Blog: Keith Kelsen 

Keith Kelsen (bio)
Chairman & CEO
5th Screen Digital

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Well is it? Your viewers might think so…

Boredom –It’s the moment in time that drives us to do something better.

Hopefully not better than watch your screens!

Content is King and to the viewer that content better be great or risk the bored viewer. The bored viewer is a brand nightmare.

Funny thing is boys tend to be bored more often than girls, said Stephen Vodanovich, a professor of psychology at the University of West Florida, especially when it comes needing more, and a variety of, external stimulation.

“Boredom is the brain’s way to tell you, you should be doing something else,” says Gary Marcus, a professor of psychology at N.Y.U.

Jennifer Schuessler wrote about boredom in an essay in 2010 and said; “Boredom may itself be a highly useful human capacity…as an important source of creativity, well-being and our very sense of self.”

On the other hand Anne Gosling wrote; “People who are often bored are at greater risk of developing anxienty, depression and drug or alchohol addiction, display anger, aggressive behavior and lack of interpersonal skills….”

When it comes to feeling bored frequently it may be ones physiology…individuals with fewer dopamine receptors need more excitement to stay stimulated.

Brands want a positive emotional response to their image even on DOOH and digital signage and boring content does just the opposite.

Robert Plutchik created a wheel of emotions. He believed there were eight primary/bipolar emotions: joy versus sadness; anger versus fear; trust versus disgust; and surprise versus anticipation. His model also connects the idea of an emotion circle and a color wheel. The primary emotions can be expressed just like colors at different intensities and you can mix with one with the other to form different emotions.














In Plutchik’s color wheel; positive feelings  such as optimism, love and submission are the results of feelings that are interest & anticipation, serenity & joy, acceptance & trust. As a brand one would want content that is cool, exciting, fun that brings out positive emotions like optimism, love, submission and awe that ultimately bring on feelings that are positive to the brand. These are feelings that we strive for in creating great content.

On the opposite side of the wheel is boredom which is on the way to disgust and lothing…just the feeling of what bad and mediocre content will impart to the viewer.

In my travels I have seen many many really bad pieces of content so, I’m going to vent here….

Ask yourself; Is my content boring? If you don’t know or if it is, then you are hurting your brand or the brands you have on your network. A bunch of text on PowerPoint does not equate to good content, it’s boring! If you are not putting up great content then take the screen down. I’m not suggestion that you spend $250K on creating content, but for goodness sake recognize your limits and bring in the pros for some help or find out how to create great content. Digital Signage is its own medium and it’s unlike any other medium. Content must be created specifically for DOOH/Digital Signage.

Ok…how do you create great content? Follow a few tried and true rules listed below.

In section above, I wrote about boredom and how it directly affects all brands on the screen…

“Content is King and to the viewer that content better be great or risk the bored viewer. The bored viewer is a brand nightmare.”

Content must be created specifically for DOOH/Digital Signage. So how do you create great content? Here are ten tried & true basics to follow.

1. First and foremost understand who your audience is and tailor your message to that particular demographic.

2. Make the message relevant by understanding why the viewer is standing in front of your screen in the first place.

Now the nuts and bolts;

3. Analyze the current traditional media that is being used. Most digital signage will be deployed as an additive component to existing marketing and advertising campaigns. it’s important to keep campaigns on digital signage aligned with the images and messages of the overall campaign. Operators should closely examine all the raw assets available for each of the other screens—TV and Online, primarily—for material that can be pooled and then reused or re-purposed in digital signage content.

4. Leverage existing content from other media assets. Existing content can consist of both finished and raw advertising footage, still photography and graphic images, animations, sounds, and voice-overs, in addition to the basic graphic elements and in addition to considering the screen-based assets that are available, don’t neglect the potentially large volume of assets intended for use in printed materials. Because print preproduction today is almost entirely digital, the photography, illustrations, and even text are likely to already exist in computer files that are immediately useable on a digital signage screen; images are almost certainly in sufficiently high resolution to take advantage of even the highest of high-definition screens.

5. It’s important not only to collect the available assets but also to take a complete inventory what’s on hand. There are two reasons for this. The first is that one will need to understand what’s available before deciding on what the most relevant and useful pieces of content are and how they might be reused. This will save considerable time when creating the final digital signage content.

6. Networks that are successful have a consistent set of guidelines that dictate the styles, tone, and other characteristics that will make it instantly identifiable to viewers. This includes colors, fonts, position of photos, showcasing products, etc.

7. Choosing contrasting values — such as white on black and gray on black — directly affects how well the content will be comprehended and the speed at which one can comprehend the message. Similar thinking can be applied to color in practical ways while choosing contrasting colors that work. First and foremost, choosing a dark color for the background and a light color for the foreground or vice versa will have a direct impact on the ease of comprehension

8. Simplify text - less is more. Shorten your message and bring forth the highlights. Another issue to avoid in general is the use of text over pictures. This tends to make the message very difficult to read, especially when the picture has shadows, dark colors, or sunny areas with light colors.

