Blog: Keith Kelsen 

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

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

With spring here, I thought it’s time to talk about color. The basics of color can summed up by saying that there is a rainbow out there– so use it. BUT…use your rainbow sensibly. Some color combinations a pleasant to view; others are jarring, even ugly; while still others send messages based on our common cultural background (red and green mean Christmas in the U.S.; red, white and blue imply patriotism). And some combinations simply make it too difficult to present text in a readable and comprehensive way.

First, let’s look at the typical color wheel that is most familiar when choosing colors while working in PowerPoint or Word. (Figure. 1) If one looks closely at the color wheel, one notices the outer edge of the color wheel displays the darker colors while the center shows the lighter colors. This is based on the 32-bit color standards of RGB (red, green and blue, where values of zero for each creates black, while R, 255 G, 255 and B,255 is white. A value of R,255 G,0 and B,0 is pure red, and so on. Setting different values for R, G and B within this range of 0-256 gives several million possible color choices, although a very slight change in a single value rarely produces a color that the human eye can distinguish from the original.

When selecting colors from the wheel one can use the combination of inner wheel colors and outer wheel colors to set a contrast to any presentation using text. Figure 2 shows how choosing contrasting values — such as white on black and grey on black — directly affect 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 (Figure 3).

Which colors work best with other colors? Take a look at the basic color wheel (Figure 1), you will notice that in its original design there are twelve colors that make up the wheel. The first circular color diagram was designed by Sir Isaac Newton in 1666. The color wheel is designed so that virtually any colors you pick from it will look good together. While important aspects of the color wheel and color theory are well known to artists, they might not be fully appreciated by someone that has a technical background. Although the wheel is made of twelve shades of colors, there are basic primary colors that are made of red, green and blue (Figure 4). This is different from the primary colors we learned at a very young age, which are red, blue, and yellow. These new primary colors are based on the medium that we are working in – projected light rather than reflected light.

The colors adjacent to the primary colors) are the three secondary colors of cyan, magenta and yellow. The final six intermediates are formed by mixing a primary with a secondary are known as tertiary colors, for a total of 12 main divisions.

Analogous colors are directly next to a given color. If you start with blue and you want its two analogous colors, you select purple and red . A color scheme that uses analogous colors usually matches well and creates natural and comfortable designs. When choosing an analogous color scheme, however, it is important to make sure you have enough contrast. Choose one color to dominate, a second to support. The third color is used (along with black, white or gray) as an accent.

Complementary colors are opposite each other on the color wheel (for example, red and green). The high contrast of complementary colors creates a vibrant look that is undesirable for digital signage, especially when used at full saturation. Complementary colors are best used as accents or when you something to stand out, but is particularly inappropriate for text (Figure 5).

Warm colors and cool colors are on the opposite side of the color wheel (Figure 4). One can use this basic warm or cool scheme as a guiding palette.

As with any media there are colors that work together well and combination of colors that collide. When choosing colors that work well together, one can reference the color wheel and remember to look at the contrasts (light over dark) even within the same color. For the RGB scheme of colors, yellow and blue work, as well as red and yellow. Just the opposite is true on colors that fight each other or vibrate on the screen (Figure 5). Color combinations to avoid are typically the tertiary complimentary colors.

Applying these best practices will get you great results.  Working with brands and company colors, one can use the color wheel to create tasteful backgrounds and other graphics that will work well with the company’s color scheme. Remember however each display is different from one manufacturer to another.  Colors will vary out in the real world from display to display, so corporate colors will never be a perfect match.

In creating any message, choosing the right color combination can make or break the comprehension of the message.

Author and speaker Keith Kelsen, chief visionary at 5th Screen, is considered one of the leading experts on digital media. More information about his book, “Unleashing the Power of Digital Signage – Content Strategies for the 5th Screen”, published by Focal Press, can be found on the book’s companion website at www.5thscreen.info. Reach him at keith.kelsen@5thscreen.com or on Twitter @Kkelsen.

