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|| Blog: Keith Kelsen
Keith Kelsen (bio)
Chairman & CEO
5th Screen Digital
Wednesday, 28 January 2015
All screens are part of the continuity of marketing and messages including the increasingly powerful pocket screen. It really comes down to what businesses we are in — on the retail side, on the advertising side, or on the corporate communications side. These are all distinct categories of digital screen media, digital out-of-home and digital signage. This marks my seventh annual Top 10 Trends for the industry — trends that are changing in exciting ways, trends that always include the good, the bad and sometimes the ugly.
Last year my No. 1 trend was "Go big or go small," and I submit to you how going small and big were high on everyone's list from restaurant tables to corporate lobbies to conversion of billboards.
For 2015, I would like to open up a dialog with readers with some thought-provoking predictions in an effort to gauge and better understand readers' reactions. For the first time, you get to tell us what you think the No. 10 trend is.
The main goal of engaging the consumer is to have conversation between the brand and the consumer and ultimately sell something! I submit to to you that everything we do is simple: The brand converses with the consumer and vice versa. So as companies look at what they are really doing in this business, does this realign their goals and thinking?
And now … on to 2015.
1. "Moment of Truth" is now "Moment of Everywhere"
Brands and retailers are finding new ways to partner to increase sales and gain loyalty while aligning goals between them with omnichannel strategies, brand power, content and technology. Large brands are looking for, and continue to support, innovation to reach consumers in ways that are meaningful and provide ROI. Just like the video camera controversy five years ago, now tracking where the consumer is in-store has taken front stage. This too will become a moot point as the consumer learns of the benefits of iBeacon, Wi-Fi technologies. This moment of truth is when, wherever and whatever the consumer buys. Yes, it still happens in retail environments, but then again it's everywhere, and it's here now.
Look for the interconnection between digital screens and notice of where the consumer is (location) and the number of visits the consumer makes, their smartphone, their daily patterns both online and off line to arrive at the moment of truth.
2. My Smartphone is now my smart button? Or is the IoT (Internet of Things) now the IoE (Internet of Everything)?
It seems that one of the largest impacts on the digital signage industry is the smartphone. Although it really depends upon the type of network one is talking about, still there is no doubt we are connecting with the smartphone. Intel is driving the chipset down to the size of a button, and then there is Edison, a miniature computer based on the same technology condensed into the form factor of an SD card, which has Bluetooth and Wi-Fi built in based on Linux. This wearable-type technology can have impacts in retail that are just now becoming apparent. This is an early trend in the marketplace. Imagine if you will, that my smartphone is a roll-up screen and the rest of my computing power is dispersed among the cloud, e.g., the Chromebook where everything is in the cloud. With distributed technology, I could walk up to a shelf, and the shelf would know what product I have been buying and even suggest another product that is complementary. What if my cart was using wearable technology that knows my list of standard groceries that I buy 99 percent of the time and then adds a couple of variations to my screen or a coupon offer to my loyalty program while in the store? Perhaps my favorite ice cream is now calling me – yes, really calling me on my screen -- and a virtual cow is now moooving my purchase into reality. The integrated chips are so small and connected that every product can have one next to it for the latest in healthy snacks, or how to BBQ that steak with the new rub … The cloud knows everything.
Look for experimental projects that use this newfound chip to drive new experiences in retail.
3. BYOS – bring your own screen
Again with the smartphone, I know. But in the world we live in we must connect the brand with the smartphone consumer. Interactions can be driven with larger screens by creating deep experiences, even product specific experiences that are tailored exactly to the consumer and brand. In a world where everyone has a smartphone and they bring it with them everywhere, one must take advantage of this as a brand and retailer. In DOOH there are deployments using the connection between the brand and the smartphone in several ways. It's not just one technology to drive this connection, but many.
Look for more inventive ways that brands will use all screens in the marketplace to make the connection to the consumer's smartphone in an attempt to carry on the conversation, even if it means giving something away to get that phone number and the opt in.
4. Go big, go small or go home
This trend is still very strong in the industry; we see not only tablets being used in restaurants at the table, we see them used at the shelf in luxury goods. On the big-screen side, technology and costs are now allowing us to deploy large-screen experiences that drive highly experiential engagements in retail and DOOH. This trend will continue for years to come. Creating large-screen experiences has a profound impact on the viewer in several ways: 1. The mind converts 4K and high-def into a window, rather than a picture, creating a false reality with a memorable impression. 2. With large life-size images the mind immediately goes into a flight or fight mode. This is an instinct that happens in a nanosecond. By understanding these driving factors, one can create large-screen experiences that have a lasting impact that laser-burns the brand into the consumer's mind.
