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Want effective workplace digital signage? Think like a brand manager

Digital signage can help communicate a company's important issues to your employees, but only if the content collection is coherent and well designed. Take a page out of the playbook of top advertisers for an effective employee-engagement strategy.

Want effective workplace digital signage? Think like a brand manager

| by Frank Kenna — President, The Marlin Company

You bought your digital signage to help communicate your company's important issues to your employees, right? While that's a great first step, the important next one is to make sure the content collection is coherent and well designed.

Unfortunately, many digital signage users simply take all the content they have around, like Word docs, PowerPoints, photos and spreadsheets and load 'em all up into the digital signage system. The result can look like my desk by Friday morning — a mess.

The way to remedy this is to think like a brand manager. Top advertisers are just like you, except they need to communicate their messages to their customers as opposed to employees. They know that displaying a bunch of uncoordinated messaging won't work and is a waste of money. Instead, they have a brand strategy that's clearly articulated and nurtured throughout their advertising over the years.

A good summary of this approach appeared in Fortune last year in an article titled "Secrets of 7 of the Most Effective Ad Campaigns." I'm not going to go into the campaigns themselves; you can read those if interested here. Instead, I will briefly summarize the techniques that go into effective advertising, followed by how it relates to the content you post on your digital signage.

  • Make it memorable. Good ads have this in common. How memorable is the last spreadsheet you posted? Is there any design to it or is it just a dry list of numbers?
  • The message must resonate. For example, instead of just posting a dull safety message, include a photo of a child welcoming the parent home after a safe day at work.
  • Show how the issue makes the employee's life better. You can show just your KPIs, but if you connect the dots showing how improving them will make everyone's jobs better and the company more competitive, the message will be much more applicable to their lives.
  • Stand for values beyond the content itself. For example, a company campaign for waste reduction could be linked to the community's efforts to reduce landfill rates and global warming.
  • Be inextricably linked to the company's core values. Show how the content you post relates to the company's mission statement and high-level objectives.

Think of your workplace communications like a top brand. Make sure all the content is linked to that brand in some way, and you'll end up with much more credible, readable and enjoyable digital signage that really moves the needle.

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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