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Tuesday, 08 April 2014

Keeping viewers interested in the content is a primary challenge of a digital signage network. For some networks, it’s a greater challenge than others. For example, keeping a corporate communications network fresh can be especially daunting because content is presented to the same viewers day after day. To keep up with that need, many managers of corporate communications networks make a crucial mistake and display all their content assets in the first month of operation and leave themselves with nothing new for the rest of the quarter or even longer, not to mention that their audience becomes bored and is likely to lose interest rapidly. In all networks, and here in particular, pacing the delivery of existing assets is a key to success.  In a corporate communications network it is best to rotate several categories in the main window: corporate content, policies, benefits, financials, and safety tips for instance.

Having a number of pieces ready to be placed into the loop at any time is critical and having them vary a specific messaging while maintaining the integrity of the category flow. A loop that has a safety message in it for example would play through the entire playlist, and then each safety message advances to the next safety message in the queue. This resets the safety message up to the top each time it goes around. So you’re always are getting a new safety message that is different every time—just in case you did sit through the loop twice, you’d get a new safety message.

Keeping ahead of content demands begins with the development of a significant pool of assets prior to launching the network. Think of these as basic building blocks that will be available for a relatively long period and can be mixed and matched in different ways. This is not stockpiling the content around a specific campaign, but rather it is about the overall look, feel, and identity of the site. This involves creating key graphic elements and templates to develop a large library that can be manipulated as you create and present your content. It’s crucial to know the current and upcoming campaign objectives (at least for the quarter, and preferably for the year) to be able to create the necessary content elements well in advance. This is an area that requires full attention, and procrastination is not an option. The more planning for content, the more successful a digital signage implementation will be.

Creating a multitude of assets that can be tapped into at any time will allow flexibility in most any campaign. Start with creating graphic elements that can be put together in a number of diverse ways. This enables one to change the look slightly by shifting the elements around on the screen. These graphic elements span the gamut from logos and labels to photographs and icons. A network that will be selling coffee drinks will want to gather images of the coffee cups in use, the logo of the brand, and any logos of the drinks themselves. An in-store network at a consumer electronic retailer would want to gather images of its key products, manufacturer logos, and brand marks, such as Blu-ray.

An internal communications network that will mix messages about safety with those about corporate policy might want to develop several sets of related designs to go on top of the relevant text—a red striped bar for a safety warning, a blue striped one for policy—that will carry consistent elements of the network’s design across various content segments. In some ways, this is similar to the idea behind designing a web site or a print publication.

Although there will be a constant stream of shifting content, there are certain graphic elements that are used all the time and that let viewers know visually what site or publication they are looking at. These elements help create a sense of connection and comfort with viewers yet provide a great deal of flexibility in terms of how a particular piece of content can be presented. Because these elements are important to a network’s identity and used so frequently, they are considered and developed ahead of any other content.

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Wednesday, 02 April 2014

One fundamental question about displaying content on the screen goes back to the real estate analogy. Should there be a single structure taking up the whole display property, or is it better to subdivide and put something in two, three, or even more distinct areas? In digital signage, these screen areas are called zones.

Some networks will take the full area of a 16:9 screen and split it up into three areas: one that retains the 16:9 format, another next to it in the 4:3 format, and a short, wide zone along the bottom of the 16:9 area. One would use the first zone for branding content, the second for informational or secondary ad content, and the third as a ticker.

Indeed, the question of how many zones to use—or whether to use any at all—often arises when a network will use data-driven content, such as news headlines, weather forecasts, or stock prices.

Although at first the zone approach appears to deal with a number of issues—from providing a way to display the full images of content in multiple ratios to creating variety for the viewer—there is a fundamental question to ask…Is it preferable to display this content at all times or does that create a distraction that confuses the viewer or prevents the viewer from focusing on the revenue-generating content or the main message?

Another study clearly shows that doing so many different things at once can actually impair cognitive ability. In a 2009 study, Stanford researcher Clifford Nass challenged 262 college students to complete experiments that involved switching among tasks, filtering irrelevant information, and using working memory. Nass and his colleagues expected that frequent multitaskers would outperform nonmultitaskers on at least some of these activities.

