Whether you call it "entertainment" or "fluff," its use in workplace digital signage is critical but often misunderstood.
I often use television as an analogy to clear up confusion: The TV networks make money by selling advertising. About 20 minutes of each prime time hour is made up of ads. It stands to reason that the networks would love to increase that to 60 minutes and triple their revenue. The only problem is, if they did that, no one would watch. So they make these things called "shows" and put them in the middle of the ads to get people to watch. They have found through 60 years of trial and error that 1/3 advertising is about the limit.
Selling the Message to your Audience
When thinking of communicating to employees, most managers don't consider this. They want their content to be 100-percent related to their business issues. But the problem is, just like the networks, if there's no entertainment in the mix, employees won't watch. Managers must realize that they are trying to SELL their message. They want employees to BUY the message. But employees won't buy it if they don't see it, and they won't see it if it's 100-percent business related.
Striking a Balance between Entertainment and Info
At Marlin, we've been doing this for decades, first with print and now digitally, and we have found throughout the decades that the best mix between entertainment/news/sports and business content is 35 percent/65 percent. That mix attracts employees to the communication displays, where they then read the important issue-related stuff from the company.
In my next blog, I'll discuss what type of entertainment you should add to your digital signage system, as it makes a big difference.
Frank Kenna III is CEO and President of The Marlin Co., which helps improve safety, employee morale, productivity and performance through its workplace digital signage products. He is responsible for setting the company’s strategic direction and developing new ideas to help implement workplace communication programs.