Look for more deployments of small screens (tablets) and big-screen experiences that are out of this world and that connect with the consumer.
5. Content and emotive understanding
Understanding what drives an emotional reaction and understanding when a customer is happy, agitated, angry, etc. are at a basic level the key ingredient to create an experience with great content. The bottom line is that we want to make the customer feel something, and if we can make them feel happy, then guess what? They buy.
Using technology-driven algorithms to see how a consumer reacts emotively will drive new content that will make the customer happy. Yes, we could actually create the happiest place on earth with every piece of content that is created.
Look for more feel good content that has been tested with software facial algorithms and proven to makes us happy.
6. Digitizing America, are we there yet?
The digitization of American business is well underway. How does this affect the digital screen media business?
As the Internet of Everything and back-end systems are becoming aligned with front-end experiences something very cool happens: relevancy, personalization and conversation.
The omnichannel experience in which a story can start and end on any device or screen creates what is known as the "transmedia" experience. Transmedia content is several stories across multiple forms of media in order to deliver unique pieces of the story that together make up the whole -- content created to be displayed in such a way that the continuity and narrative of the whole is only apparent when we experience all of it. Combine the transmedia experience with power to purchase with the back-end digital infrastructure, and wow!
Look for experiences that cross not only the digital world but the physical world to create a total transmedia experience that crosses the path to purchase in personal and time-interrupted chunks that bring us to the brand and the product to buy.
7. Bigger data, smaller chunks, big picture
Data collection on every move we make is more apparent than ever before. It's been creeping up on us over the last few years. For anyone that has used Google maps, you can go to https://maps.google.com/locationhistory on your smartphone and see where you have been.
Ok, did you look? A little scary … get over it. In combination with what I buy online, where I go and which stores I shop at, and what I buy at those stores, the big picture of me gets clearer and clearer every day to the brands that want to reach me. Yes, I am plugged in, tracked down and exposed to the brands I love (and don't care about). And I'm OK with it. It makes my life easier to go somewhere where I have been before, to buy my favorite jeans or make reservations at my favorite restaurant. The "Big Picture of Me" is what the brands know I do. This translates to better, more personalized experiences for me.
Look for innovative ways that will take the collection of big data and make it useful for the retail, hospitality and travel industries to capture attention and pamper you to purchase through every screen you touch.
8. New business models
As retail changes up its business model and new cool technology arrives on the scene, this changes the very screen media business that we are in. This creates new business models that are taking advantage of the vast changes in technology upon the world. Anything from how we connect, shop and drive, to robots that will help us. We need to nimble, innovative and aware to survive. It truly is a rush to 2020.
Look for new business models that will make the experience transparent and frictionless along the path to purchase.
9. DOOH growth
Yes, it's been a decade in the making, but agencies are on board more than ever. Programmatic buying of media is also a significant factor. This really gets to the core of getting the brand message out to the consumer in multiple channels, and it is changing the world for this industry. We say it's about time. Why is it changing? Standards, commitments from major agencies, the work the industry has done and proof that it is working. There is no better time to own an advertising network than now. We will also see consolidation as this trend ramps up this year.
Look for tremendous growth in this DOOH sector that will take it to new heights along with consolidation.
10. We Leave this trend open and up to you. Send your insights and what you think this trend is to , tweet at us with the hashtag #Top10Trend, or leave a prediction in the comments section below. Get your thoughts in today and look for a post on the No. 10 trend, based on your input, in February.
Wednesday, 14 May 2014
Part 1 of 4
According to the Forrester Group, ecommerce accounted for eight percent of total retail sales in the U.S. during 2012. By 2017, it is expected to account for a full ten percent of all retail sales. This still leaves 90% of retail sales generated in the retailer’s store.
But shoppers today are more demanding and frustrated than ever with their in-store shopping experience. This dissatisfaction comes from increased competition, including on-line sales, that drives the need for higher service levels and greater differentiation. A recent study found that 80% of the retail CEO’s surveyed believe they now deliver a GREAT customer experience. Unfortunately, only 8% of their customers AGREE.
