The classic New Year’s song “Auld Lang Syne” starts off with the rhetorical question “Should auld acquaintance be forgotten, and never brought to mind?” This is usually taken to mean, in modern English, should we forget old friendships? The answer, of course, is no — the long-standing relationships we have are the important ones, the vital ones.
The end of the year is a time of reflection and appreciation, and a chance to make resolutions for the future. When thinking in terms of your digital signage strategy, now is the perfect time to look at your successful endeavors during the past year (and some of the not-so-successful ones) and plan out the coming year so you can maintain and build on your relationship with your audience.
You’ll want to come out of the gate strong with new ideas and approaches right from the get-go. This will build momentum that will help you make next year even more successful than this one was. So now is the perfect time to reflect back and then look forward.
First off, you need to determine what defines “success.” What messages and campaigns were successful in the past year will depend on what you measure, and how you measure it. Did you see more participation in programs and events that were promoted on your digital signs? Did people follow your calls to action? Was there a time period during the year where you saw more interest and engagement than other times of the year? Why do you think that happened?
Get some data together and then get your team together for a discussion about what you accomplished, and what you wanted to accomplish but didn’t. A year is a long time, so there were probably some lessons learned along the way that can be integrated into next year’s plan as well. Look at every way you gathered ROI information and see what needs to be altered.
You need to always be improving what you do, gathering feedback and data, and then fine-tuning the system. If you haven’t done an audit or survey in a while, maybe this is a good time to do so. You should also look at finding ways to streamline what you present — maybe now’s the time to get a few content subscriptions to free up your staff to work on more targeted messages.
The software you’re using has no doubt has at least a couple of updates during the year, and there may be some new features or workflows that can make your team’s jobs a little easier. Your vendor may even have a new product available, and migrating over might be just the thing to inject some fresh energy into your communications strategy.
It could be time to swap out some screens or other hardware. At a minimum, make sure everything has been updated to the newest drivers and OS versions. And think about new locations for digital signs — expanding to more buildings or floors, or maybe just moving screens to other areas where there’s more foot traffic. Maybe now is the time to start thinking about building an amazing-looking video wall in your lobby?
It also might be time to refresh your training — sometimes people forget that they have ongoing training available to them and don’t use it. Take a look at what your vendor offers and use up those training hours before they expire. If you don’t have a package, seriously consider getting one. It’s very easy to fall into routine behaviors by year’s end. Find out what’s possible and what can be streamlined or improved. You can also take advantage of free digital signage learning resources like blogs, white papers, and podcasts to polish your communication and design skills.
Come up with a few long-tail campaigns to try out next year, with measurable goals at the end that can give you good hard data on the effectiveness of your communications. And you will almost certainly want to adjust and refresh your look a bit — redesigning layouts, finding new high-quality images and videos, introducing new data sources, etc.
Since engagement is the goal, gamify things in the following year whenever possible. Try to get your audience constantly interacting with your organization, prompted by what they see on the digital signs. Interactivity is becoming more and more important, so think about introducing some touchscreens if you don’t already have some, or increasing the depth of information on offer if you do.
Since more and more organizations in every sector are adopting digital signage, there’s a lot out there for you to look at. See what other places are doing with their digital signs — use them for inspiration. If you really want to see what’s new and cutting edge, consider sending a representative to one of the many digital signage conferences that occur each year.
And you don’t have to wait until the end of the year to do all this. Plan a similar evaluation period mid-year, and make adjustments based on what you observe and discover. Then, when December rolls around again, look at the year as a whole and see how you can do even more.
There is no more powerful communications tool than digital signage. If you aren’t using everything your system offers to the fullest, then you’re missing out. Celebrate your past successes, and duplicate them where ever you can. Learn from mistakes and find ways to improve upon them in the future. Technology is always changing, and so is your audience (and their expectations), so your digital signage strategy should be too.