They found the opposite: Chronic multitaskers were abysmal at all three tasks. The scariest part: Only one of the experiments actually involved multitasking, signaling to Nass that even when they focus on a single activity, frequent multitaskers use their brains less effectively.

This conundrum is not an easy one to solve, and the answer often depends on the type of network involved. So let’s look at a few types of networks that have zones and some that do not understand why the given choices are inappropriate.

NOT

As a rule “Point Of Transit” (POT) networks do not employ zones. Why not? Because the function of these screens as something akin to a live poster, combined with the limited time the viewer is exposed to them, means that a powerful message needs to be conveyed in just a few seconds. Advertisers understandably want full command of the screen so there is no interference with their message. Although the message on the screen will change periodically, at any given time there should not be any competition for the viewer’s attention from secondary zones.

There are occasions, however, where even a POT network can be more effective with zones, provided they are used in a creative manner. Keep in mind the issue of viewer relevancy. At an airport, weather and other information about a destination is of great interest to a viewer, and having such information displayed in a zone on the screen could attract and hold a viewer’s attention for a somewhat longer period of time, exposing the viewer to ads in the main zone. But it cannot be a moving ticker at the bottom or motion zone on the right or left.  If it was a single text with weather Icons and with NO movement and it changed every 60 seconds then this would not be distraction from the main message, and could attract the viewer and expose them to the main message.  At the same time, the weather information could also be displayed full screen as part of a loop that also contains advertising like a convertible BMW on a sunny day. Care needs to be taken with such choices given the existence of several credible studies that suggest zones in POT networks do not work and detract from the message the advertiser is trying to get across.

NOT

Point of Sale (POS) Networks typically are driving a single message to purchase.  We see zones used in this environment way too often. To the viewer who is surrounded by many products on the shelf a screen with zones becomes nothing but noise in the retail environment.  Instead one zone should be used and the purpose should be to offer a helpful message that needs to say “How can I help you buy this today”.  POS networks need to understand their function.  So many times we see ad related networks in a retail environment that has ads that are not relevant to the shopping there and now experience…but I digress.  POS full screen one message at a time and interactive if possible is very effective.

IN THE ZONE

One subset of Point of Wait (POW) networks that is amenable to the use of zones is the elevator network. Although there is still a limited amount of time to get a message across and a relatively small amount of screen real estate to do it, the fact is that the average person in an office building rides the elevator six times a day, and each ride lasts an average of 1 minute. This sort of network is ideal for presenting short bursts of content (15 seconds or so) in a few different zones on the screen. The viewer who chooses to focus on one zone during one ride may well choose another zone on the next ride, maintaining interest in the screen and making this approach a viable option for this type of network.

The other subset is internal corporate communications (not lobby screens), where the viewer sees the same screen many many times.  Zones here are very useful precisely because eliminating the chance for boredom is an important concern.  These zones help keep the messaging fresh.  Providing zones of information lets viewers focus on different parts of the screen because they are engaged frequently over a longer period of a week.  In addition one can catorgorize the look and feel of each message type to cue in the viewer.  Safety messages for example can have a yellow and black ICON to signify that his is a safety message.  Then the viewer that is concerned about these issues will notice the messaging and pay attention to this subject matter.

With zones, keep in mind that it is all relevant to the mind-set of the viewer and the type of network. Viewers will ignore the screens if their mind-set and the type of network do not match the purpose of why the shopper, person with dwell time, or person on the go is in the venue in the first place.

With changes in both content and technology, the perception of the viewer is becoming altered as well. Smart phones and tablets are part of our appendages, and are part of the tool kit of high school students. Digital signage is now that ubiquitous, and viewers are more accustomed to them and pay less attention to the screen on the wall.  Continual evaluation is the only thing that will clarify how this element of digital signage will be perceived.

Posted by: Admin AT 09:20 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  
Tuesday, 25 March 2014

If digital signage were real estate, then the aspect ratio would be the overall shape of the lot – in the case of screens, its width divided by its height. Many people are already familiar with this general concept thanks to the proliferation of HDTV and its “wide screen” images. For digital signage, this is more than about the sheer size of the screen, though – it’s about getting the shape of the content, particularly video content, to match up with the screen.

