Lots of us get wrapped up in digital signage technology and forget that the most important differentiator of digital signs is that they are passive in their communication, persistent with various messages driving home the same point and physically present. Think about it, most every advertising medium requires a conscious decision by viewers to participate. They must have a computer or mobile device and choose to go to a search engine or company site to be exposed to marketing information; they have to turn on their TVs, buy a newspaper – but they always have the opportunity to skip the ads and information.
But, digital signage is different. It’s the only medium that has a passive, persistent presence for both promotional and informational messages. It‘s delivered in the background as viewers go through their everyday activities. With digital signage, the medium is always on, viewers don’t get to control the content (unless they’re at an interactive kiosk) and the content is automatically and persistently presented to them when and where they are.
The only choice that viewers have to make is to be in the area. By choosing to enter a store, have lunch in the break room, drive down a street, or go to an office, they release control of the information that they are exposed to. Yes, they can look away but they can’t physically control a properly setup signage system.
Viewers don’t have to look for it – they don’t have to seek it out. If properly placed, the signage is a motivating and informational presence throughout the day. The same applies to digital signage marketing in waiting rooms, in-store and hotel lobby signage – just by going through their normal activities viewers are exposed to the messaging - some of it informational and entertaining to retain viewership while most are promotional to improve profits. To my mind, this, along with flexibility for total control by the owner, is a distinguishing characteristic of digital signage.
It’s the same thing for employee communications; they simply have to decide to go to work (not showing up to work is a totally different problem unrelated to digital signage) to automatically receive repeated digital signage employee communications messages about benefits, events, achievements and progress on company / department goals.
The challenge that we face as digital signage administrators with virtually unlimited flexibility is to properly position attractive, viewable displays and develop dynamic content that is not only readable, but also informational, attractive and compelling to engage viewers throughout the day.
So, passive, persistent presence is both an opportunity and a challenge, but it remains a key digital signage differentiator and something that we should actively promote as we discuss and consider the benefits of digital signage.
Mike Strand is founder and CEO of StrandVision LLC, an Internet-based subscription digital signage service that is distributed through resellers. Previously, Mike founded StrandWare, a leading bar code software and AIDC company. Anyone with questions can contact Mike at mjstrand@StrandVision.com.