To attract and converse with today’s ‘Digital Everywhere’ shopper, the store must meet the consumer on their own turf by providing a true “Digital Destination.” Digital Destinations are captivating, fun, bold engagements within the retail environment. They also carry on beyond the four walls of the store by enhancing the Omni-channel experience. They create an entertaining experience where the shopper is motivated to come back to the store to engage again and again.
Digital Destinations are an elusive blend of psychological, emotional and social ingredients that engage the shopper’s persona, augment the store’s physical environment and enhance the brand’s image. And the heart of any effective Digital Destination is ”Gamification.”
Gamification is the study of how games can be designed and used to engage shoppers and create a more stimulating, fun and recurring shopping experience. It relies on an in-depth understanding of human psychology to be able to inspire and motivate shopping behavior. It is a formulated combination of one or more psychological driver, personalization and selfie-sharing.
An effective Gaming Digital Destination must motivate shoppers to take time out of their time-starved lives and connect with the brand; then continue that connection on their pocket screen or online at home. But each retail vertical holds its own unique challenges so there isn’t a one-size-fits-all.
In the next four weeks, I will write about the framework for developing effective in-store Gaming Digital Destinations including a major brand case study. I will explain how brands and retailers can meet the digital shopper on their own turf by creating in-store Digital Destinations that are bold, engaging and unique. I describe the process required to connect emotionally with the shopper and keep an ongoing conversation once they leave the store. It is a Win-Win for the retailer, brand and shopper.
The math is simple; to maintain equivalency, a 10% growth in eCommerce only requires a 1% lift in store sales.
Tuesday, 15 April 2014
Changing content based on what time of day it is and what day of the week it is can critically affect the impact of digital signage content on customers and associates. The same loop that is effective for the demographics of morning customers or midweek customers will not necessarily appeal to customers who frequent the business at other times. In addition, the employees of the business can easily become annoyed or bored with an overly repetitious loop of content. The danger is that associates may communicate that feeling—even unconsciously—to customers, negating some of the value of the screens. Or they may simply tune it out altogether, eliminating the screens’ usefulness as training or employee information tools.
A simple approach is to change the loop of content three times a day: morning, midday, and afternoon. This will keep associates happy and also creates programming that is diverse to the customer. It’s also important to think about changing the order of the content within each playlist as it is repeated. The content can still be delivered in an overall pattern that is effective for the marketer in reaching different customers, but that doesn’t appear to be overly patterned to either customers or associates. A more sophisticated approach is to add and delete pieces of content throughout the day and week to keep playlists fresh. Like a radio station playing popular music, hit songs are repeated often, but not at the same time every hour, and new songs are brought into the mix as others are taken out to create variety and interest and keep people listening. The same idea applies here; continuous small changes to the overall content, plus shuffling its order, will prevent customers and associates from tuning out.
Although this may sound like a lot of work, the process can be automated through the use of cloning tools for playlists that are built into some software. These tools take one playlist, create a clone, and then change the order of the content according to certain rules. In effect, one now has two interchangeable playlists. This can be done several times depending on the length of the playlist and the length of the day segment for which that particular content is intended.
Software can also greatly help in delivering relevant content at the right time, right place, and right target. One can profile day parts with the demographic information, and that profile can be applied to each screen. Then, if one applies that same profile to a piece of content, that content can automatically match up to that screen. As networks become larger, automation is a must have to apply maximum relevant content to the right audience at the right time.
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.
Tuesday, 17 December 2013
My title of these trends has changed this year to reflect the industry morphing into something new, something connected to the digital consumer….for all screens are part of the continuity of marketing messages including the increasingly powerful pocket screen.
As I reflect on last year’s predictions, it struck me how this industry is shaping up and what forces are driving new innovation and how each and every one of us in the industry is one of the forces that count no matter if it is one big screen or 500 small screens all connected to the mobile digital consumer. I believe that 2013 marked a few changes in the industry; some that were subtle but important and others more obvious and game changing.
And now…on to 2014.
1. 2014 is the year of BIG and small!
This coming year promises that you will need to go big or…go small. With the trends that I see in the marketplace, it’s no longer (within the retail, hospitality and dining environments) ok to put a screen on the wall and expect the consumer to pay attention. There is now a higher saturation of screens in the market place. The shopper is no longer wowed by the HD screen on the wall. In the 5th Screen’s Good, Bad and Ugly Content Worldwide Survey, 40% of the participants saw digital signage in the retail environment.
