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An introduction to digital signage - Part 3

Competition is increasing in every area of business and retail, and the market continually expects more from those whom they do business with.  Product innovation, pricing and marketing are, of course, vital to this effort. However, a key factor that is often overlooked is engagement, both with customers and employees. The importance of customer engagement is obvious; it is the way to build loyalty and establish the potential for repeated business.  With customer loyalty in place, minor issues with pricing or marketing can often be papered over. Employee engagement is critical because it is the quickest and most cost-effective way to boost productivity. When employees are in sync with the mission, methods and business objectives of the organization, they are able to focus their efforts towards the common goal. Digital signs can play a major role in this integration. For both customers and employees, digital signs, with up to date and easily accessible information, provide the feeling of being part of an ongoing course of action and result in involvement and participation. Digital signs remove the limitation of one-way information flow. They now allow users to explore experiences, products and opportunities that are of specific interest to them.

Is digital signage for small businesses and shops?

Advances in digital signage technology mean that they are no longer prohibitively expensive, complicated to use or difficult to manage. Today even small organizations with limited financial and staff resources can afford to use digital signs to build their businesses and market share. In fact, the smaller the customer base, the more important it is to keep the engagement alive and proactive and this is what digital signs do. For small work forces, they offer an unobtrusive way for the management to interact with the staff and promote positive engagement.

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Digital signs – The bottom line

For most small organizations, the decision to go in for digital signage is based on the answer to the question – “What specifically does it have in store for me?” Here are just a few of the answers:

Information: Relevant content can be conveyed to the target audience quickly. An engaging channel of communication can be established with customers, employees and those who may become customers in the future.

Relevance: The content on digital signs can be changed and updated as and when required with no additional cost.

Simplicity: Content for all signs can be controlled from a central platform so that changes can be made quickly without the need to divert manpower to the job.

Brand development: Because of the attention that digital signs attract, the visibility of a business and its unique brand can be quickly established and then, due to the repeated exposure, continually reinforced.

Engagement: Digital signs are not limited to direct business promotion. They can give the audience news, videos, interactive content and anything else that will engage their interest and keep them coming back for more.

 Do not get left behind

 Digital signage is a big and rapidly evolving factor in the growth and profitability of a business, large or small. Those who are able to leverage this opportunity to their advantage will reap the maximum benefits and those who do not get on-board will be left behind. To know more about digital signs and how they can help your business, contact a professional signage company that specializes in digital signs.

An introduction to digital signage - Part 2


The first part of this blog looked at what digital signage is and where it stands today. To be able to effectively incorporate the use of digital signage in business promotion plans, a business must understand what the future of digital signage holds in store. The future is always unknown but going by current trends, this is how digital signage may evolve.

Personalization

The more directly a sign addresses a viewer, the greater the positive impact it makes. Real-time automated content could be received from external sensors or centralized information storages, to provide information that mirrors the conditions and situation viewers are in. For example, if it rains suddenly, a digital sign could immediately show where umbrellas or raincoats are being sold. Demographics and location will also provide inputs. A sign in the central business district could change at the right time, to show information that will interest office workers returning home.

Interaction

Built-incameras, sensors and voice/face recognition could take personalization even further. Regular customers can be greeted by name and can be asked about items from their regular shopping list they want at that time. Customers in a supermarket looking at flour, could be shown cake or pie recipes that may interest them and prompt their decision to buy. It is not as far-fetched as it may sound. Online shopping portals already offer customers, products based on their previous purchases as soon as they log in. Digital signage will bring the same experience to the real world.

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Is it worth the cost?

That digital signage is prohibitively expensive is a common misconception. As with everything else, technological advances are making digital signs more affordable and accessible.Whether it is with customers or co-workers/employees, interactive signs promote a two-way flow of information in real time and in clearly defined locations. No longer will a customer be told to “BUY XYZ.” An employee will not be told to “Be more productive.” Instead, the signs will provide information that is relevant to the viewer based on inputs like identity, time, specific location, previous interaction history and so on. This will make the viewer feel far more empowered and by doing so, it will make the viewer – sign interaction relationship a more positive one and will generate a desire to make a purchase or to be more pro-active at work.

