Kelly Eisel
Marketing Copywriter
Industry Weapon

Monday, 09 February 2015

Breaking news, social media feeds, emergency alerts- all of these sources provide a huge contribution to viewership rates. Audiences want visually appealing, stimulating, and relevant content from your signage.

Content can easily become boring and repetitive if it’s not integrated correctly.  Even the most dedicated content and communications team is going to have issues updating their digital signage regularly. Thankfully, the latest integration advancements make refreshing content much easier. Instead of creating new visuals based on your updated blog or spreadsheet, you can rely on digital signage software tools to do it for you.

Content engagement works best when audiences are exposed to a live, simple scroll of information. Feeds, like RSS, communicate bits of easy-to-digest content. This allows visitors to read multiple topics in a short period of time. Data feed integrations work in the same way; displaying bits of information perfect for on-the-go audiences.

Top 5 Ways Digital Signage Users are Integrating Live Feeds:

1. Internal News - Companies with a preexisting internal newsfeed enjoy the ease of communication that comes with live feed integrations. Users are able to transmit stories like “Employee Spotlight” and “Executive Messaging” in real time to their digital signage.

2. Menu Items - Keeping up with the daily, weekly, and monthly changes of a cafeteria menu is almost a full time job, itself. After integrating your digital signage software with live menu feeds, you’ll never have to worry about updating slides again!

3. Event Calendar - Creating a digital signage campaign for every event on the calendar is a task of the past.  Once the “Company Picnic” or “Internal Audit” begins, it’s entered into the calendar which transmits to the screens.

4. Sales Communication - Customer Relationship Management (CRM) data can change on a dime. By implementing a live feed, companies are constantly in the know as their digital signage displays up-to-date information like performance metrics and goals.

5. Spreadsheets and Presentations - Spreadsheets, like Excel documents and PowerPoint files, are the most basic data sources. If communicating data internally is beneficial, companies can have the integrations project the live data to their digital signage.


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Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Incorporate video content into your digital design to attract all audiences

This is the seventh installment of our monthly digital signage content design blog, written by our Content Creation Team, geared to help users create visually compelling content.

Moving pictures have captivated audiences for over a century. Animation and video bring a special level of entertainment that appeases all audience personas. Why? Watching a video requires minimal effort, and the information is easily absorbed and retained.

Video communications are a whopping 600% more effective than print and direct mail. Viewers are accustomed to watching video through multiple mediums a day: TV, computer, smart phone, mobile devices, etc. In fact, 60% of media viewers will watch a video before reading any text.

According to ReelSEO‘s article, “2013 Video Marketing Survey & Business Video Trends Report,” 93% of marketers are using video in their campaigns, while 82% of them claim video has a positive impact on their business. Luckily, advancements in technology have made it easy to bring this magical tool to your digital screens.

Video Relevance

The luxury of video on digital signage is similar to hosting your own television channel, the content options are endless. If you’re playing video to attract attention to your screens, make sure your content is relevant and appropriate. A veterinarian’s’ office isn’t likely to play celebrity gossip clips in the waiting room, instead they might opt for a video about proper ways to groom your pet.

The types of video used on digital signage should depend on sign location, audience, and communication purposes. The lobby of a large business might opt to play a ‘welcome video,’ while dentist offices or hair salons may play news clips. Internal, employee facing signage minimize training time by playing safety videos or training presentations. While trendy retail stores might play customer created content or video promoting their upcoming specials.

Video Length

Shorter videos have a positive impact on viewers. Videos under 1 minute tend to have an 80% viewer retention up to the 30-second mark , while videos running at 2-3 minutes drop to a 60% retention rate. 4 So, stick to shorter videos to engage and create a positive impact on your viewers.

If you are creating the video inhouse, be sure to display the most important information first. Especially in high traffic areas where viewers might only be able to catch the first clip of the video. Think of the beginning moments of the video as the prime time to communicate your message.

Video is one of the most effective ways to communicate complex information in a short time frame to all audiences.  The motion graphics attract viewer attention, while the video content creates extended engagement. Incorporate video into your next campaign by downloading our free content package .

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Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Colors increase brand recognition by 80%, try implementing some color in your digital signage content

This is another installment of our bi-monthly digital signage content design blog, written by our Content Creation Team, geared to help users create visually compelling content.

Few people choose to watch a black and white movie if there is a color alternative, just as no one gets excited about plain, black on white text. The same rule applies to digital signage content. Color is key to audience attraction. In fact, it’s one of the main factors that connect viewers to a message.