The industry is headed toward creating BIG screen participation marketing experiences using huge video walls and large 65-80 inch screens with touch, gestural, virtual aisles, and augmented reality to engage the consumer in experiences that get the shopper off their pocket screen and onto the brand screen, engage them and then link to their small pocket screen to continue the conversation between brand and the shopper.
For the small screen, think tablets and mobile. Both iPad and Intel based tablets are permeating the market place. The recent announcement of Applebee’s deployment of Intel based tablets at each table is leading the way. We now see them at Subway on the counter next to the register, in the hands of associates, at the shelf next to products, in new concept stores. These small screens will be interactive with a personal one on one purposed experience and with the goal to continue the conversation on the smallest screen; the pocket screen. And to help this #1 trend, tablets are getting more powerful and less expensive by the day. The key to their success will be how these screens engage the shopper. These deployments will, I believe will be the most significant growth area in the marketplace. Remember that saying great things come in small packages.
The combination of BIG and small screens in the new retail environment is the key to brick and mortar brand survival in the digital world.
2. Participation Marketing and Gamification
In today’s attention grabbing environment the consumer is inundated with over 1,200 messages per day on average according to recent studies. But, it is no longer the consumer watching, it’s about what they do. And they DO media, not watch media in the marketplace.
Today if a screen does not deliver an engagement and story in a PoW network (Point of Wait, where the consumer has dwell time) or PoS Network (Point of Sale, where the consumer is shopping) environment it’s a waste of resource and the consumer will simply not care.
The engagement process might be touch, gestural, augmented reality or simply text to this number from their pocket screen. The key is to give the engaged the consumer the chance to win something, anything or just offer to give them something and they will give you (the brand), personal information in return and connect with you the brand on their pocket screen for the ongoing conversation. The Gamification of retail is underway and using participation marketing techniques in 2014 is going viral and it will give the brand and retailers a high ROI and ROE (return on engagement).
The anti has just gone up and the consumer demands something to DO not something to watch.
3. Great Content
Today’s consumer demands high quality experiences and the only element that we have to deliver on that promise is to create great content. Content is one of the most challenging daunting tasks that has plagued the industry, but this year is the year that agencies are stepping up to the challenge. We have reached a point that the knowledge base has finally sunk in…TV ads do not work on digital signage. Yes I know, those of is in the industry have been saying that since day one. But now over a decade and half later agencies are on board with this. And purpose built media for digital signage is now the new standard. In my recent 2013 worldwide survey on content 55% of the survey participants said that the content was mediocre and 8% considered the content bad. In contrast 35% considered the content good and only 2% considered the digital media to be great.
So why do I think Great Content is on the horizon? Now we know. Now we know that every piece of brand media that the consumer comes in contact with has to be great or risk the perception; Bad Content=Bad Brand, Great Content=Great Brand. Combine this with the fact that brands are making larger investments in their digital assets or they die. Brands understand that the past decade of feverish developments in intersecting digital technology requires them to create great content in the digital world. As brands become digitally bonded with consumers, the only perception is how great that content is and this will directly affect the consumer’s attitude toward the brand at every digital touch point.
Look for great content on all screens, because the brand’s survival depends upon the digital bond.
4. Connecting The Dots
This has been on my list for the last 3 years and this year moves up to #4 position. The pressure for all screens to work together seamlessly is even stronger in 2014. Call it omni-channel, transmedia experience, mobile connection, or whatever. The bottom line is that a consumer is looking for an experience that is seamless. From their point of view, that means what I see on TV, on my tablet, on my smart phone and in-store creates a seamless experience on that path to purchase. The industry gets it, the agencies get it, even IT gets it, and marketing definitely gets it. But it does take the fundamental architectural changes in the backend. And that process began for most retailers in the last 2 years and it is still in it’s infancy. Through the omni-channel implementation in the retail sector, the seamless experience will become more of a reality this year. This is the time when the consumer touches the cloud and the consumer does not care which screen they are interacting with as long as it is entertaining, helpful, or useful. Look what Apple just did…iBeacon (although not new just NFC the apple way)… but it does that tell us the experience is changing in retail and it simply does not matter which screen. Digital signage will be a connected cloud experience or it will be ignored.
Look for more seamless experiences across all screens where digital signage is a part of the cloud ecosystem.