The future is already here

There is a great deal that digital signs can do to promote business and increase profits. Not understanding the massive potential that exists, and how digital signage will impact marketing and sales, could leave a business in the same situation as one that did not understand the might of the internet a generation ago. Maximizing the use of digital signage requires creating and using the right signs, planning and budgeting. Working with a company that has expertise in signage, including digital options, is the best way to ensure that digital signage is used in a way that maximizes the return and produces tangible business results.

An Introduction To Digital Signage - Part 1

Digital signage can open a whole new world of publicity and advertisement avenues for a business, especially a small one that cannot afford to pay huge amounts for print and electronic publicity and which has its market in a well-defined geographical area. It is such an effective communication medium that digital signage has grown to become a $20 billion industry. Projections are that it will grow even more rapidly in the coming years. If you are a small or a medium business owner, digital signage is an aspect of business which you cannot afford to ignore. To be able to use it to grow a business, it is important to understand what digital signage is.

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 What is digital signage?

To put it very simply, digital signage is a screen or set of screens that display information and content to the market. The content can be repeated or varied as much as is required. If digital signs are placed at multiple locations, the content can be controlled centrally. The essence of digital signage is that, it must be flexible so that the content can be changed when required, and also catch the attention of those who see it. The content must be such that it stays in the memory, to be recalled when the need for the advertised product or service arises, and also strong and durable enough to withstand continuous outdoor use.

 How it began

Signs have been around since the first humanoids learned how to draw pictures on cave walls to convey information. Digital signs, as we know them today, have been around since the early 1990s. The first digital signs were video walls made with old CRT TVs to create a platform on which continually variable and animated content could be displayed. The advent of the flat screen a few years later meant that content could be better displayed with signage taking up less space. The next stage in the evolution of digital signs was the arrival of computer-generated media which could quickly churn out varied content at low cost and directly place the material on the digital signs. Soon content management software was developed to automate the process and make it even more efficient.

 How it is used today

Digital signage has become the way for a business to communicate directly with the market at a defined location in a dynamic and positive manner. The concept of digital signs is today moving away from the idea of huge towering signage as is seen in New York, in Times Square, to more focused smaller signs that target specific potential buyers with variations and cater to precise marketing needs. For example, a digital sign in a busy commercial area could remind those going to work in the morning that coffee and donuts are available nearby. In the evening it could remind passersby that a convenience store is around the corner where they could pick up their essential shopping.

 Part 2 of this blog will look at other things you need to know about digital signs.

How Marketing and Technology Trends are Shaping Signage

Signage has evolved rapidly since the 1990s in lockstep with advances in technology and business models. Newer business models and more companies entering the fray automatically call for more aggressive, unique and insightful marketing. Signage has evolved from a mere necessity around the premises, to an important component in the advertising story. Various influences from technology and marketing trends are shaping modern day signage..

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Marketing trends shaping signage

  • Simple designs: Clunky signage with a lot of messages crammed into it is becoming extinct. Simple and short messages in unique, elegant and modern fonts are the rage. They stand out from the clutter and scream “class” from a distance. Backgrounds and borders are also more refined to help the text and imagery stand out.

  • Vintage designs: Vintage designs from the world war era have an antique value and bring a smile on viewers’ faces. This is being exploited cleverly by advertisers in industries where the offerings are simple, and trust is important while buying. Hand-lettering, aged timber, the worn-out look and various other techniques help recreate the vintage look.

  • Newer printing techniques: Wide-format printers, flatbed printers and UV-resistant ink have all made it easy to generate attractive and long-lasting signage, that can be used for outdoor advertising such as banners, hoardings, vehicle wraps and signage at event venues.

