Why Your Business Needs Digital Signage


Companies are spoilt for choice when it comes to branding media. From simple flyers on windscreens to digital billboards in Times Square, there is no end of options when it comes to delivering brand messages. The only real limit is the size of the budget, and, thanks to advancing technology, even that limitation is shrinking, as high-tech options that used to cost the earth are more affordable and accessible to all business owners.

Think, for example, of digital signage. Technically, the billboards in Times Square are digital signage and there is no way that small to medium size business can afford that kind of branding. Lately, however, we’ve seen large LCD television screens flashing branding and advertising campaigns crop up in malls and shopping centres, and even in office buildings and retail stores themselves. These also count as digital signage, and they are definitely affordable.

Why it works

How many people do you know who can ignore a TV screen? Can you ignore a TV?

Think about it. If you’re sitting in your favourite family restaurant with all of your favourite people in the world and there is a TV just within sight, can you give your friends your full attention or are your eyes drawn time and again to what’s on the screen?

Marketing gurus recognised this compulsion and decided to capitalise on it. So now, in addition to the sports channels, restaurants and pubs also have TVs that show branded messages – usually daily or weekly specials and delectable-looking desserts. This makes it very difficult for customers to get through their hamburgers without thinking that maybe, just maybe, they also need that chocolate brownie dripping in hot caramel fudge sauce.

Digital signage works because people can’t resist a moving screen. It works because people can’t resist great visuals. And it works because it plays to a captive audience. Restaurant patrons aren’t going anywhere until they finish their meals, so they’re going to see your specials and desserts whether they want to or not.

3 Advantages of digital signage

Inherent irresistibility is just one of digital signage’s advantages, three others include:

1.     Relevance to target audience

Digital signage can give your audience exactly the information they need (even if they didn’t know they needed) exactly when they need it. Think about it, restaurant patrons are never going to be more receptive to images of desserts than when they’re already sitting down and eating a meal. Retail customers are never going to be more receptive to sales promotions than when they are already in the store with a trolley half full of goods.

This is used to good effect by chemists who advertise products on screens above their dispensaries. Customers standing in the queue waiting for their medication suddenly realise that they will get better faster if they get a vitamin B injection. Banks also use it to provide information on their loan and insurance products while customers are standing in the general enquiries queue.

2.     Flexibility and control

It’s easy to create branding messages in-house and to change and adapt them almost on the fly. It doesn’t take an enormously advanced setup or a high-tech wunderkind to create and manage digital branding messages. Some screens, some software and someone who knows how that software works are all that is required to keep branding messages running on a loop, either as part of a larger loop of companies in a mall, or as a small loop in-house. In-house loops can be quickly and easily changed to accommodate new developments; for example, if a new item is added to the list of promotions.

3.     Affordability

Small businesses that lack the know-how to create branding messages for digital signage can take heart in the fact that they can hire experts to do all of it for them relatively cheaply. Many marketing and advertising agencies include branding for digital signage in their services. And many electrical and computer retail stores include digital signage system installation in their services.

The technology itself is a once-off expense, and can be used in a variety of situations. For example, you can use it to run in-store promotional material, to create material for use in other locations (malls or office buildings), and to create tailored messages for unique situations, like trade shows and expos.

While businesses shouldn’t rely solely on digital branding, it’s incredibly useful in the advertising and marketing mix. It’s especially useful for small and medium size businesses as a means to increase brand awareness cheaply without having to pay for other constantly updated and expensive marketing campaigns.

Jemima Winslow works in digital advertising and spends a lot of time in family restaurants with two small children who are chocolate brownie fiends, so she knows that digital signage works on a theoretical and practical level.