Moments of institutional greatness are captured when corporations, governments and individuals respond to current events and tragedies with grace, humanity and compassion.
For example, France changed the lights on the Eiffel Tower to reflect the colors of the South African flag in honor of Nelson Mandela's death.
Chicago teams sent the Boston Herald an advertisement supporting them for being Boston Strong after the Boston Marathon Bombing.
In an article on BrandChannel.com, branding experts show how brands should respond to tragedy and/or triumph. They provide an example from a running site that posts support for the Boston runners in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing. The post shows support without pushing a product.
Digital signage can add value in a similar way. Recognizing current events and acknowledging those that may be impacted by the event can have a strong impact on the perceived intentions of the brand. It is kind.
Using the example of Nelson Mandela's death, a company that wants to show awareness and compassion might change their digital signage to reflect their sympathies. An action such as this wouldn't be authentic (in this example) for a Dunkin Donuts or Bank of America, but might be spot on with a brand like United Colors of Benetton or Coca-Cola that pride themselves on being international in scope and appeal.
While content that shows awareness of current events can illuminate the humanity of a brand, it can also be used inappropriately and with poor results, as in the Epicurious Twitter example referenced in the Brand Channel article:
The list of social media brand auto schedule "don'ts" is long but includes this automated tweet from the NRA in the wake of the Colorado theater shooting:
Digital signage users can learn from the mistakes brands make in social media. They can modify their content on the fly to reflect their awareness.
The key tips for digital signage from the social media world are simple:
Build a real community.
Digital signage helps to bridge the gap between advertising and life in a way that print advertising can only do with the purchase of a full-page ad in the Boston Herald. Digital signage can help brands to bring their online humanity to their real life customers with one authentic and appreciated tribute. What brands have you seen that could benefit from showing some humanity?
Laura Miller is an Internet marketing professional with 15 years of marketing experience and a background in qualitative research and marketing strategy. Her current position is as the director of marketing for KioWare Kiosk Software.