  • 3D Printing: 3D Printing has come a long way from being merely used to create models for architects and medical institutions since the 70s. Today, it is revolutionizing signage with its ease of generating unique, odd-shaped and intricate designs that hugely differentiate advertisers from their competititors!

Technology trends shaping signage

  • LEDs for Neon lighting:  Neon lighting which so far has been using gas tubes at its core, is now being replaced by LED lights. The LED lights give Neon signs more flexibility, making it easy to generate signage that is unique in their look and feel. LEDs are also less expensive and more energy-efficient compared to Neon-gas cores, thereby reducing the overall cost to advertisers.

  • Digital signage: Digital signage maximizes the space available and capital invested in the signage space by allowing messages to change constantly. This alone is driving many advertisers to migrate to digital signage. Further, digital signage is evolving rapidly by incorporating newer technologies that makes it more effective. Some of them are interactive and self-service screens, touch screens, data analytics, 3D screens etc.

  • Programmable DOOH: Digital Out of Home (DOOH) advertising which includes digital signage, radio and TV advertising has also evolved with time. Unlike traditional DOOH which requires a lot of human intervention and management, programmatic DOOH uses advances in wireless communication, data analytics, smart software and special screens to program the content to be displayed from time to time. This helps advertisers push messages with considerable insight while reducing the overall cost and hassle.

  • Responsive and dynamic content: Interactivity is the buzzword everywhere. Touch screens which display actionable messages help consumers make bookings or download information such as brochures and data sheets. They can also choose to view more details on the screen, play a different video, or listen to a testimonial in the background. All of these help shorten the time to purchase.

Conclusion

Signage will keep evolving with time in order to stay relevant and reflect contemporary trends. This opens up a world of possibilities for advertisers and helps them maximize returns from their advertising spend. It helps achieve what marketing and advertising Guru Peter Drucker hinted at, when he said “The aim of marketing is to make selling superfluous”.

Creating Signs That Attract Customers

The world we live in is increasingly dominated by technology and when it comes to marketing and advertising, people tend to look at online and mobile publicity avenues as the way to go. However, while electronic media does play a major role in business promotion, the signboard is still a key factor in attracting customers.This is something that all business people have discovered. While the type of sign may vary, its importance cannot be disputed. According to a recent survey, over 60% of small business owners in the age group of 18 to 34 place value on creativity and uniqueness whereas those of the older age group give more value to the content of the sign. Either way, the importance of creating signs that attract attention to a business cannot be argued upon. There are 3 key factors that need to be taken into account when creating signs.

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Color

Color is a critical ingredient in a sign. Think of any well-known company and there is a color associated with it – “McDonald’s yellow” is a good example. The continued use of a pattern of colors will, over a period of time, make those hues part of a business’s identity. If a hardware store uses black and gold for its signage, both outdoor and indoor, these colors will become part of its identity and customers will be reminded of it when they see this color combination – black and gold means hardware. However, choosing the colors is something that requires careful planning. It may be tempting to use “trendy” colors but trends do not last and a color scheme that is trending today could be old fashioned tomorrow.

Readability

A sign conveys information and this means that there will be text. Choosing the right font is important. A flowing, artistic style of lettering will not convey the image that a security company wants to convey. For this business, the font should be strong and clear. Color plays a role here too. The contrast between the background colors and that of the text must be such that the text is clearly visible, while at the same time not clashing with the background. A sign with a green background and light blue lettering will not be easy to read. Size is the third factor to consider. The text must be large enough to be easily read while not overwhelming the total image that the sign aims to create.

Size

Size matters, but bigger is not always better. A sign must be large enough to catch the eye of those passing by, but not so big that it stands out like a sore thumb and dominates the place in which it is located. This will create a negative impact with people thinking that the sign, irrespective of how good it is, is ugly and out of place.

Combining these elements to create signs that work, requires expertise in design and knowledge as to what type of sign should be used for which application. That is why the process of designing, fabricating and installing a sign is best left to a professional sign making companywhich will be able to strike the right balance and produce signs that work in terms of bringing in customers.