5. Data and Experiences
Big Data is something that was a buzz in late 2012 and in early 2013…but what happens when small data drives the real time experience? We have seen this in simple terms when weather data drives products offered like hot chocolate when it’s snowing or an umbrella sale when it’s raining. But the world of data is changing and becoming part of the very fabric that we live in. AutoZone utilizes big data to tap into a variety of databases, such as the types of cars driven by people living around their retail outlets. This has given Auto Zone a competitive advantage because they can offer inventory to their customers with what they want, where they want it. Image when this gets integrated into their digital screen strategy.
Small data will begin to drive our interactive screen experiences in new (unnoticed by the consumer), but extremely useful natural ways.
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.
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)
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.
Tuesday, 27 August 2013
3 Question Survey on Digital Signage Content
GOOD? BAD? or UGLY?
Tuesday, 30 July 2013
A point of sale (POS) network is what you might expect: digital signage that consumers encounter close to a product or service for sale. These screens are usually comprised of in-store or retail digital signs. These are not ad-based networks but merchandising networks.
It’s all about the shopper and “How can I help you buy something today?” Sometimes, they include screens placed on the end of an aisle, or end cap, near the deli in a grocery store. When in front of a point of sale (POS) network, the consumer has become a shopper. The mindset of a person who has deliberately entered a store is much more attuned to cues and opportunities related to their needs and the wares on sale at the particular store. They are now reachable with more direct offers about products – and particularly offers that now take into account their gender, age and income, for example. These viewers are shoppers.
The power of this type of network is that the call to action is immediate; the screens are placed where consumers make their buying decisions. The content is attention grabbing, relevant to product and brand, while the consumer is focused on buying.
While retailers and brands have sometimes different goals, one huge trend that is in common is creating a digital experience -- or digital destination -- that is engaging, interactive, personal and connects bricks and mortar with the new digital consumer while in-store. Putting all these together creates real relevance for the content of a POS network because it can create an emotional response that drives desired behavior.
Tuesday, 23 July 2013
The Point of Wait (POW) digital signage network—one targeted to consumers waiting for a product or service. Usually we encounter these in retail lines and healthcare and hospitality locations, as well as internal corporate communications.
The consumers watching these screens are dwell time viewers. One typical POW network is found in retail banking, where consumers are entertained in a queue while also being exposed to advertising and general feel-good content. Good content, usually lengthier, results in a happy customer for the teller. It is all about perceived wait time.
Digital screens installed inside elevators present a quick news bite, an ad, and perhaps a weather forecast during the short trip from one floor to the next and enable advertisers to reach viewers during this dwell time. The largest POW networks today are in health care, doctor offices of all types include vets, hospitals, ophthalmologist etc.
Monday, 15 July 2013
A point of transit (POT) network is one in which the viewer is in transit past the sign and is not expected to linger. These networks are tailored for “on the go” viewers. These can be signs along the side of a highway, where they are visible to large numbers of diverse viewers passing at fairly high speed, or they can be in airports, train or bus stations, or other locations where people are passing more slowly.
Content on a POT network is most like a traditional billboard in that it needs to quickly create a thought-provoking impression and is usually more focused on a brand rather than a particular offer. Its value over traditional paper is twofold. One is motion; with the exception of a handful of mechanical billboard arrangements, a digital sign is the only way to produce movement that will attract an otherwise inattentive eye.
The other is that a digital sign’s message can be changed at frequent intervals or to match the time of day or other external conditions. A digital sign along a highway might highlight a coffee brand during the morning commute, and the evening commute message might relate to a chicken dinner. POT networks break down into a several subcategories: digital billboards, signage inside transit hubs and exterior-facing retail signage.
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.
Tuesday, 26 March 2013
Is socializing the corporate environment killing the digital signage screen for corporate communication networks?
The purpose of internal communication digital signage networks are to help connect the disconnected employee and to help communication between HR and employees, management and labor, to help get everyone on the same page and backroom training. They are also used of course in the lobby with a differently targeted message.
This is a case where digital signage may have seen its day, and the pocket screen may be the killer.
We are now seeing a new wave of corporate communications where employees within a specific corporate group are using Facebook-/Twitter-type applications within the corporate environment.
It works like this. If I am in sales then I can share what I am doing with the rest of the group and what wins, meetings, prospects I am pursuing ... real-time ... and in turn anyone that is part of my group can comment, like, etc. my posting. This goes a long way in to making employees feel part of a team. In addition, I can also collaborate with my team on documents live in the cloud.
So now each individual is updated real-time on their smartphone or desktop with key messages from key players and have their own group that is focused on their mission.
One can post pictures, video and of course text and audio.
