Part II: Awakening the Force

It’s been 38 years since the first Star Wars movie came out. Just like the Jazz Singer, albeit for much different reasons, the movie was a phenomenon. It had beautiful heroes, incredible movie sets, intergalactic spaceships, swashbuckling action, and, well, incest. Apart from that last bit, it had everything needed to be a success. You’d have to have been living under a rock to not know that there’s a new installment in the Star Wars saga coming out this year. Under the stewardship of celebrated science-fiction writer and director JJ Abrams, the movie is set to go back to basics and use a proven formula (minus the incest hopefully). As a self-confessed Star Wars superfan, Abrams has brought the actors out of (semi) retirement, dusted off the Millennium Falcon and is set to give his fellow fans what they want because he’s been “planning this movie since seeing the original in the theater on opening day and never being the same again.” If you’re thinking about implementing Digital Signage in your business, you simply must plan it out with the same attention to detail as you would a movie – a script of what you’re trying to say, actors to get that across and ultimately an entertaining result that people will want to see. In this second installment of Discovering Digital Signage, we’re going behind the scenes to look at how to achieve this.

Writing your script

‘Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.’ ‘Measure twice, cut once.’ ‘You get out what you put in.’ There are hundreds of idioms like these about being prepared because no matter how many different ways you say it, people still don’t listen to them. Before you spend a dollar, you have to get a script together so that you know what you’re trying to say, what it is you’re trying to achieve and how it all might look, before you shout action and start rolling.

1. Set objectives

Don’t run headfirst into this. Start slow – grab a pen and paper and start by asking yourself why you need Digital Signage. Then, write out what you want it to do for your business. Finally, like any decision, start a pros and cons list. Then use this to form a more concrete business plan.

2. Investigate and research

Get in your car, jump on a bus or simply hit the street and go find out what other brands and businesses are doing. Go in to stores and take a look at their digital signage. Interact with it, critique it and even talk to their managers about it. You’ve got nothing to lose and will gain some invaluable insights and inspiration.

3. Talk to an expert

At some stage you’ll have to bring a specialist onboard because you simply won’t be able to (and shouldn’t try) make this a DIY job. You might as well utilise an expert at the very beginning rather than when the horse has already bolted. And the more planning you’ve done before you talk to them, the more beneficial it will be.

4. Location, location, location

You might have the desire, the money and the need for Digital Signage but make sure you also have the space for it. Just because you have somewhere in mind, doesn’t mean it’s a good one. Where it is, is as important as what it’s saying! It must be a relevant area, have high foot-fall and be easily visible.

5. Measuring success and ROI

How will you measure the objectives you have just set out for yourself and know if your Digital Signage plan is working? This is crucial because if you don’t know what you want to achieve, how will you know if it’s working? Many people just ‘think’ a new technology isn’t working and let it fall by the wayside without testing it properly.

Choosing your actors

Once you’ve put together your clearly defined ‘script’ and set out your objectives, you’ll need to look at how you’re going to get your message across. You need to choose an ‘actor’ that will fulfil the role the best. There are many different types of Digital Signage and each has specific benefits and capabilities. What kind you pick will depend on your needs, your objectives, the problems you’re trying to solve, the available space in your store and of course, your budget. Here’s our quick guide to navigating all the terminology associated with Digital Signage and the many types on offer.

Augmented Reality

A computer-generated representation that interacts with the real-world environment in which it’s situated and enhances (augments) your current perception of it! It’s used by a lot of the big brands for big stunts (search John Lewis ‘Dancing Teddy’) but also has some fantastic real-world uses such as Google’s ‘point-and-translate’ capability.

Digital Tap Handles

One of the most recent additions to the Digital Signage portfolio, these are little dynamic screens that sit over beer taps and brilliantly grab the attention of thirsty customers as they wait to order a cold one.

Big Screen

Anything from the large creative video walls in lobbies of any major city building, to the truly huge screens in Times Square. The industry is headed toward creating big screen participation marketing experiences using huge video walls and large screens with motion sensors, touch, gesture, virtual aisles and augmented reality to engage the consumer in experiences that get them off their pocket screen.

Digital Kiosk

Ideal for displaying engaging, interactive and interesting information. These stand-alone, touchscreen pods keep today’s technology-savvy ‘show-roomers’ off their phones and engaged with your brand for as long as possible. With 24% of smart phone users intentionally having their smart phone with them to inform themselves about products, wouldn’t you prefer that information came from you?

Emergency Communication System

Many large corporations are using Digital Signage to turn their screens into critical information and directional signage displays in the event of a fire or other emergency evacuation.

Fridge Screens

One of the fastest growing sectors in the Digital Signage portfolio allows you to turn your clear glass into a partially transparent information screen where you can display offers, promote products or simply capture shoppers’ attention just as they’re about to reach in and select a brand.

Menu Boards

For restaurants, cafés, fast-food joints, newsagents and other stores that utilise them, digital menu boards have been one of the biggest revelations to their business. The days of designing, printing, distributing and re-installing their constantly-updating menus, is being replaced by instantly updateable, attention-grabbing content and easily editable price points, all from one location, to all of their stores.

Point of Sale

Quite self-explanatory but with 8 in every 10 shoppers buying an impulse item in store, POS Digital Signage is your best opportunity to alter their decision-making at the most crucial part of their journey; the end.

Shelf-edge labels

A perfect example of the biggest benefit of Digital Signage – time management. How much time do you think is spent regularly removing and replacing printed labels for every product in a store? Digital Signage is allowing stores to do it remotely, nationwide, at the click of a button, whenever they need to. Handy!


Good signage is crucial for a good customer experience. Nobody wants to be stressing about looking for a toilet if they need one and definitely shouldn’t have to work hard to figure out where to go to pay. Way-finding Digital Signage can help you highlight where your checkouts, toilets, lifts and other useful places are, which is important because a relaxed customer is a ready-to-buy customer!

Getting ready to shout Action!

If you follow the above and put in the time at the beginning, the ‘shoot’ will go much easier and the final product will stand a far better chance of being a blockbuster. In the final installment of the Discovering Digital Signage trilogy we’ll look at some tips on what your Digital Signage should be saying, how you go about saying it and how you know if everything you’ve learnt here is working. Again, if you can’t wait until next time, just contact one of our retail communications Jedi today and show you the way, they will.