Entice customers and boost business, with Window Graphics

Businesses, establishments or spaces that offer services or products require branding in order to attract visitors or potential customers. While there are several ways to brand your services or products to capture the attention of the target audience, you can be certain that the space will have a door and a minimum of one window in it. These doors and windows provide tremendous visibility from a brand perspective and are a powerful tool for marketers to consider.

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Types of Window Graphics and Lettering

According to research by Werremeyer, an award-winning creative communications agency, over 50% of customers learn about your business or services from in-store or on-premise branding or signage. And window graphics and lettering are an integral part of such on-premise branding.Popular types of window graphics and lettering:·   Vinyl: Cut-vinyl lettering are a good low-cost option for branding and offer multiple colours with white being the predominant color. Perforated vinyls have little holes to allow people on the inside to look out.

·    Frosted Effects: These offer an extremely elegant look with film or letters. They give an etched-glass look allowing light to enter but at the same time are not see-through.

·   Cling: Cling films come in white and clear and are most commonly used by car service or car washes to stick on the back of a car window. These are ideal for short-term needs.

·    Digital Prints: Digital prints give you the freedom to use graphics or images with relative ease. Coupled with cut-vinyl, these can be very striking in terms of imagery and boldness of letters and colors.

·   Window wraps and murals: Wraps can transform any window into a billboard with high-quality displays. Use these to make a statement with intricate designs and complement your text.

How to use window graphics to enhance your premises?

Depending on the type of window graphics being used, various materials are used to affix the graphics onto windows or doors.In the signage industry, window stickers are referred to as window decals and are generally a one-time use material. Decals are more permanent and once fixed cannot be repositioned. Window decals have adhesive that is used to stick to the window or door surface. These adhesives are industrial-grade and resistant to water, heat and other elements making them long-lasting. Once you stick the decal onto the surface, you can make minor adjustments to position it immediately. However, once left for longer than 20 mins, they become extremely hard to move as the adhesive’s effect kicks in.

Clings, on the other hand, do not have adhesive to affix to the surface. They stick to a surface through a static charge between the cling film and the window. The advantage with this material is that it can be repositioned and moved as and when needed, giving room for change.

Conclusion

Window Graphics and Lettering offer a powerful way to attract visitors and customers to premises. These can be in various forms such as window decals of various types or cling films of various types. Depending on how often these need to be changed, marketers can determine their choice. While decals are more permanent, clings give you the freedom to change often, as they are stuck through static charge as opposed to an adhesive. Either way, window graphics are an essential tool for businesses to communicate and attract walk-in customers.

Getting The Right Signage for Your Business

Whether you are an established business that has been around for decades or a new business that is just in the process of establishing itself, the first thing you would need to attract customers to your office is signage. This speaks volumes about your business at first glance. Bystanders and passers by will immediately take notice if you have catchy or elegant looking signage. Your prospective customers get a sense of pride walking into an office where the signage outside spells success. 

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Types of Signs

There are several ways to brand your business. The signage industry has gone through significant innovation in materials, offering options for all budgets. Depending on the type of business you run here are a few options to keep in mind:

Window Decals

If your business has a lot of windows to the outside world, then this is a must-have. Decals make good use of your windows by applying a simple sticker material. It makes for great visuals and will ensure your premise is not missed by any customer or passerby.

Digital Signage

While you can have a traditional board and poster signage printed on acrylic to highlight the space above the doorway of your business, you can add a digital signage below it. Digital signages allow you to share easy updates or unique messages on a real-time basis. This makes it interactive for visitors and prospective customers.

Banners

These can be used all year round and can hold up larger standing banners. Their weighted bases allow them to withstand wind and extreme changes in weather and are easy to move around if you want to rush them indoors.

Vehicular Graphics

These can be all year round, as a lot of bright and eye-catching wraps on vehicles. They are easy to get done, relatively moderate on the pocket, offer mobile branding and are certain to raise a few eyebrows.

