S ometimes businesses see the need to adopt a new technology simply because that’s what their competitors are doing – with no real understanding of the true value it can bring to their customers and business. They innovate for innovation’s sake, rather than taking a more considered and strategic approach to implementation.

With signage, simply replacing static signs with digital ones is not an effective digital signage strategy in its own right. Furnishing your business with digital signage is certainly a good start, and the innovation will probably capture your end-users’ interest in the short term, but how do you get the balance right between short term innovation and long term utility?

Formulate your strategy

For many businesses with effective digital signage, their strategy was formulated long before they even purchased the hardware or software required because it will have undoubtedly influenced the type of technology they required – from smaller tablet-size touchscreens to large high definition digital billboards.

They have a clear idea of the purpose behind their digital signage, which goes beyond short-term impact and considers long-term value. Rather than just coasting on that initial wave of excitement about a new trend, they’ve thought about how digital signage can boost their business now, and in the future.

Know your business case

Each and every organization is different, so approaches to implementing digital signage can significantly vary. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Whilst the initial innovation of incorporating digital signage into your can be exciting and inspiring at first, it’s good to be clear about the business case for doing so.

Broadly speaking, the determining factor in deciding your business case is whether you’re deploying digital signage to communicate internally or externally. Whichever it is, when you invest in new technology, it needs to add something to your organization. There needs to be a clear rationale beyond buying shiny new digital signs to match your competitors.

Play to your audience

It’s important to consider the reasons why you need digital signage. How will it enhance your business? What will it give you now and in the future, that you don’t already have? Often, the answer to these questions can be very simple.

For example, a restaurant owner might need to change the menu and specials daily and certain times of the day without manually writing and erasing information on a board. Digital signage enables them to do this with ease and even automate when these changes occur on-screen. It can also be easily updated to highlight special offers or unavailable menu items. There’s also scope to give greater visibility to specific menu items, especially if a line isn’t selling particularly well or other items are running low until the next delivery. In this case, digital signage is not only innovative, it also has a utility which can benefit the business by making the menu more dynamic and responsive to business and customer needs.

On the other hand, digital signage within an office space might be an important tool for communicating with employees, whilst helping to enhance the experience of physically being in the building by adding to the sense of place (place making). Like a static noticeboard, this means it might communicate important business updates, recent sales figures, personal achievements of staff, upcoming events and so on. The key difference is that it’s dynamic and easily updated – perhaps automatically – with the latest information. It can also display video and animated content to attract attention and boost brand identity.

Innovate to dominate

Whatever your digital signage needs, it’s important to be creative and innovative without losing sight of the ultimate purpose for implementation. Whether you’re trying to enhance your customer’s experience within a physical space, such as retail, or bolstering brand identity and a sense of place within an office, getting the balance right between innovation and utility means that instead of being a short-term novelty, which quickly loses its appeal,  your digital signage will actually create long term business value.

Deploying digital signage, which is both innovative and has utility, can also be a great differentiator for your business in a competitive market. If you’ve ever encountered those large digital touchscreens in a quick service restaurant (QSR) after years of calling out your order over a busy and noisy counter, you’ll appreciate the short-term novelty of that innovation.

Visit again, and you might start to see longer term the business value it brings, the streamlined ordering and payment system, the helpful onscreen suggestions, the familiar SmartPhone app style functionality, reduced queues, and so on.

Looking for more inspiration for implementing digital signage? Get some great ideas from our blog ‘Moving towards a more interactive customer experience’.