By Steven Picanza, Director of Marketing, OpenEye Global
Fresh from Digital Signage Expo in Las Vegas as well as London Digital Signage week, it’s no surprise why the digital signage industry as a whole is booming. Brands understand the power that comes with amazing resolution screens and CMS systems able to adapt to their changing behaviors. Customers expect brand experiences at every turn, making omni-channel the norm as opposed to the exception. Marketers are looking at attribution models and how we can deploy smarter campaigns leveraging data, intuition, and awe-inspiring creative. A perfect ‘brand-building’ storm is brewing. As organizations realize the power of combining the latest technologies with smart and adaptive content, while tying it all back to KPIs through strategy, the opportunity to build lasting brand equity through digital signage means that the competition to have your brand live in the hearts and mind of your customer base has never been more challenging, yet equally rewarding.
What do I mean when I say brand equity? As an adjunct instructor at Drexel University on branding and marketing theory, I define branding to my students as that gut feeling you get when you hear a specific brand name or think about a specific product or service that brand produces. It’s the trust and responsibility that comes with being influential, as most brands are.
That gut feeling mixed with trust, whether good or bad, is essentially the equity your brand has produced.
Moment of truth: Digital signage does not make brand equity.
In fact, it’s just a slight sliver in the marketing mix that creates the overall brand experience, but when it is done right and incorporated properly into a strategy, it can produce opportunities to not only push relevant content, but channel your audience down a sales funnel to the point where they’re not only transacting with you, but you’re creating advocates who will in turn market for you.
With Digital Signage Expo and London Digital Signage Week still fresh in our minds, this is exactly what we’ve been seeing and hearing. More and more creatives, agencies, marketing folks, and CMOs are taking interesting in the power that digital signage has in not only pushing brand awareness, but in also pushing products, culture, and experience.
Brands understand the power that comes with amazing resolution screens and CMS systems able to adapt to their changing behaviors
This latest trend shouldn’t be seen as a trend, but as a new spoke in the marketing hub & spoke model. Digital signage should not be seen as an afterthought, but as a native tactic to build that elusive brand equity. As a native tactic, the digital signage conversation should be starting from the very first conversations of incorporating digital into a built environment through an architectural firm, and should be carried on up the brand’s ladder through IT, marketing, and even customer service. To build quality brand equity and trust with digital signage as a tactic, an all-encompassing digital ecosystem must not merely be ideated and created, but it must be managed and properly nurtured. When we define brand equity as building trust with your audience, we can look at it like a formula:
Trust = Reliability + Delight
The trust comes from not only meeting, but exceeding the customer's expectations.
This correlates to digital signage because every digital touchpoint the customer has with your screens is an opportunity to build brand equity through trust, reliability, and delight.
Let’s break this down, starting from the endpoint and working backwards:
Delight: You’re taking into account your audience’s wants and needs, where they are in the sales or customer journey funnel, and they’re actually pleased and happy with the content being shown. This might also include taking the experience away from the screen and into the customers, hands by introducing mobile and social integrations.
Reliability: The screens and signage are working as they should and they are brilliant in nature. They are not only displaying the right content, but the brand standards are shining through and the message and content are all consistent, not just through 1 particular touchpoint but integrated throughout a multiple of touchpoints. With lack of consistency as the #1 brand killer, ensuring you’re consistent throughout every touch point is how to build trust and brand equity.
Trust: When we’re able to delight your audience in both a reliable, consistent and authentic nature, we’re able to build trust, which then turns your audience into advocates.
While digital signage might not be the end-all, be-all to building brand equity, it is certainly carving out a larger chunk of the brand-spend pie. This is especially true and evident by the increased budgets brands are allocating towards digital signage as a tactic.
With those increased budgets and natural opportunities to build brand trust and advocacy, there should be no excuse not to invest and be smart with how you execute.