It’s quite likely, unless a network or multiple networks are of single aspect ratio and all the content for the networks can be built from scratch or acquired in that same ratio, that the network operator or agency will need to decide how to place content of one ratio onto the screen of the other.

The aspect ratio of the traditional television screen prior to HDTV was developed from the movie screen, built to display the 35mm film that had been developed in Edison’s time. It is not quite square: The aspect ratio is 4:3, (Figure 1) also known as 1.33 (what you get when you divide 4 by 3). Until recently, most computer screens were also built on a 4:3 aspect ratio. Almost all films prior to the 1950s, the vast majority of TV programs until very recently, and TV ads, were all shot in this aspect ratio and hence fill up the full frame of such a screen.

In the 1950s, in an attempt to stave off competition from television, the movie industry developed a collection of wide-screen formats, and today filmgoers are accustomed to seeing movies that are almost twice as wide as they are tall – and in some cases, even wider. The development of HDTV involved the adoption of the most common of these newer aspect ratios, 16:9, also commonly called 1.78 (Figure 2). Many films since the 1950s, significant prime time and sports programming on TV, and some TV ads, are in this aspect ratio. Almost all PC screens being sold today are in this format, and as HDTV becomes more widespread, more video will be available from the TV world in this format as well. If one is installing a new digital signage network, chances are it will consist solely of 16:9 screens, whether they are small shelf-mounted POS screens or large outdoor billboards.

These are the most commonly encountered aspect ratios but there are others, notably the 2.35:1 format used by some movies, typically high-budget productions. (It is extremely rare to find digital signage in this format; there are few manufacturers.) And some screens in custom form may have unique ratios, or they may be taller than then are wide to accommodate the location (the large exterior digital signs in Times Square are an example of the latter).

The reason these ratios matter is because content created in one aspect ratio must be modified in some way to be displayed in another. This can create a number of problems for a network operator – if a digital signage network consists of screens of different aspect ratios, the same content will look different on each type without special treatment. Even for a network comprising a single screen format – and 4:3 is being phased out in existing networks as hardware is updated – any content created in another ratio poses the same display issue. (This is another reason for considering carefully the direct use of TV commercials in digital signage networks, since almost all ads today are still in 4:3.)


There are two basic methods for taking 16:9 content and presenting it on 4:3 screens, methods that might be familiar to buyers of wide-screen movies on DVD but watch them on older TVs.

The first is known as letterboxing (Figure 3). In this approach, the 16:9 image is allowed to fill the horizontal width of the screen. Because of the difference in ratios, this means the content will not extend the full height of the screen. Instead, it is centered vertically on the screen and two black stripes are displayed as borders on the top and bottom of the image. Letterboxing has the advantage of retaining the full image of the original content, although it leaves some significant screen real estate unused. If the screen is not sufficiently large, then some individual objects in the image might become less distinct.




A second approach is to allow the 16:9 image to fill the full vertical height of the 4:3 screen (Figure 4). By necessity, this means that the full width cannot be presented and some of the original image will not be visible. This can be done by cropping out both the left and right sides of the original image and displaying the 4:3 section at the center, or by a more laborious process called “pan and scan” in which the cropping may be more pronounced on one side or the other in order to keep important parts of the image centered. This typically requires an editor or technician to view the original content and determine which part of each frame to crop, and then creating a 4:3 version of the original according to that decision. In either case, the content takes up all the available screen space, but at the loss of a considerable amount of the image.

Know what type of network the content will be deployed on — Ask for the specifications.

Posted by: Admin AT 03:11 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  
Tuesday, 28 January 2014

In a recent article I wrote about creating great content templates and how that templates can be used effectively.  The biggest issue is determining how many templates that I may need for my network based on day parting and the potentially diverse demographics in front of my screens.

