Digital signage is only as effective as the content that’s on it. Screens are simply a medium to share information. What resonates with people and what drives action is the content on that screen. There are literally hundreds of ways to use digital signage design. Your purpose will depend on your industry, your particular buildings, your audience, and your goals.
Digital signage is more critical in some markets than others. For example, the best live places for reaching consumers with digital signage are grocery stores (28% of American residents), shopping malls (27%), medical offices (20%), and large retail stores (20%). Additionally, 51% of end-users place their screens as entirely customer-facing, while 9% have employee-facing digital signage screens. (For more interesting statistics on the power of digital signage, check out our post on 89 Proven Digital Signage Statistics for 2020.)
No matter how you’re using digital signage, it has the power to bring your space to life. The impact of digital signage cannot be overstated. Compelling content can not only improve internal communications and activity, it can catch the attention of consumers, deliver important messaging and direction, display necessary instructions, and promote products.
One question we are asked often is “How can we create professional digital signage content?”
Investing in a digital signage solution is pointless if you don’t have the desire to create polished, interesting, and attention-getting content to display on it. Again, your company’s needs are going to drive what makes sense for designing digital signage. However, the tactics used for most organizations boil down to a few common methods. Here, we’ll go over what you need to know about each method.
A Professional Design Agency
Benefits of a Professional Design Agency
Design houses offer plenty of pizzazz that can be attractive to companies creating a digital signage presence. If you choose to work with a professional agency, you can rest assured you’ll get to collaborate with talented individuals who will be dedicated to your project. Furthermore, you may work directly with an account manager who will handle the daily communications and routing of creative elements.
One nice thing about agencies is that they may behave as an extension of your own team. They are actually on the outside looking in. That means they can offer a fresh set of eyes and encourage your company to view things differently. Maybe your team can learn something new, which is always a positive.
Disadvantages of a Professional Design Agency
Of course, that talent and dedication comes at a steep price. Agencies usually charge significant hourly rates that are covered in a formal scope of work (SOW). An SOW isn’t always desirable, because they typically include barriers to content strategy execution. For example, clients immediately see limits on the types of work to be completed with pricey adjustments for any changes to that scope.
Agencies also tend to have strict, uniform service delivery policies and have to adhere to internal policies which may limit the creative process. Furthermore, designers within agencies tend to feel territorial over their work. Which could mean they are not likely to welcome feedback from your own creative team. This can limit the innovation and creativity that takes place.
Agencies aren’t known for their flexibility. If digital signage is something that you want to change often or on short notice, working with an agency is likely to limit how often you can do so. Remember that even the most dedicated agency staff may have other clients to look after. Plus the obligations of their own firm (such as mandatory internal meetings to work around). If you are able to work out a flexible arrangement that allows for evolving creative, you can expect to pay a premium.
The bottom line is that working with a professional agency typically only makes sense for the largest companies. Generally speaking they have a more expansive budgets. They can also pay to have flexible arrangements with a dedicated team on a retainer.
Making the Most of Freelancers
Many organizations find success in hiring a freelancer to execute their digital signage content strategy. This can be a very effective solution for businesses that are smaller to mid-size. In many ways, working with a freelancer provides a balance of personal attention and cost savings that are impossible to find working with an agency.
One obvious upside is that independent contractors is the cost. It is usually less than hiring a professional design agency or investing in an in-house resource. They tend to be more cost efficient since you only need to pay for work they actually perform. They also tend to work more quickly. This is since they don’t have team members or organizational commitments to work around (and since they want to get paid).
Finally, freelancers tend to be more specialized. Since most of them work remotely, you don’t need to focus on a geographic area when hiring. That means you can seek out the professional who has the most experience in your niche. You can vet for industry expertise and examples.
Risk of Hiring Freelancers
Those benefits come with several risks, though. Looking at the bigger picture, a freelancer can help you put a band-aid on something that might require a longer-term solution. They can create your signage this time – what happens when you want to change it? What if they’re not available for your next round?