In addition some companies are requiring that you follow a few key players such as Human Resources, the CEO and Corporate Communications. This happens in a live, real-time environment.
It's personal, engaging and connected.
Now some rules need to apply, and some companies have put in best practices and rules around postings to remind everyone that this is a corporate social mission network not Facebook.
If you were born after 1980, you are digital; you think in a digital world — and that thinking is different than someone who grew up in an analog world. I for one am a digital wannabe ... but I often have wondered what happens when the digital generation who are texting, creating instant opportunities, instant social meetings and getting instant gratification reaches the analog business world?
Well there you have it ... Yammer, which is just one of the corporate-mission social software applications that bring teams together quickly and in real time, is used by 5 million people and more than 200,000 companies worldwide, including 85 percent of the Fortune 500. A company's network is stored in the cloud, they have instant access to all of their coworkers, conversations, shared files and notifications ... not by email but in real time.
So how does that kill the video screen? Well I leave that up to your imagination, but it just got a whole lot easier for me to share my messages to my colleagues (and not get bogged down in email) within a micro business mission network and not have to create a playlist of content to get there.
Keith Kelsen is the author of "Unleashing the Power of Digital Signage — Content Strategies for the 5th Screen." More information about the 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.
Monday, 19 September 2011
When DSA decided to create the Crown Awards
, I thought to myself, "How is this different from any other content awards competition? And who determines who gets to be king?"
Building a competition on integrity is the first building block. So who are the judges? DSA has rounded up the greatest minds around content creation that one could find in the industry. The best of the best. People who know and understand the nuances of great content. They have been there done that. These are not only experts in the DOOH industry but also experts in content creation. These two combinations are rare in a new medium.
The judges include Michael Chase of St. Joseph Content, Paul Flanigan of Rise Vision, Pat Hellberg of The Preset Group, Keith Kelsen author of Unleashing the Power of Digital Signage, and Anne White of PRN.
The second thought that comes to mind is how does one separate the objective point of view, from the subjective point of view?
DSA set out to create a judging process that is significantly objective with some subjective in a weighted format that truly determines who is king. Here is the way it is laid out for the competition:
1. Did the content meet the objectives? (50%)
2. Was the content engaging? (30%)
3. Did the content fit the environment? (10%)
4. Did the content fit the audience? (10%)
Let's look at these one by one.
Did the content meet the objectives? The objectives are what the client put forth to accomplish its goals and purpose. Did the content meet the goals of the project? DSA weighted this as an objective point of view with 50 points out of 100.
Was the content engaging? This is a combination of objective and subjective points of view relying upon the expert's reaction to the piece and potentially measured results providing the objective side of the equation. This is worth 30 points of the total 100 points.
Did the content fit the environment? This is objective in that the criteria for judging is based on the relevance of the content to the venue. This is worth 10 points of the total 100 points
Did the content fit the audience? Again, this is objective in that the criteria for judging is based on the relevance of the content to the audience. Does it fit the demographic based on purpose and objectives and goals? This is worth 10 points of the total 100 points.
The third question is how does one categorize content based on the many types of networks in the marketplace?
DSA took three categories that have sub-categories underneath them. This was done based on what attributes content has relative to the type of viewer and the mindset they are in. This brings similar content competing with similar content in the competition.
A Point of Sale (POS) network is what you might expect: digital signage that consumers encounter close to a product or service for sale. These screens are usually comprised of in-store or retail digital signs. Sometimes, they include screens placed on the end of an aisle, or end cap, near the deli in a grocery store. These viewers are considered shoppers or patrons. The power of this type of network is that the call to action is immediate; the screens are placed where consumers make their buying decisions. The content is attention grabbing, relevant to product and brand, while the consumer is focused on buying.
• Bars (music sales)
• Quick-service restaurant (QSR) menu boards
• Restaurant promotional boards
Digital billboards, along with screens associated with transit hubs and store windows comprise the second type of installation, Point of Transit (POT) networks. These are arguably the "live poster" of the industry. They work by grabbing the attention of passing consumers for a brief period of time. The consumers here are "on the go" viewers. These screens are mostly focused on establishing brand identity or value, and parcel out visually attractive or active content in short bursts. Many consumers are already familiar with these types of POT networks. Even an exterior screen on a taxi which functions as a moving billboard is considered a POT.