For any network, one needs to create a set of meta-templates that are refreshed at least once a quarter. This isn’t an exercise in re-branding the company or building an entirely new visual language for the network, but one should create variance that introduces new elements into the ones that have already enjoyed a 3-month run. For example, create a series of templates that have corporate branding elements for a specific purpose. You may have a series of compliance messages that you need to get out, so create a template that is designed for that type of message. The viewer will learn that when that particular template is up, the content pertains to workplace compliance. Creating templates with branding elements for other types of messages will also play well with viewers. If you use the same template for everything, the viewer will get tired of the same look all the time.

To better understand how many templates one will need to keep a network fresh and relevant to the demographic, a simple formula can assist in creating the right number of templates: D × V = T or (day parts) × (visits) = (demographic templates). This is based on each demographic one takes into consideration, then one can take all the demographics and add them up for the TT (total number of templates) required using a message template similar to the example (Figure 1). One can lay out in a spreadsheet the number of versions of the message one needs in a given month and understand what time of day the specific demographic is in the venue. This will tell one how many versions of the message one may need to keep it fresh and when to put the versions in the schedule. For this example the monthly visits (V) for demographic 1 is 3. So to create the right number of fresh templates for demographic 1, simply multiply the day parts (D) = 5 by visits (V) = 3, which totals 15 templates (T). One can do the same for demographic 2, where day parts (D) = 2 and visits (V) = 6, which totals 12 templates (T). And a grand total for all templates is 27 total templates (TT). One then knows that during the week between 8 and 10 o’clock in the morning, one needs to play demographic 1 on Monday and Wednesday, and between 10 o’clock and noon one needs to play the ad targeted toward demographic 2. The target demographic ad versions can be altered slightly based on the templates.

Posted by: Admin AT 03:02 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  
Tuesday, 21 January 2014

What drives the consumer to engage?

I believe that there are a number of ingredients that need to be considered while creating great content.

First and foremost the content must be visually appealing. Second the content must be relevant or in context. And thirdly the emotional connection, and that depends upon the disposition of the consumer, where they are at, what frame of mind they are in and what is their emotional demographic.

Let’s break it down, Visually Appealing; This is often subjective, but there are rules to follow that will help one create more appealing content.  First composition, second color, third motion.

Composition – Adding a little math may help some of us that are not artistically inclined. Yes composition can be based on science. The Golden Ratio.  The Golden Ratio is a special number found by dividing a line into two parts so that the longer part divided by the smaller part is also equal to the whole length divided by the longer part (see fig 1) a/b = (a+b)/a = 1.618. Historically, this ratio can be seen in the architecture of many ancient creations, like the Great Pyramids (the Golden Triangle is also based on the Golden Ratio) and the Parthenon.  The Golden Ratio was used to attain beauty and balance in many paintings and sculptures. Da Vinci used the Golden ratio to delineate all of the proportions in his Last Supper.  He also used this principal in his Vitruvian Man and the Mona Lisa. Many other artists like such as Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Seurat, and Salvador Dali also employed the Golden ratio.   Ok so we may not be Rembrandt, but add a little math and we may get even better content on our screens.

Color – Contrast is your best friend when it comes to quick and easy read and comprehension.  Without going into all aspects of color here, please see the recent blog post on color here.

Motion – Adding motion to any part of you messaging is going to garner more attention and could be the link between your brand and the consumer creating an emotional connection.  The best approach is to create a storyboard.  Storyboards are going to allow you to see the sequence of movement of objects in a 16×9 frame (see fig 2). Storyboarding is the process of sketching, in advance, the sequence of events, images, and effects that will make up the final product. These can range from a handful of simple pencil sketches, with a sentence or two on each describing the action, to a detailed layout of every angle, shot, and image. In effect, what a storyboard does is create both a proof of concept for whoever must approve the content and a set of instructions for those who will actually produce the content. The longer a piece of content, or the more complex the action, the more detailed a storyboard must be to do these two jobs. But even a simple piece of content benefits greatly from the use of the storyboard process. This storyboarding process helps to get everyone on the same page. It is a very visual medium that takes the script one step closer to production. When everyone agrees on the look and feel that the production is going for, then one can take it to the next level.

