Sept. 13, 2016
By Sylvain Bellaïche, Founder and CEO, Digital Social Retail
Franchises across all industries — from restaurants to retail to hospitality — have adopted digital signage to stay current and meet customers' growing digital demands. Brands are using digital signs to share in-store deals and campaigns, menu boards, directories, video ads and more. As brands incorporate digital signage into more of their locations, is it becoming more difficult to manage and control it all?
Take McDonald's, for example. McDonald's is one of the largest restaurant franchises in the world, with more than 36,000 locations across 100 countries. If every McDonald's had a digital menu board, outdoor and indoor signs, there would be more than 100,000 signs to manage.
That's a lot to maintain under one brand's umbrella. Whether a brand has several locations or 30,000, it's important for the messaging to uphold brand consistency while still appealing to the individuals around each specific location.
Drawbacks to existing digital content management strategies
Currently, brands are managing digital content using programs that still require a separate box for each screen, bulky media players or flash drives. Their shortcomings include being outdated, requiring additional tech support and not having the ability to oversee and manage each franchise. Companies, especially large franchises, will want a platform to help track it all and simplify the process.
Brands in search of alternative digital signage platforms may want to look for the following qualities:
- Flexibility and agility — When brands decide to integrate digital signage, it usually involves the installation of multiple screens across numerous locations. Organizing media playlists from a single platform shows brands the different messages cycling through the display screens at all times.
- Wireless control — A wireless platform provides greater control to make adaptations to the messages or ads being displayed on the various digital screens from remote locations. Brands have the ability to change the message being displayed from anywhere.
- Seamless technology — Brands will want to look for an interface that can replace legacy marketing materials and equipment with a single, streamlined platform. Storing, organizing and pushing out all digital signage content from a single platform helps make a potential tech headache a smooth process.
Centralization: The next digital frontier
Most companies are familiar with HootSuite, a central platform to manage multiple social media accounts. A system that acts like HootSuite for digital messaging provides franchises the ability to manage everything from a single platform.
Centralizing digital messaging helps brands by:
- Assuring quality content to maintain brand consistency — When managers can see media content organized in one central platform, they can cross-compare messages. The result is that they are only pushing messages to catch consumers' attention, deliver relevant information and promote the company without compromising brand consistency across locations.
- Engaging visitors on a hyper-local level to multiply profits and increase foot traffic — Brands can utilize information gathered on each demographic to develop messaging and promote items that will appeal to those consumers. Digital Social Retail estimates pushing a specific product on digital signage can increase sales more than 60 percent for that product. Consumers want to feel taken care of by brands, not as if they are being sold to as a mass audience. Digital signage creates a natural pathway for brands to reconnect with each local audience by tailoring the content to each specific audience.
For brands with numerous locations and those continuing to add new locations, there is room for error when it comes to digital signage. However, there is also an opportunity for these companies to capitalize on the potential of digital screens. Nielsen Media Research found the presence of monitors in stores can increase sales by 19 percent.
Much in the way brands have turned to certain software programs to centralize their many social media accounts, businesses are now realizing the need to do the same in order to control the messaging being disseminated via digital screens.
Sylvain Bellaïche is founder and CEO of Digital Social Retail, a New York-based proximity marketing firm. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.