• Bus stations
• Digital billboards
• Subway stations
• Train stations
The third type is known as the Point of Wait (POW) network – one targeted to consumers waiting for a product or service. Usually we encounter these in retail lines, healthcare, and hospitality locations, as well as corporate lobbies. The consumers watching these screens are "dwell time" viewers. A typical POW network is found in retail banking, where consumers are entertained in queue while also exposed to advertising and general feel-good content. Good content, usually lengthier, results in a happy customer for the teller. It is all about perceived wait time. The digital screens installed inside elevators that present a quick news bite, an ad, and perhaps a weather forecast during the short trip from one floor to the next that enable the advertisers to reach the viewer during this dwell time.
In the work place corporate communications screens are putting everyone on the same page. Simply put, one cannot avoid the messages in a corporate environment. Some of these networks are interactive, such as screens facing passengers riding inside taxis. In those cases, the viewer has more "dwell time" and can take in a longer message or series of messages. The common thread is that consumers viewing a POW network screen are both receptive and have sufficient time exposure to allow for longer messages and several repetitions.
• Casual dining (waiting for a table)
• Enterprise operations
• In subways, trains, buses
• In taxis
• Internal Communications
• Office buildings
• Quick-service restaurant (QSR) dining area
• Waiting in line (retail, banking, etc.)
So the last question remains…Who is going to be King of Content for 2011?
To submit your piece of content, click here
. The deadline is October 3, 2011.
Monday, 28 February 2011
One of most appropriate interaction methods for most digital signage networks is touch technology. Most of us have seen this technology deployed in both public places (for example, ATMs) and private devices (for instance, smart phones like the Apple iPhone or Palm Pre). The technology is proven, costs are constantly declining, and most importantly, users are generally familiar with and comfortable using it.
Once digital signage becomes interactive, several things occur. The content is different, the reaction is different, and the data collected is different.
First, let’s consider how the content changes. Remember digital signage is a new medium, and it is different from the PC. It is encountered in different places and circumstances than the PC and Web sites, and its purpose is different. This means you must resist the impulse to take your Web site and simply transfer it to the digital signage network to create an interactive experience. The result would be a larger, public version of a Web site — and not at all an effective experience in this context. (It is also unlikely that the digital signage network would have access to or allow full Internet access and browsing ability.) Therefore, micro sites would be developed specifically for digital signage implementation.
First, understand that content for touch screens must be designed to both engage the viewer, and to lead the exploration of the interaction. That is, you are not simply throwing open the doors to the user; you are attempting to direct them and elicit inputs and choices that will drive them toward the goal you’ve set for the network — finding and choosing merchandise, exploring a brand, or the like.
There are three key considerations that go into creating great interactions:
- Create the right attraction. First and foremost one needs to get the viewer to participate because the viewer may not expect to have the ability to interact with the content, as she does with a PC; the first job is to let her know she has that ability here. Creating an attraction loop, message or some piece of upfront content that will motivate the viewer to engage is the first step. This loop needs to be more in line with a typical content found on digital signage following the advice in the previous chapters of this book. The one exception is the attraction loop is just that: designed to attract the viewer to touch the screen.
- Present one thing at a time. Once you have gotten their interest, keep them engaged and moving through a logical progression. Lead the participant in a guided manner through each step of the interaction you want to encourage. Provide focused layers of information that make it easy to comprehend what is being presented, and direct them to the layer of information that follows. A major difference between digital signage and a PC or smart phone is the amount of time that one will spend with each. Because the time is more limited with digital signage, you need to provide a clear, logical path for the viewer to follow. Offering too much information that is not directed will not motivate the user to continue with the interaction, because they will perceive it too time-consuming and unlikely to provide them with enough value for the time invested.
- Offer choices. Interaction must be more than simple “next page” buttons in order to engage the viewer and direct toward a goal, such as a purchase. The value of interactivity comes when the user is presented choices, allowed to personalize the information presented, and perceive they are seeing something “special” for them.
Digital signage is powerful, and good content makes it that way. But the next level of effectiveness comes when one truly engages the user through enabling them to interact with the network. Touch screen technology today provides an excellent and proven method to let users decide the “path” they take through your content and personalize the experience. New technologies such as gesture interfaces extend that to another level, and combine interaction with group entertainment. Finally, a linkage with the user’s personal screen on a mobile device extends the interactive component of the network in a way that can stimulate longer interactions, interaction away from the digital signage itself, or motivate a purchase. In all of these cases, the content you create must account for the interactive factor and be purpose-designed for this type of network. Much more than porting a Web site to the digital signage network, this requires thinking in new ways – and like a user.