9. Define up front the action you want your viewers to take. Tell them the specific benefits. Use curiosity as a motivator to the solution. Headline the most compelling benefit. Call for viewers to take action.

10. Remember that digital signage is a moving, living medium. Using motion to emphasize and bring attention to one’s message, even in text, can be an elegant method to help recall. Use motion and strong bold graphics to make your messages clear and instantly understood.

In summary, creating content is best achieved by following a process that begins at the highest level of your network’s identity and works down. Networks that are successful have a consistent set of guidelines that dictate the styles, tone, and other characteristics that will make it instantly identifiable to viewers.

Posted by: Admin AT 01:44 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  
Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Does it really become one screen?

As a company, once we reach a complete digital platform the portability and creation of media has to change.  It is now easier to transport media between each of the 5 screens, but,  for most it is transcoding the media not changing the message to support the screen it is going on.  The consumer is expecting something different with each screen they interact with.  It is the purpose of those screens and the mindset that is setting each screen apart…for now.

What is evolving, is how we are beginning to use each screen.  And it happens with every new pocket phone and every new technology and how quickly American business is embracing their strategic omni-channel implementation.

This is NOT my mom’s and dad’s TV anymore.  Welcome to the digital frontier.  And what I mean by frontier is as Webster defines frontier: a new field for exploitative or developmental activity, the farthermost limits of knowledge or achievement in a particular subject, a region that forms the margin of settled or developed territory. Yes we are on the very fringe of this revolution.  With just 33 years under our belt, digital is now embraced by every consumer.  Just yesterday I was in a restaurant and there was a party for someone in their late 70′s early 80′s.  So they brought in some entertainment, a singer in their 60′s. While the singer was entertaining, the audience (in their 70′s and 80′s) was recording and taking pictures with their iphone and androids.  What does that tell you?  OK I’m in Silicon Valley…but the rest of the world is not that far behind.

Media is key.  As a business, once one embraces the digital consumer and provides touch points and two way conversations using every viable means to meet the shopper where they are in the digital domain, then what’s needed is the right media to support this new found digital omni-channel world.

Even though we call it the silver screen, television, PC, mobile and digital signage they are all just screens and the technology behind them is changing.  It doesn’t mean that one’s mindset or initial use changes when interacting with each screen, what does change is how we perceive the reach and depth of the digital landscape that spills out from each screen.

As time progresses, the consumer will expect all screens to act the same.  My TV will act just like my pocket phone, or my tablet, or my lap top…

Recently I was in Brazil. When digital signage entered the market place in Sao Paulo the consumers mind set was such that they saw a TV and expected content to be TV like.  So what we were doing in the US, did not quite match what was going in Brazil. This has changed over the last few years as the Brazilian consumer understood that this is different that TV.

Today even major brands are struggling with their media and how to implement a digital media strategy.  Brands that have a lot of content are even worse off.  They have a creative machine in place that is creating media with outdated thinking and old strategy.

The new frontier is media.  In a digital world when a business enters the digital domain, the media demand skyrockets.  Creating media the way one used to create media just does not work anymore.  To reduce costs one needs a new strategy for creating and distributing media in the digital domain.  Just as all businesses are on the path of omni-channel for their very survival, that survival may be short lived if the media created is not appropriate for each experience the consumer is engaged in.

Posted by: Admin AT 08:48 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  
Wednesday, 09 October 2013

I have often discussed the idea of making the content on a digital signage network relevant. Simply put, that means constructing content to carry a company’s messages in a manner that has meaning to the specific audience whose behavior the company is seeking to influence.  In other words “Who’s watching?”

By combining audience understanding with the remarkable attributes of digital signage, marketers can begin to map out the content that will make their digital signage investment pay off.

If one can create content that understands the viewer and relates to that viewer with specific traits to that demographic, then one can drive messages that are very effective in making that connection with that consumer.  What are their key characteristics that drive their emotions? What events most influenced their lives? (see Illustration)

Fig 3-2 Demographics_chart

The demographic landscape has changed in the last five years significantly. Baby Boomers are retiring at an accelerated rate and now have different concerns and motivations.  And then there is the digital consumer who is born after 1980. They grew up in the back of the car with an ipad or using mom’s cell phone.   They are a completely digital generation that thinks and acts differently than any generation before. It’s non-linear thinking. It’s any screen, anytime. It’s multitasking. The “Millennial” generation is more informal with their communications having growing up texting in short thumb. The style in language one choses to use to communicate will be important.

With most teens today it’s a continuous life on stage with “selfie” pictures on Facebook.  The “selfie” acts almost like a location scout for a movie.  They will even choose a location, friends and clothing, they think will make their perfect stage presence for the “photo shoot”.

The big news in creating content for the digital “Millennial” generation is it has to be interactive and has to provide for a two way conversation. For instance, a place to create the photo and then share it.  It can be a “Magic Mirror” in the dressing room where outfits the Selfie tries on are shared across their social network and the feedback is live.  Digital signage content cannot be passive for this young digital consumer.  It must have relevant interaction and serve their need to share with the rest of the world and must provide a positive experience.

Posted by: Admin AT 04:22 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  
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