Relevance and Context - This is often a very difficult concept to get one’s brain wrapped around.   So let’s keep it simple.  Relevance and Context is really understanding three things; 1. How does my message relate to the viewer? 2. What type of network (PoS, PoT or PoW) are my screens in or where is my viewer? 3. What frame of mind is my viewer in?

Any team that is operating a digital signage network or is planning a network has a unique opportunity to bring excellence to this emerging industry and set some precedents. We can already see this in the work of some network professionals who have focused on research. Their innovative approaches use content as the source and cause for relevant messaging that is useful, helpful, and provides a positive experience for the viewer. Aligning consumer mind-set with network type is a large part of this exploration that brings success to some of the most prominent networks in the United States and abroad. Recognizing that mind-set is critical to matching effective content to the network is key.  In otherwords, why is the consumer there and what are they doing?

Recognizing that mind-set is critical to matching effective content to the network. One may want to create content that reflects ones specific audience in ways that are more relevant to them. It is the  research that will get you there.

The Emotional Connnection – There are 8 emotional triggers that help connected the consumer to the brand. Creating a connection with the consumer by triggering one or more of the eight psychological drivers: Self-Creation, Mastery, Dreaming, Security, Playtime, Sport, Sanctuary and Connection.

SELF-CREATION is an emotion that reveals itself through creating, enhancing and expressing one’s identity by stimulating self-reflection, status, bragging rights and values.

MASTERY is evoked by learning, performance and sharing. For example, consumer electronics is a category where knowledge transfer creates a feeling that the shopper has mastered a complex product.

DREAMING is hope, inspiration, ambition and looking at the possibilities. To evoke this emotion one must create content that is relevant to these aspirations. Department stores that carry kitchen products and bedding and home improvement stores are great examples of locations where Digital Destinations can be created to inspire shoppers and encourage them to buy products that lead to their dream home, patio or deck.

PLAYTIME is engaging in child like fun, expression and amusement.  The engagement that triggers this emotion needs to be entertaining and include aspects of creativity and stimulation. Although this can apply to many different types of products, certain ones are very good fits – like amusement parks and cruise lines.

SPORT Similar to playtime is sport, which drives the emotion of adventure, being on the hunt, competitive contests and strategic. Sport is pursuing a goal with enthusiasm and then completing that goal with a sense of personal achievement.

CONNECTION develops, maintains and deepens relationships that help the customer feel like they have bonded with the brand and belong to a special group. Deepening the relationship with the members is best done by offering free samples, coupons and free downloads of music for example.

SANCTUARY represents a safe, calming escape and relaxed emotions.  When a shopper is rushing around, the location can create this emotion which helps slow down the shopper’s pace and provides an opportunity to introduce the brand message.

SECURITY Preparedness, replenishment and nesting are key factors that evoke the emotion of security.

Creating content that is relevant to these emotions will be helpful to the shopper, engage them and ultimately create a conversation with the brand and the shopper while driving more sales.

Posted by: Admin AT 01:39 pm   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  
Monday, 09 December 2013

When considering templates, don’t be tempted to merely copy from one DOOH network to another. Every network has different needs, and the assets available and the type of templates created will be unique.

I have seen it WAY too many times where someone puts a picture over a picture with some text-urrgh! Templates are not just another power point message on the screen.  They can be sophisticated, elegant and agency level design that runs across the entire network and bleeds off onto other screens like mobile and tablet.

If we are talking about a point-of-sale network (POS)—specifically an in-store network—the content will always have overarching brand messaging that appears along with product offerings. One can create brand elements and templates that will be used throughout the year to drive that brand messaging while leaving central locations for a product offering to appear. One can also create a layer within the brand messages for product offerings that will have their own brand. Creating elements to drive these offers is just one example of a template that can be reused and changed slightly to keep the messaging fresh.

Menu boards are another great example of how templates can be used to change the pricing, pictures, or specials that need to be updated from breakfast to lunch and dinner. For any network, one needs to create a set of templates that are refreshed at least once a quarter. This isn’t an exercise in rebranding the company or building an entirely new visual language for the network, but one should create variance that introduces new elements into the ones that have already enjoyed a 3-month run.