Thursday, 13 January 2011
As another year in the digital signage/digital out-of-home industry rolls by, I'm again this year revisiting the biggest trends of 2010 while looking forward to 2011.
The industry is growing up and is now part of the mainstream. I contend that we reached the tipping point in 2010, and here is why: As defined by Malcolm Gladwell, the tipping point is "the levels at which the momentum for change becomes unstoppable." Are we unstoppable now? I say yes. Signs of ad spend, consolidation, standards, mature business models and the increasing digital landscape in our world have driven the tipping point. Five media screens are now in play and DOOH/digital signage is more of an integral part of the campaign to reach consumers. In a 2010 Arbitron study more consumers see DOOH in a month than have ever texted a message or have a Facebook profile or have seen an online video. This is 71 million viewers per month. The lower cost of technology and big names in the industry, including HP and Intel, are now in full force, which has tipped the industry into the mainstream.
You can see my picks for 2010 trends to see how I did at prognostication; check out Part I of this year's trend picks; and at the bottom of today's piece you can vote on the one you think will be the #1 trend in 2011.
Here is Part II of the top 10 trends to look for in 2011:
6. Measurement and acceptance
In 2010 measurement has been upgraded with anonymous video analytics (AVA). This of course has been percolating for a few years. In addition, Arbitron and Nielsen both came out with credible studies that catapulted the proof of our industry.
More and more networks have been spending the time and money to get the independent metrics to deliver real numbers to the agencies. OVAB fine-tuned the requirements on how to equate the currency of audience.
With metric standards in place and AVA on the rise, the acceptance of our media will depend upon the measurements and results of the networks. And with those results in hand agencies can trust that the audience is delivered every time.
The trend? Measurement metrics will be part of everyday ad and retail network ROI business.
7. Progress in content standards
As predicted in 2010 we made progress here, but was it the right progress?
H.264 adopted by DPAA just recently is a great stride, but what happened to Flash? Standards will reflect the true state of the industry. Most of the software that has grown up over the last 10 years has struggled with Flash simply because the current playback application does not support it. Now most recent software players in the last five years for the most part include Flash. But most of the larger networks are built on software that is more than five years old and does not support Flash. This needs to be fixed, and Flash needs to be part of the playback media. Even with a stake in the ground (H.264 is a good stake), it will not work without incorporating Flash.
The other problem that shows itself when incorporating Flash is that on some of the established networks, the power of the PC running in the field just does not cut it. Flash tends to suck up the CPU's power, and even three-year-old systems have difficulty running this media. The standard layering of Flash elements can be limited to address CPU power issues.
I predict the standard battle is not over and Flash will still be incorporated in official and unofficial standards.
8. Large-scale 2011 projects will march forward
The RFPs in 2010 that were not fulfilled will be given a second life as the economy improves in 2011. During any economic downturn, innovation and new businesses are created. Even though in the past we had a number of failures, the number of successes outnumbers them. In any industry that is coming of age, failures happen less and less often as the experience and solidified business models prevail.
Growth of networks in 2011 will dwarf the expansion that happened in the last four years. Look for multiple new networks being built in 2011.
9. Managed services
Cost savings for network operations, the complexity of managing and creating content, AVA and metrics will drive a new category of services. These bundled services will save individual smaller networks money.
Why have network operations, content creation, measurement and analytics within a small business ad or retail network company, when the math shows outsourcing these services is cost-effective?
Managed services for scheduling, managed up-time, content creation and AVA will be a new trend for 2011 because of simple economics.
10. Retail digital world
This trend is similar to trend #1. Retailers are changing their models to be more inclusive of different paths to purchase. It used to be easy to put an ad on TV or in the newspaper and, voilà, sales went up.
The path to purchase is now so complicated, and the technology is so incongruent, that retailers are looking for complete solutions that will help them wrap their arms around the digital world.
Digital signage in retail is about "How can I help you buy something today?" So these digital signs will be focused on that alone in retail and not on ad networks in retail. Those old business models will not apply in the future. Brands have been deploying screens at the shelf for years. The brands understand the model. Now the retailers are taking control of their space.
Look for retailers to implement inclusive, integrated digital signage solutions that include social, desktop, in-store and interactive that will help you buy something today.
Whether it starts online or in-store with digital signage, mobile will be part of it all.
|| Blog: Keith Kelsen
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