Did you know that almost 85% of consumers said color was the primary reason that they purchase a particular product? 1 Or that 93% of consumers look at the products overall visual appearance when they’re buying? 2 Color improves comprehension, learning and readability. And it gets better, color increases brand recognition by 80%. 3  Branding connoisseur, William Arruda, wrote in a Forbes article: “Color is powerful because it exudes brand attributes and makes you memorable. Are you using color appropriately to stand out?”  (Follow him on Twitter.)

But before you get a little too color-friendly with your slides, consider your design aesthetics. Certain messages call for certain hues, while others should be based on your brand’s criteria. Let’s discuss a few color theories to consider when choosing which part of the rainbow is appropriate for your digital signage content.

Color Can Improve: Comprehension, Learning and Reading

The Color Wizards at WebFX put together a great infographic on the Psychology of Color.

Color Strikes Our Emotional Chords

This probably isn’t the first place you’ve heard this: color plays a huge part on our psychological state.  If you do a little digging, you’ll find that brand colors of everything in branding are strategically chosen, down to the color of the tables inside your favorite fast food chain.

Colors hit close to the heart.  Whether we’re aware of it or not, they remind us of our first emotional experiences. Some, like neon yellow, attract attention. Others, like beige, blend in with the environment and stay neutral. Different colors mean different things in each culture, so for the sake of this blog, we’ll focus on western culture.

Your brand’s colors are very important and should be used in messages that promote your organization. Other messages, however, may need a few extra details. For example, a warm pink background, or a fresh green font can add a subtle depth to your design. Just remember, neutral colors should dominate while brighter/darker colors should be used more sparingly.

Harmonize Color Palettes

Think of how an interior designer would decorate a living room: The wall color might be neutral and light, the couch might be a vibrant color, and the carpet might have a pattern. Hardly ever are the all three from the same category.

This rule applies to your digital signage content, too. Pick a color for the background, then a contrasting color for the font so that it is readable from a distance. The third color, or picture should complement the first two colors. To avoid clashing, choose colors that stem from the same palette:

Pure Colors: Full fleshed colors that are vibrant, cheerful, and energetic.
Tinted Colors: Colors mixed with white for a lighter tone.
Shades of Colors: Colors mixed with black for a mysterious or dark effect.

Pure colors are often used in fast food menus and cartoons, while tints are used in heavenly paintings or bridal bouquets. A digital signage campaign in a spa might strictly use tints for all messages, while a K-12 deployment might use a lot of pure colors. If your message is about a darker topic, like identity theft, you might opt for a palette of shades.
Switch it Up Your Digital Signage Content

They say, variety is the spice of life, this too applies to digital signage. Staying within the same palette category is fine, but don’t use the same colors for all 17 of the slides in your campaign. The same colors time and time again may be perceived as one long, mundane slide to less observant audience members. Jump from a slide with a blue background to a contrasting orange. That’ll be sure to catch the eye of any day-dreaming lobby dweller.

So now we’ve focused on why we need design, what mistakes to avoid, which general practices to follow, and now how to incorporate colors. You’re well on your way to being a design guru. Stay tuned for more design advice, and as always, click below to download October’s free digital signage content!  Keep those signs fresh and your organizational communications strong!

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Wednesday, 08 October 2014

This is the second installment of a bi-monthly blog piece, written by our Content Creation Team, geared to help users create visually compelling content.

Believe me, creating well designed content takes practice. Most content creators learn the basics of how to use their digital media software, and stop their education there. I’m here to tell you that there is always room for improvement.

In the first blog of this series, Why Design Matters, I explained how design has a huge impact on attracting and retaining audiences. In this blog, let’s focus on what not to do when creating a design. Don’t worry, these mistakes are easy to remedy! Make these simple changes and not only will you see an increase in audience engagement but also notice your signage has become the go-to for organization communications. Here are the five most common mistakes customers seem to make when creating content for their digital signage :

1. Multiple Thoughts Per Slide

Too many ideas, so little time! Where is the audience supposed to focus? Remember, slides play on a time limit, so the audience only has time to digest one idea. With too many messages being displayed at once, the audience is sure to get confused and annoyed. Instead of cramming multiple event details onto one slide, limit messages to one idea: “Picture Day: Friday 13, 2015. Auditorium from 10AM-3PM”

2. Text Overload

A paragraph in size 10 font will do nothing for your communication. Your viewers have been reading emails all day, the last thing they want to read is an essay on the company picnic. Too much text is a sure-fire way to get people to ignore your message. Instead of listing tons of safety tips, keep messages narrowed down to one sentence: “Be sure to wear protective eyewear before using any machinery.” You can break up longer thoughts into multiple slides, just be aware that your viewers may not have a chance to see every slide in your series.