Vinyl

Given the durability and ease of use of vinyl, it is always one of the best choices. It can withstand extreme heat, rain and cold and hence is ideal all year round as well. It is relatively easy on the pocket as well.

A-Frames

A-frames or pavement signs can adorn your patio, sidewalk or be kept at your door. Depending on your ad or campaign, you have multiple shapes and sizes to choose from.

Materials used in signage

There are several options that exists in the market today. Some of the more common materials are wood, metal, acrylic and glass. Wood and metal generally are more long term and maintenance free. With an all-weather quote of polish on wood, it will last a lifetime. Metal comes in various shapes and forms and with powder coating, color options exist to liven a space up. Acrylic and glass may require a little bit more care from a cleaning standpoint to keep them looking new.

Conclusion

Several signage options exist in the market today. Depending on the budget, type of business and location, a good mix of signage can be extremely beneficial.

Interior Signage To Improve Your Brand Image

When it comes to signage, a lot of emphasis is generally given to exterior signage and branding. A key aspect in extending this brand recall memory and imagery, is the use of interior signage. Interior signs are a great extension of your brand and can do wonders to further add value to your company’s products or services.

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Interior signage options to increase brand visibility:

Floor graphics

Adding floor graphics to your stairs and hallways can do wonders to spruce up dull areas and add life and color to your space. You can use them to reinforce key messages or simply just as directional signs. The power of high-quality floor graphics and creatives is under-rated.

Wall murals

In case you like to add a famous quote, inspirational words or even wish to communicate key messages about your brand, wall murals can be extremely engaging for customers who visit your space. Transform the area with soothing images to create a warm atmosphere within the office space.

Table graphics

Every office space and storage facility has tables. These are great opportunities for you to showcase your brand and keep reinforcing your message. They also add life to otherwise dull tables and uniquely differentiate them from the others. Watch, as you start seeing Instagram posts of your tables! They also help identify specific areas of the office with tables, which can be personalized as required.

Window graphics

Window graphics can be used, to extend branding to the exterior décor and can have a practical use in blocking the sun, or areas which you do not want to be visible to outsiders. Displaying contact information and exhibiting product or service photographs in action ,can make your business look more appealing.

Glass graphics

The use of graphics on the glasses within the office offers you a lot of area to work with. Most office spaces or facilities have a lot of glass partitions which can be covered with graphics to showcase the brand or messages. They not only offer privacy but also make the space lively in the process.

Which interior signage works best for you?

So how do you go about choosing the best interior graphics for your space? Well the answer to the simple question, “What does my space mostly consist of? ” will help you . If you have more of solid walls than glass partitions, then wall graphics or wall murals might look impressive. Do you have a lot of open floor space or staircases within your facility? If yes, then floor graphics definitely should be  considered to make the space look cheerful.

Conclusion

Several options exist for interior branding and you need to understand the space available, in order to decide which form of interior branding you want. Think a bit about what makes up most of your space and then work towards filling them with engaging and lively interior branding.

Improving Brand Visibility with Signage

The most pertinent question as an owner or marketing lead for a company is whether people can find your business easily. Simply putting up one sign on top of your doorway may not be enough. There are other creative ways to improve your brand visibility and keep your company name etched in people’s minds.

Signage Options to Increase Brand Visibility

Monument Signs
These can be made from stone, metal or even wood. They look grand and will remain etched in a person’s memory once they pass it. They are built to last and can withstand the elements extremely well. They are generally stand-alone structures at the front of a building or driveway. A custom backlit graphic panel or digital display can be used to further enhance the impact of the sign and portray a brand’s personality.

Floor Graphics
The power of high-quality floor graphics and creatives is under-rated. If a business is located close to a main street or in the path of a lot of thoroughfare then floor graphics can greatly enhance brand visibility. They can grab attention very quickly and serve as a great medium to share key messages, or lead potential customers right to your front door where they could be greeted by you.

Window Graphics
Window graphics can be used to extend branding to the exterior décor and can additionally be of practical use by blocking the sun or areas that you don’t want outsiders to see. Putting contact information and showing product or service photos in action can make your business more easily discoverable.