For example, create a series of templates that have corporate branding elements for a specific purpose. You may have a series of compliance messages that you need to get out, so create a template that is designed for that type of message. The viewer will learn that when that particular template is up, the content pertains to workplace compliance. Creating templates with branding elements for other types of messages will also play well with viewers. If you use the same template for everything, the viewer will get tired of the same look all the time.

At Adspace, for example, they create templates for POS networks that allow weekly content changes and a complete shift with each retail season. They have a spring set of templates, a summer set of templates, a fall set of templates, and so on. Then within those templates they have different creative for holidays. In addition, they are following the customer: ‘What is Mom thinking for back to school or the holidays?’”

Also consider a series of community messages and good old eye candy that can give retail employees a reprieve in the daily grind. Give them something to smile about, too.

There are many methods to generate viewer interest on an internal communications network, and the digital signage communication offers power. It is also important that the templates create an overall look for the entire network—something that gives graphic consistency across all screens. This is where we can take a lesson from the 2nd Screen. TV stations create that kind of identity so that even catching a brief glimpse of local programming or a promo spot will visually tell viewers they are watching Channel 5. Network owned and operated stations take that a step further; one can tell they are part of a particular network by the consistent visual cues like typestyle, screen layout, and even the shape of the station’s logo. Not only do digital signage networks benefit from this kind of continuity; the fact is that after many years of TV exposure, the viewer expects, even subconsciously, that certain standards of appearance and identity will be met.

Within Target TV you know you are watching Target TV because a nice chunk of content playing is advertising an event or sale that is Target and Target’s ID plays a huge role in establishing the network look and feel. The station ID or brand is a breath of fresh air.  It’s a bright shiny spot and they’re fun. It really starts off to give the channel a Target branding moment. It gives it cool factor. It is designed to surprise and delight their guests. In production they go into a treatment that is part of an existing campaign with specific art. They take those campaign elements and slice them up and add the motion. In addition, Target looks at all of the content that runs across their network. Target does not throw just any content up on the network simply because the vendor wants it there. The Target network is much more of a collaborative affair than a mere purchase of airtime by a vendor.

Next article, I will discuss how many templates does one need and how does one figure it out?

Posted by: Admin AT 10:38 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  
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  |  
Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Relevance; 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. OK…now how does one do that?

Even before companies decide to make DOOH part of their marketing and communications strategy, they usually have a good idea of who the most likely buyers of their products or services will be. The choice of network depends in part on the habits of those buyers—digital signage needs to reach them in places they are most likely to be, at the times they are most likely to be there. But it is the content itself that takes its cue most directly from the intended audience.

As with any type of marketing, a solid understanding of the audience is what will provide the keys to creating compelling content. Further, because digital signage allows marketers to take advantage of so many variables—from the length of a content segment to the time of day it appears—it is vital for marketers to understand their specific audiences at a high level of detail…including Behavioral Attitudes, Demographics, Emotional Relevance and making the content relevant to one’s environment and what the audience is doing in that environment.

If one looks at the Golden Triangle of Digital Engagement, one can see this is just a portion of considerations for creating a successful digital signage engagement.

TRIANGLE3 

Technology/Audience/Media

When engaging the digital consumer one must keep an additional three things in mind. 1. Create a Two Way Street.  Let them share the experience and talk to you the brand. 2. Create a Compelling Experience…where the consumer actually looks up from their pocket screen and engages with your retail screen (s). 3. Create the Latent Conversation. If the experience is engaging enough, the consumer will give up their personal mobile number or email and opt in.

Remember that it is no longer about the screen on the wall or the kiosk in the corner, that is quickly becoming glance media in the retail environment.

Posted by: Admin AT 09:17 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  
Monday, 29 April 2013

Every day the consumer becomes more and more involved in a digital world. From movie screens, TVs and PCs to smartphones, tablets and digital signage, the screens are converging on several levels.