It’s also hard to really know what you’re getting with any given freelancer. You are likely only seeing their best work highlighted in their portfolio. This can lead to uncertainty about what their typical work is like. You don’t know if the samples you’re seeing are representative of their typical work. Also, most portfolios don’t mention timelines or service agreements, which are important components of project success. Perhaps you love the final result – but how long did it take to get to that deliverable?
Many seasoned companies avoid using freelancers because they can disappear. Their only commitment is really to themselves. Freelancers can jump ship for other projects that they view as more interesting. Many people have had the unfortunate experience of having the freelancer they hired go dark on them mid-way through a project.
Finally, though freelancers work remote and that does allow for some benefits, keep in mind that many times these professionals are based in different geographic areas which can present challenges with time zones, scheduling, or even language barriers.
In-House Design Team
If your company has deployed digital signage as a content medium, it’s likely time to look beyond the immediate needs and understand how content strategy will be developed and deployed in the future.
In these instances – where digital signage is part of a larger, ongoing strategy – it makes sense to look at internal resources and see if the design talents should be brought in-house (or if you need to transition to using in-house resources that the company already has).
Naturally, an in-house design team offers a lot of appeal. This department is beholden to your company, and therefore internal deadlines and budgets. They know your branding, your voice, and your audience. Generally, people in-house will have the most knowledge and understanding of your brand.
And of course, there’s a convenience factor. If someone has a great idea for new digital signage, it’s easier to just walk down the hall and discuss it.
On the other hand, there’s several smart reasons not to go with an in-house design resource. For one thing, if you don’t already have that resource, it’s very expensive to recruit and onboard an in-house designer. Management really needs to run the numbers and make sure there’s enough work to make the investment worth it (keep in mind the cost of training, overhead, office space, benefits, etc as well).
Consistency in branding is always a good thing but that can also make it easy to get in a rut. In-house resources are less likely to develop or be accepting of fresh ideas. New perspectives should be welcomed, and that is less likely to happen when working internally.
Unlimited Content Design Services
Content Design Resources
A study by The Economist shared that 90% of businesses interviewed believe that outsourcing some operations puts them ahead of competitors. Leveraging talented, specialized vendors in areas where you don’t have experienced resources has proven to be an effective strategy, regardless of market or industry.
Often, a blend of internal and external resources develop the most successful digital signage strategies. However, that combination is not possible for every company. The truth is that most organizations develop the strongest digital signage strategies using an offering like Content Refresh services.
This solution provides a platform to source customized content for digital signage screens at a very affordable price. Ideally suited for digital signage users looking for high quality content design services to get the best out of their digital signage investments, Unlimited Digital Signage Content Design Services offers more of what the name entails: “unlimited”.
Unlike what you’ll get with an agency SOW or even a freelancer contract, our Content Refresh services provide unlimited design requests and unlimited revisions. That means you can submit as many design requests as you want, and you can request revisions until you’re satisfied.
Content Design Experience
Equally important, you’ll collaborate with individuals who have extensive experience in the digital signage niche and have worked on projects like yours for years. Our talented designers commit to getting clients their designs within 1-4 days (and our Enterprise Unlimited plan even offers a 24 hour turnaround time).
You can also expect the premium client service you’d receive from an agency. All Content Refresh projects are reviewed monthly (at a minimum) for adherence to SLA, and overall client satisfaction. Enterprise plan holders receive access to a dedicated Project Manager. They can contact directly Monday through Friday for assistance, feedback, liaising with the technical support team, and more.
With no setup fees and flexible contracts, Mvix’ Content Refresh platform provides the nimbleness and cost effectiveness that businesses need. These services have been set up to remove the barriers often found in working with agencies, freelancers, or in-house design teams.
Why take on additional overhead in-house, or pay exorbitant agency fees, when Mvix offers streamlined and efficient services to maximize digital signage success? If you think working with industry-leading creatives to develop made-from-scratch, compelling content could improve your digital signage results, why not view some of our work or reach out to a Solutions Consultant today?