Vehicle Graphics
Vehicle decals or graphics can serve as a great advertising mechanism and at a relatively low cost. If you have run a business that requires a fleet of cars or quite simply, makes you move around in your car a lot then this is a must-do. Take your branding on the road with vehicle graphics to spread your message and promote your business with every mile driven. When not on the road, park your wrapped vehicle in a high traffic area to get noticed.

Digital Signage
Using digital signage is a great way to get noticed because of the flexibility and creativity it offers. With digital signage, including LED screens, scrolling outdoor signs and interactive kiosks, you can customize and communicate multiple messages to people using colorful graphic, motion, and if desired, even sound.

Choosing the right option for your business
While several options exist as listed above, choosing what works for your business is key. Depending on where your business might be located coupled with the budget you may have in mind, a mix of a few options would be ideal. It is worth investing in quality branding as this lasts a long time and is generally a one-time cost if done right. Spend some time to evaluate the best mix for your business.

Conclusion
Multiple options exist to increase brand visibility. Based on location, type of business and budget, an owner or decision-maker can consider more than one option to best enhance their brand visibility.

Trade show Banner Stands: Putting your Best Foot forward

Digital economy has created various channels for marketing departments of business organizations to increase visibility and improve branding. However, creating the right metrics to measure the effectiveness of campaigns is a challenge: most businesses seek tangible numbers while digital economy is all about various intangible benefits.

In such a scenario, trade show participation continues to be a reliable mechanism to create impact and show numbers at the same time.

Tradeshow collateral

Maximizing ROI from tradeshow participation requires a well-orchestrated strategy. Marketing paraphernalia include brochures, handouts, takeaway gifts, order forms, booth graphics, banners and banner stands.

More about banner stands

Banner stands are one of the most popular tools in the hands of marketers. Unlike static booth graphics, you can move around banner stands with ease, and experiment with their placement at different locations for maximum impact. Furthermore, you can replace easily the artwork to cover a wide range of messages and offerings. For this reason, they go by the name Pop-up Displays.

Banner stands are of different types depending on the size, the location where they are used and the material used for the graphics.

Retractable banner stands

Retractable Banner stands, the most popular option, offer convenience and sophistication in a cost-effective manner. Here, the artwork is rolled into a floor-mounted base, rolled up and propped up with a pole.

  • Material: The artwork is generally made of vinyl, which is long lasting, easy to maintain, and comes with a protective carrying case.

  • Panels: These can be single or double sided with snap-open rail and tension control.

  • Base styles: These can be truss, pedestal or diagonal, in either anodized silver or black finish.

  • Artwork: Digital printing in full-bleed makes these banners stand out even from a long distance.

  • Illumination: Illumination is possible to maximize impact, as is done in retail showrooms and exhibition centers.

  • Cost: Common models feature pre-installed graphics, where the artwork retracts into the base; high-end models feature cartridges for replacing the artwork with ease.

Tabletop banner stands

Tabletops, as the name implies, are smaller and placed on a table. While the retractable banners entice visitors with catchy messages and graphics, tabletop ones make the visitor reflect on the offerings and arrive at a decision. Here again, the tabletops can be propped up horizontally or vertically and they come in different materials and sizes.

Poster stands

These are the oldest form of banners featuring a static pole and a panel for the artwork to fit in. These can be single-paneled with single or double-sided artwork or double-paneled where the panels are joined at the top and moved apart to form an ‘A’.

Backdrop stands

These are used when larger and heavier banners need to be flexibly placed at an event or commercial enterprise. The stand consists of a sturdy metallic frame made of two or three poles. The artwork is attached to the frame using custom hardware such as hems and grommets, snap rings, wire-locking rings and s-rings.

Banner stands may appear a simple and straightforward choice for marketing managers. However, for best results, you would do well to engage a reputed professional signage company who are update on innovations in this area and can maximize ROI from your expenditure.