A digital signage network within a single organization can serve many purposes.
For example, a corporate office can have several digital signage screens in the break room for internal communication, a video wall in the lobby to welcome guests and provide directions, and smaller screens in meeting rooms showing schedules.
Would all the screens be managed by one person? Who creates the content? Who decides how the content should be displayed? Who is monitoring the screens and pushing for a quick resolution when one goes down?
This would be the organization’s digital signage champion.
In a digital signage project, work does not stop once a digital signage solution has been purchased.
In fact, purchasing is one of the easier tasks in the project.
Someone within the organization needs to champion the implementation and operation of the digital signage network, and be accountable for the success (or failure) of the project.
That same someone also needs to consistently update the digital signage content so that it remains fresh and relevant in order to bring a healthy return on investment.
Even before starting research for a digital signage system, organizations need to answer:
- What are the characteristics of the champion/ambassador?
- How should the champion manage the network?
- What are the long and short term objectives of the digital signage champion?
Characteristics of the Digital Signage Champion
Digital signage is all about making communication easier for the business and engaging for the customer or employee.
Following that, the digital signage ambassador needs to have great communication skills. He or she needs to have a unique understanding of the elements of effective information display, without using the technology as an attention getter.
In the same way that movie makers use special effects to enhance the story, the champion (or ambassador) should use digital signage to enhance the story, and not make it the story.
Understand the Brand
A digital signage screen is a representation of the organization’s brand.
In order to leverage digital signage to reinforce brand identity, the champion needs to understand the brand, and outline the brand standards for the screen content.
Is there consistency between the screens, website, mobile and physical location? Can employees or customers easily identify the brand from a quick glance at the screen?
A brand is an investment. In order to leverage it and increase profitability, the meaning of the brand needs to be communicated internally and externally — the digital files or brand assets that represent it need to be available to the right people at the right time.
Only when a digital signage champion understands this will they be able to leverage the digital signage network to promote brand awareness.
We’ve only covered the content aspect of digital signage, and it seems as though the digital signage ambassador only needs to be concerned about what goes on the screens, right?
Ignoring the technical and operational requirements of this role would be a surefire way to suffer.
The digital signage ambassador will need to work closely with the IT team to manage the technical side of the project. He or she will need to collaborate with the company technicians to make sure that the technology requirements of the network are met and stay updated. (S)he will also be the liaison between the digital signage vendors and the company. This person needs to stay on top of new trends in digital signage and learn the latest tools and tricks.
When organizations decide to implement digital signage, it’s important that they realize how rapidly it evolves. This calls for the digital signage champion to be nimble in their strategy.
Managing a digital signage network often times involves managing or juggling different members of different teams. The digital signage ambassador is one of a few common denominators of the HR, IT, Marketing and Management teams. These teams are fundamentally different and so the ambassador will need to efficiently juggle the different communication needs of each, and ensure the messages reach the right audience.
In a nutshell, a digital signage champion is someone who can:
- Promote digital signage and get the audience more interested in it
- Outline the digital signage content standards
- Track ROI and ROO
- Stay on top of evolving digital signage engagement techniques
- Work with the digital signage vendor to keep staff abreast of the latest tools and tricks
How Should the Digital Signage Champion Manage the Network?
Once the ambassador has been selected, the next step would be to develop an action plan and execute the signage strategy. This involves setting goals, and measuring the success or failure against predetermined benchmarks:
Identify the objectives of the digital signage network: this phase actually needs to be addressed before a solution is even purchased, and then revisited after the purchase has been made. The champion should be very cognizant of the objectives of the network.
Is the network expected to increase employee engagement and build morale? Is the donor wall in the school auditorium expected to motivate additional donations? Is the display at the cash register meant to increase impulse buys? The champion should also have metrics against which to evaluate the performance of the screens. Did donations go up? Are employees more engaged?
Identify the target audience: before crafting any communications material, the digital signage ambassador needs to identify the target audience.
Is it customers, employees, a church congregation, students in K-12 or higher education? The champion also has to understand the needs and interests of the target audience. What kind of information are they looking for? What are their attention spans? Do they have a preference of motion over static content, or vice versa?
Craft a content strategy: audiences interact with and respond to the content on a digital signage screen, and not the technology itself. The digital signage champion should lead the content strategy. Similar to the objectives of the network, the content strategy needs to be addressed before and after a solution is purchased.
Where will the content come from? What content automation options are available? What type of content is being displayed? How often will the content change?
Content IS still King, so the content strategy should be thoroughly prepared.
Prepare for scalability: if the digital signage ambassador is doing his/her job well, there will be a need to scale up the network. The digitization megatrend is affecting how customers and employees consume, and respond to, information. If this information is presented in the right format and through the right medium, it’ll only be a matter of time before more customers/employees ask for more information. The digital signage ambassador should prepare for and anticipate the scalability of the network.
Monitor operational efficiency: managing the digital signage network also involves maintaining the upkeep and effectiveness of the physical equipment. It’s important to ensure that the equipment is always functional and up to date. This requires a strong and communicative relationship between the digital signage ambassador, the IT team and other digital signage stakeholders.
Overall, digital signage champions will need to have a long-term strategic plan that includes a content/media strategy, and technical architecture in order to meet the organization’s objectives.
Now that we’ve determined the digital signage champion is a necessity, how about we show them how to increase digital signage engagement? And while we’re at it, here are 3 lessons digital signage champions can learn from Wonder Woman.