Using entertainment in your digital signage communications

June 12, 2012 | by Frank Kenna

In my last blog, "Why you should add 'fluff' to your digital signage," I discussed why you should add entertaining content to your digital signage. In this next part, I'll discuss what type of entertainment you should use to attract employee attention, as it makes a big difference in how well your message will be seen.

Getting the Eyeballs on your Message

At this point I hope I've established the need for entertainment in your digital signage system. So now you may be thinking, "OK, I'll buy that, but where do I get it, and what should it be?" The answer has everything to do with what your viewers will find interesting, and almost nothing to do with what you do or don't like.

In other words, you want to try to use what your employees will like best, what will attract them. Often managers will criticize what digital signage administrators use as too silly, cheesy, whatever. But if it attracts employees to the display, that's all that matters.

For example, any big advertiser, say Coca-Cola, uses advertising to get across their "message," e.g. selling Coke soda or Dasani water. They use entertaining TV shows to get people to read their messaging. They don't care what the entertainment is (within limits). Think about it: Does Coke buy ads on "American Idol" depending on whether or not their executives like singing? I guarantee you that this has nothing to do with it. They're looking for eyeballs to get their messaging in front of, and we communicators should be doing the same.

We too have our "messages" that we're trying to communicate, and the type of entertainment we use to attract people shouldn't matter as long as it falls within the bounds of good taste.

Does it Keep Them Coming Back? Well, Alright Then.

I recently got a call from a colleague, a digital signage administrator at a large, multinational manufacturing corporation. She told me that she was getting static from a senior manager for using trivia in her company's digital signage. The manager thought it was silly and irrelevant to their important company messages. I asked her if their employees like it, and she responded enthusiastically, "Yes!" She added that if she didn't update it often enough they complained.

This is exactly what a good, healthy digital signage system needs — viewers who are always checking for the next tidbit of information. That's because engaged viewers will also be regularly exposed to the important business issues that are, after all, the reason we all have digital signage systems in the first place.

So try it all — trivia, sports, comics, horoscopes, whatever. Your local newspaper (if you still have one) probably has a page dedicated to these items. Take a look there to get some more ideas. You can find them all widely available on the Internet. Copyright law is something that you'll need to consider, so be sure to read the rules and disclaimers from your content source.

Have fun coming up with your entertainment ... the more fun you have with it, the more fun your readers will too ... and they'll actually read the business content from that grumpy manager who thinks entertainment content is a waste of time.

Frank Kenna / 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.

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