When companies decide to use digital media as part of their corporate communications program, they might be entering a world of technology and content that is new and confusing to them. To guide their decisions, The Marlin Company, a visual communications and digital signage provider, published a guide that outlines eight basic questions, along with some advice, about workplace digital signage:
1] Why are you doing this? The biggest mistake companies make is to focus on the technology first, when it’s far more important to define their communications objectives and desired outcomes.
2] What do you want to say? Are you using digital media to build a safe culture, or to get employees on the same page? What about improving performance, or announcing company news? Have a clear idea of what you want to tell employees.
3] Who are you talking to? Are you trying to reach everyone in the company, or just select groups? How do you convey your message to employees who don’t always work in the office? You need to consider what each employee group needs to know, and then tailor your message accordingly.
4] What’s your strategy? It’s important that your content ties back to your objectives and goals. Marlin recommends five steps: assess your current mode of communication to determine what’s working and what digital signage can replace; set up an editorial and delivery calendar; assemble a content team; identify sources that can be ongoing sources of information; and determine your review and quality control processes.
5] How do you make your content sing? Vary the content you deliver to keep it fresh. Add visuals, like photos and videos and graphics, whenever possible. Call out professional milestones, like anniversaries and birthdays. Make the content fun.
6] How do you sustain your message? Nurture sources. Stick to your editorial calendar. Add self-updating content. Keep your IT people in the loop and involved. Plan for expanding your digital messaging. And, when necessary, call on outside experts for help.
7] How will you know it’s working? Solicit feedback often, especially when you’re trying to measure the quality of your messaging, such as whether it’s leading to productivity improvements or higher employee morale.
8] What technology should you use? There are three main components in digital signage: monitors, media players, and content management software. The last is the most important, so choose what enables you to post content easily to any format, schedule posts, and manage users. Monitors, especially those that will be running 24/7, need to be commercial-grade. Determine how many you will need, what size, what image quality, what’s the surrounding environment, and who will install and maintain them. Media players are the “brains” of digital signage, and generally you’ll need one per screen.