The consumer demands a rich media experience across all screens. They expect each screen to look and act similarly. The lines used to be very clear between a TV and a PC, but today the lines have been blurred by interactive TV and TV on PCs. And then the consumer is watching TV and movies on mobile and tablet screens.

It is no longer a separate screen for a separate purpose; it's really "One Screen." And in a "One Screen" world the consumer can change to a shopper in a matter of seconds and buy anything, anytime, anyplace. This has far reaching effects in retail.

Today the consumer disposition changes based on two things: where they are and what they are doing. For instance, a personal screen (tablet, mobile) or the screen on the wall becomes a point of wait whenever the consumer has "Dwell Time." They could be in line getting coffee or at a doctor's office. When the consumer is driving down the road, or at a train station or airport, the consumer is "On the Go," and their screen or the screen in the venue or on the roadside becomes a point-of-transit screen, where the messages are brief and about the brand. And when the consumer is either in a retail environment or just sees something they want to buy, the screen then becomes a point of sale, where the consumer is now a "Shopper."

Now the content must change according to what the consumer is doing and where the consumer is located. It doesn't matter if it is their pocket screen or tablet or the interactive screen in the venue. What does matter is the content that is on that screen and how the consumer interacts with it.

The major shift we see in the marketplace is this interaction with any screen. A screen on the wall is not as compelling an experience as a screen with which the consumer interacts. This interaction can be on their own screen in the venue with specific content that is related to the that particular venue, or it can be on a "Digital Destination" screen that is there to create a fun entertainment or an educationally engaging experience. A "Digital Destination" is a place in reality that ties into the digital frontier while enhancing the consumer experience. One might consider that in the very near future, not only are all screens converging into one screen, so also is the multiverse/virtual reality converging on reality.

The consumer has become a "media monster" that needs to be fed. The new digital consumer has developed and appetite for media like no other generation before — and it's not just consumers born after 1980 (the digital generation); it is the baby boomers (analog digital wannabes) too. Changing the strategy to accommodate these newfound consumer interactions is critical. As content creators and strategists, we must take into consideration what particular mindset the consumer is in (on the go, shopper or dwell time) and create media that addresses that need in that particular mindset and in the particular venue. In addition, we have to consider how we create content and create it once for all screens and not just one-off messages for a particular screen. This means that we have to create media in such a way that the final message can easily be assembled for any screen in automated ways.

To create final messages that are close to the mindset of the consumer at a particular venue, one needs to consider data-driven intelligent messages that are assembled to create a more relevant message that match the consumers mindset and what venue they are in. It is this customization on digital signage that is driven by anonymous video analytics (like Intel's AIM Suite) that helps drive more relevant messages to the consumer in specific age and culture groups that are also "Shoppers," have "Dwell Time" or are "On the Go."

Data-driven intelligent content will be designed so that the ecosystem (defined as connected devices) knows and learns from our choices and patterns that are created in our lives while delivering the experience that we desire. In addition, information from other connected devices adds to our experience. Because ultimately content is designed to give each of us a memorable experience, the more tailored that experience is to me based on data that's about me the better experience I might be able to have.

Big intelligent data in retail can drive content to do one of two things: learn my behaviors to help me find and buy products that I might be interested in, or bring me in-venue information that is relevant to my experience. This convergence of venue-driven data versus my personal data is on an impact course that can only produce spectacular experiences. The more sophisticated the data and the learned behavior the better matched the experience tailored to me will be. For instance, an auto parts store in the U.S. uses big data to find out what kind vehicles residents are driving in the proximity of each store and then they focus on creating advertising around the most popular vehicles.

The bottom line is, it will not matter which screen I am engaged with, because behind all the screens is one intelligent media data landscape and what the consumer ultimately sees is "One Screen."

Keith Kelsen is the author of "Unleashing the Power of Digital Signage – Content Strategies for the 5th Screen." More information about his book and the book's companion website can be found at www.5thscreen.info. His company, 5th Screen, is at www.5thscreen.com Follow him on Twitter @KKelsen.

Posted by: Admin AT 12:18 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  
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