3. Hierarchy

If the visual order of the content doesn’t make any sense, your message will be lost. Make sure that the most important part of your message is the first thing your viewers see. The last thing you want is for your message to get lost in the shuffle because you didn’t have room for it next to the funny cat meme.* Make sure your message gets consumed by making it the largest element on the slide, altering it’s color to be different than other text, or even repeating it a few times.

4. Boring

Static, black text on a white background, no pictures, bland language… digital signage shouldn’t look like a boring legal document . So often do we see amazing digital signage deployments in high traffic areas playing dull slides. Clearly, no one pays any attention to this content. Black and white televisions are a thing of the past for a reason, give your material life and color! Use some stock photography to add a visual to your message, or upload photos from your social media sites.

5. Lack of Supporting Elements

Slides with just words or slides with just pictures will do nothing for communication. The best slides incorporate both text and images. Marrying the two will hit the viewers with an emotion and a call to action. For instance: if the message is about eating right, provide a picture of some freshly washed veggies. You’ll capture their attention with the photo, then they’ll be more likely to read the message.

And while it is always easier to assign these responsibilities to someone with a graphic design background, it isn’t always necessary. Instead of getting overwhelmed and resigning from the design position, you can steer clear of the faux pas listed above. Avoiding those will take your signage to a whole new level of design and improve the effectiveness of your signage communication, readying you for our next blog piece: implementing design best practices.

Posted by: Admin AT 09:43 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  
Wednesday, 01 October 2014

Your digital signage is finally ready to go and your content management system is stocked full of content. Unfortunately, your self-celebration is quickly silenced by the lack of audience engagement. In fact, no one seems to notice the signs at all. What gives?

If you're like the vast majority of those who implement digital signage, you're not a designer. If that's the case, you have to acknowledge the harsh reality of the situation — your slides are repelling your audience's attention. Just because your content is being fed through a screen doesn't mean everyone will automatically connect and engage. Think of how you quickly avert your gaze from mediocre-at-best advertisements on the subway, so too do the people in your workplace.

You're probably asking yourself, "What is so wrong with my design?" I'll answer the question for you. Your first mistake is you didn't actually consider a design at all. Sure, you might put the right message and images on your slide, but those assets alone do not create an engaging visual. This brings us to the second question you should ask yourself...

What is design?

Your content is made up of two essential pieces, the message and the design. Both are vital in trying to reach your audience. A typical problem users have is that their messages aren't reaching their audience. A strong design can eliminate this situation. Design is the marriage of form and function. Good content design will give your message a visual package that excites consumers enough to explore.

Almost half, a full 46.1 percent, of people say a company's design is the No. 1 criterion for discerning their credibility. If a company's content looks messy, consumers assume the same of their products and services. Good design not only organizes the mess, but can also add a noticeable finishing touch. When your desk is organized and clean, it's much easier to find your keys rather than when you have to sift through stacks of paper and the remains of yesterday's lunch. Graphic design works the same way: It helps viewers digest the information while putting in minimal effort. Okay, next question.

How does design apply to digital signage?

When you have endless flexibility for content creation like digital signage, design is the science that crafts and harnesses your message. Keep in mind that you're designing content for large screens or kiosks, not a desktop computer. Create for the environment. Don't focus on creating an award-winning design, instead keep the following principles in mind. Use a design that makes your message understandable, a design that is unobtrusive, and a design that is honest.

Visual thinking happens faster than text-based thinking; with digital signage this is a vital detail. The message should already be narrowed down to the essentials: the who, what, where, when or why. The visual elements, too, should be set up in a way that helps viewers easily understand the message. The design should not get in the way of the message; rather it should support the message in a visually appealing manner.

Digital signage is a powerful tool for communication; its ability to attract, engage and retain audience of all types is unparalleled. However, if your content is bland or confusing, the messages will go right over your viewers' heads. By creating content that is aesthetic, concise, refreshed and entertaining, your digital signage will be a hit. Spend a little extra time learning design basics, so your slides will capture the attention of your audience.

Posted by: Admin AT 08:52 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  
Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Painting the Picture of the Patient’s Mindset

Chances are your patients have used a sick-day to be able to make this appointment, instead of lounging by the pool. Chances are your patients’ anxiety levels are through the roof as they anticipate their test results. Chances are the last thing your patients want to hear is ‘Have a seat in the waiting room.’ And just as they’re about to text or check their email, they spot the “No Cell Phones Allowed” sign. So they tuck in and silently curse existence.
To ease the persistent boredom brought on by the waiting room, offices are turning to digital signage solutions. The electronic screen allows the transmission of endless dynamic content. All of the amenities that patients would be using their phone for (clock, weather, news feeds), can be incorporated into your campaigns. Patients will be entertained and informed by the content displayed on your digital signage, lessening their perceived waiting time.

