you’re reading this, I’m guessing that you’re pretty good at hanging displays and plugging in media players, but have you ever taken part in the creative process of creating content? Whether you have or haven’t, let’s take a look at how we approached one installation that we set up in our booth at ISA 2014.
Get Started: Know your W’s.
Getting started can often be the hardest part, but each journey starts by putting one foot in front of the other. Well, that and answering a few questions. Let’s start with 4 that we’re all familiar with: who, what, when and where.
Who: We’re trying to get someone’s attention, remember? We can only do that by speaking their language, and to speak someone’s language you have to take a moment to understand them. Take some time to identify your audience, learn what they want or need and what you want to say to them.
ISA, the International Sign Association, is a trade association, the members of which are manufacturers, users and suppliers of on-premise signs and other visual communications products. Many of whom are evaluating adding digital signage to their current product offerings. They may have heard of it, but most have little experience in this space.
What: What’s your message? Take this question a small step forward and ask “what do you want a viewer to do?” Are you selling a product or service? Perhaps your goal is to spread information or make someone feel welcome. Either way, you have to know your goal and keep your eye (and everyone else’s) on the prize.
The message that we settled on is “Bring Your Signs To Life”. The majority of our audience for this event is very well versed in creating traditional signage, which looks great, but is ultimately static. We want to impress upon them the possibilities of dynamic signage. We also want to entice them to come in the booth and find out more about how we can help them get into the game.
When: Is there a specific time of day that you’ll see more traffic? Is your message time-sensitive? Some restaurants serve breakfast, lunch and dinner–why waste the screen real estate showing all 3 at the same time–schedule 3 time periods instead.
The event that we’re developing for is a trade show that’s open 9:30–5, but we really don’t have any restrictions in this realm.
Where: Where is your installation going to be? Is it a trade show or a mall where you’ll have crowds of people constantly passing by? This helps you gauge how much time you might have with a viewer. In any case, chances are it’s less than you might think.
Our sign is going to be located at the edge of our booth on the aisle. Plenty of people will be walking by throughout the show. There will also be plenty of other displays competing for attention, so working to stand out is key.
Employ What You’ve Learned
Now that we’ve taken stock of the job, it’s time to put that to good use. I’ll walk you through how we put our conclusions from above into action.
We knew we wanted to speak our audience’s language and that many in attendance are getting their first exposure to or just getting their feet wet with digital signage. We devised a way to illustrate the benefits of digital and bridge the gap between traditional and dynamic signage. Our solution: create a traditional pop-up vinyl banner placed next to a 1×2 videowall which is approximately the same 8 foot height of our banner. Our team selected NEC X463UN displays and mounted them on a PSD-TS72 pole stand from Premier. We are feeding the displays with 2 synchronized BrightSign HD220 digital media players connected with C2G HDMI cables. The NEC displays feature ultra-thin bezels which keep image interruption to a minimum, while syncing 2 BrightSign players allows us to feed full 1920×1080 signals to each display to keep our content looking sharp.
With the physical set up in place, it’s time to plan the content. We know that we don’t have much time to make an impression with the attendees traveling the show floor, so we’ve opted to keep our content loop short so that we can maximize the number of “impressions” we’ll get with them. Above, I mentioned the theme that we came up with of “Bring Your Signs To Life!”, and the best way to do that is to literally bring the sign to life. We created our vinyl banner graphic first and then used that imagery as the beginning state of our digital signage. We allow our content to sit at this state for about 15 seconds to allow a viewer to make the association that the two are the same. The same, of course, until our digital content comes to life and begins to move! Try doing that with traditional signage! To assist with attracting attention, we played to mankind’s “species bias”, which is our tendency to take notice of other humans, particularly faces. Given that the majority of attendees will be male, we selected several clips of female close ups. We then sprinkled in some logo placement to be sure a viewer knows what they are looking at and who’s booth they are visiting. We were able to lean on our experience at ISA last year, and fledgling digital signees were very interested to know all the parts of a digital signage installation. With that in mind, we incorporated a spot identifying the displays, media players, software, content sources and mounts used in the installation. This also illustrates Almo’s ability to provide a full digital signage solution along with design and installation support.
I hope that by peeling back the curtain on how we created this content, that I’ve given you a glimpse into content strategy and how it can help drive system design and implementation.