Digital Signage: A New Way to Engage Your Customers

Effective advertisements speak to us; brands have to tug on our heartstrings or get into our minds before they can even think about reaching into our pockets. Most of us can think of an instance or two when we splurged on an expensive pair of shoes or a brand-new iPhone because the product was prominently displayed on a huge digital signage screen. Successful advertising works by persuading people to buy, no matter how expensive a product is. But, how do companies do this? The secret has been hanging over our heads.

Are Billboards Dead?

Advertisements in the 70s were dominated by billboards. Banners and movie posters were painstakingly drafted by a team of artists and writers, and glossy sales promotions graced the pages of magazines. These ads were so effective that they became a crucial part of pop culture and served as drivers of the market’s purchasing decisions. Over the next few decades, our senses became familiar with that traditional form of signage. Now, when we glance through a store window and see big red lettering, we know right away the shop is having a sale.  

Over the past decade, however, an even stronger advertising force came into play—one that taps into our sense of touch and allows brands to create a digital world where nothing matters but their product. Welcome to the world of digital signage and Visual Communications. 

The Digital Signage Switch

Digital signage can come in many forms but is often seen on crisp LED screens. And those displays, along with countless other types, can be seen virtually everywhere. This growth is attributed primarily to the realized benefits of digital signage solutions and the desire of enterprises to reach their targeted audiences in a more effective way. In the past few years alone, interactive digital signage has surprised the world with how it can incite customer engagement. From LG interview pranks to Apotek’s unique subway ads, we’ll explore how digital signage revolutionized advertising into something that can be experienced.

LG’s Interview Prank

In LG Electronics’ interview prank, interviewees were seated facing a backdrop of what seemed to be a window overlooking the city. Moments through the “interview,” the sky dimmed and a crashing asteroid appeared, causing the interviewees to panic. After a few moments of hysteria, it was revealed that the screen was nothing more than an LG television, displaying Ultra-HD videos of what could be the world’s end.

Although most brands don’t take this approach to digital signage, the ingenuity of the prank lies on using the product itself to showcase its features—a perfect example of how digital signage solutions can be so effective. LG’s strategy is just one of many digital signage strategies, one where you can let your consumers “see” the brand’s promises enacted in real-time.

Apotek Subway Ads

Another successful digital signage strategy was an ad campaign by the Swedish brand, Apotek. The intention of the campaign was to introduce a new line of hair products, and to do this, Apotek commissioned a digital signage solution that used an LED screen with ultrasonic sensors. The display was installed in a Swedish subway station, and the screen presented a still image of a woman with gorgeous hair and a blinking eye. And whenever a train arrived, her hair swirled in all directions, making it seem like the wind from the passing train caused the movement.

Passengers were amazed, and with that awe came a very strong recall of the brand name and its products. Many other brands have tried their hand at advertising with digital signage and leveraged the technology to their benefit—elevating their brand to the consciousness of audiences far larger than what traditional signage could ever hope to reach.

Traditional or Digital—Which Is Best?

To demonstrate how far advertising has come since the age of traditional signage, Joerg Mueller identified the properties of traditional and digital signage solutions side-by-side to compare each of their advantages and limitations.

Property

Traditional Signage

Digital Signage

Content

Text, Graphics

Animation, Video, Reactive, Interactive

Multiple Content

A few; cumbersome

Any content available

Updates

Expensive; about 10 days

Cheap; within milliseconds

Content Depth

What fits the sign

Any depth with interaction

Context Adaptivity

Location, time (put out Open sign), audience by location

Any measurable context: Time in milliseconds, audience up to individual

Audience Measurement

Manual counting or interviews

Automatic

Interactivity

Sometimes mobile phone

Touch, gesture, mobile phone, web etc.

Finding the Right Solution is Key

Until recently, digital signage solutions were too expensive for many brands. From pricey hardware to securing reliable connectivity, Visual Communications simply wasn’t an option for non-enterprise companies. Fortunately, with improvements in technology, implementation costs decreased, making digital signage solutions more cost-effective for businesses of all sizes.

Four Winds Interactive (FWI), for example, has already helped big names from different industries solve many of their advertising and information display challenges. MGM Grand in Las Vegas had the challenge of engaging their customers who were spread across three million square feet of convention space and nearly two million square feet of casino floor. Through FWI’s Visual Communications Cloud, these vast spaces have been digitally integrated, easing some of MGM’s crowd management and customer engagement pains.  

Mix Up Your Advertising

Still, some companies prefer to use different advertising solutions for a single campaign. They may stick with traditional signage, mix digital and traditional methods or switch to pure digital—these are all good options, as long as the method matches the target market and brand. Of course, the more inclined the business is to technology, the more groundbreaking and interactive their advertising method should be.

However, this should not stop non-technological businesses from switching to digital signage. After all, one in five people make unplanned purchases after seeing items featured on digital signage displays, and 52% of customers recall content on digital displays better than content featured on TV, radio, magazines and traditional billboards.

The only way for companies to keep up with the ever-evolving world of advertising is to embrace the benefits of new technology. With digital signage solutions and Visual Communications applications, brands now have a better option for increasing customer engagement. Is your brand ready to thrive in the digital future?

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