-Digital Signage reduces perceived wait times in medical offices by as much as 50% (Arbitron).

Content that Benefits Every Office:

Don’t rely on mundane flyers to inform your patients of upcoming events. Alerts for Flu Shots, Vaccines, Blood Drives and more can be programmed into your digital signage campaign. Make slides that display office hours during the holiday season, and show support for disease awareness weeks.

Advise Your Patients Before the Exam Even Begins

From there, the content options only just begin. Dynamic content can revolve around one particular healthcare field, or many. Here are some examples of how offices can utilize their digital signage:

  • Obstetrics and gynaecology offices can transmit pregnancy tips and information about recent medical advancements.
  • Psychiatry offices can incorporate inspirational quotes and positive mediations into their campaigns.
  • Pediatric offices can transmit puzzles, games, and fun facts for kids.
  • Dermatologists can share information about common skin disorders and UV awareness tips.
  • Allergists can create campaigns with food allergy myths and facts, and even  Pollen Level Indicators.

3 Ways to Benefit from Digital Signage:

1.) Clean Up the Office: Toss the old, bacteria ridden magazines in the trash, and take down the bursting bulletin board. WIth digital signage, all of the information you need to display is uploaded to a clean, sleek screen.

2.) Lower Bills: Integrations like Industry Weapon’s ‘Control It’ allows users to set signage on a schedule that powers off when no one will be watching. If the office is closed on between noon and 1pm on weekdays and all day on weekends, customize the signage schedules.

3.) Make Money Marketing: Instead of cluttering desks and bulletin boards with pharmaceutical marketing, advertise on your signage. It’s an effective way to receive revenue for the office.

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Wednesday, 10 September 2014

In the retail world, its an age-old dilemma: should managers and employees manage internal work assignments and ignore customers, or tend to customers and neglect the backroom duties. Sure, communication efforts and task management in retail corporations are extremely important to the overall success of the business, but without devoting time and attention to customers, the business is doomed. To remedy this situation, many HR departments have implemented Workforce Management (WFM) systems into their companies.

  •     Retailers rated their current WFM solution at a 6.5 out of 10.
  •     81.8% of retailers are focusing WFM upgrades on managing tasks to better serve customers.
  •     83.3% of Retailers would like to include mobile applications into their next WFM upgrade.(1)

WFM promotes manual process efficiency, effectively gathers and retains data, and builds time for engagement among managers, employees, and customers. WFM encompasses all of the popular areas of management like payroll, scheduling, compliance, fatigue management, absence management, performance management, HR administration, budgeting, talent acquisition, training management, and emergency assistance.

While WFM solutions have the ‘set it and forget it’ mentality, the communication efforts only reach the employees who are able to check a computer throughout the day. Most retail employees are rarely behind the computer, unless it’s for Point of Sale (POS) purposes.
Digital signage is quickly becoming the industry standard in retail. It allows internal signs to display real-time updates on all aspects of WFM. These signs are the fastest way to connect with employees who are not able to check their email for company announcements while on the clock. Signs located in the backroom, or facing out of customer sight, can display all of the information WFM solutions can provide.  Managers can see who is on the floor or who is running late, at a glance. Employees can see hours, access the employee directory, and view their pay statement. Mobile capabilities allow managers to make transaction approvals even when they’re not on site.

Integrations and applications are the easiest way to communicate company data to specific audiences, like store employees or upper management. Automated from existing data sources, integrations create informative, strategic, and esthetic content. ‘Automated’ means once companies have supplied the digital signage software with a data source, the integrations will update each time management does. And the best part is company data is securely locked down and kept safe on the company's own network.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for sales per employees, financial goals, store performance, turnover, customer satisfaction, and labor expense are displayed instantly.Companies that use Salesforce to manage CRM activities can share pipeline reporting, goals hit or missed, team leader boards, and retention reports can integrate as well. Publish meeting room info, events, directories, service desk statistics, safety incident reports, production line status updates and more.
With digital signage integrating with WFM solutions, retail employees can now and devote that attention to the deserving customers, knowing that they will not miss out on any important information from the company. Customers will no longer feel like they are being ignored by associates, or that they are stalking employees when simply asking a question. Turnover rates will decrease as both consumer and retailer reopen communication pathways.

(1)  RIS News Custom Research - customer-centric wfm.

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