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Part 2. Be Engaging

November 15, 2011

1. Engaging content connects with the viewer on an emotional level.
2. Be sincere – fake it and the audience will lose touch.
3. Borrow best practices from static out-of-home and other mediums.

Engaging content is sincere and inviting – creating an emotional conversation with the audience. It takes relevancy to a new level.

Of course, showing content about teeth cleaning procedures in a dentist’s office is relevant, but it often fails to engage the audience. No one’s paying attention because it’s dry, boring, and doesn’t make them want what you’re showing. With out-of-home content, you have less than 5 seconds to capture and keep your audience’s attention. A video loop and a news crawl just won’t cut it.

Connect Emotionally.
The “content consumer” is making a decision when THEY choose to look at your screen. Grab with them via likes, wants, needs, loves… emotions. This means, tremendous attention to detail in your message and production value – something the burgeoning DOOH content creation industry isn’t yet known for. Great design captures the audience, reaching out for emotional responses. The consumer doesn’t care about software, hardware, or anything else other than the picture and message on the screen. Engage them with the highest quality presentation and tightly crafted messaging.

Now, Be Sincere.
Engaging content never tricks the audience, doesn’t insult them and can’t ever be force fed. Engaging content invites participation, creates desire and/or asks questions. If nothing else, your invitation starts an internal monologue. As their thoughts brew, you earn recall. Fakes and Cheats hurt your message in so many ways, and you never get a second chance with that viewer.

Watch, Listen and Learn.
A lot of print out-of-home engages the audience better than much of today’s DOOH content. Creative Directors know they have the shortest possible attention span with out-of-home, and their best work stops people in their tracks. DOOH needs to enhance and build on the techniques used to invite and engage the viewer, not assume that the added capability of animation can improve bad content strategy.

Firms who get DOOH content (Arsenal Media!) research as much as they create – then set the best practices of the entire ad industry in motion. Before you start your creative, sit in a train station, mall, etc. and watch how people consume out of home media. Then study Graphis, OneShow, and other A-level Ad competitions. Finally, hunt Vimeo, where the best broadcast designers live. It’s about watching, listening and learning what techniques EARN attention. Embrace Print - when it’s really right, it engages with just a single frame.

Back in the Dentist’s Office.
If the client is a dental office, of course the messaging and content must be relevant to dental hygiene. But it certainly doesn’t have to be dry and boring. Reach out and embrace the viewer, encourage – tease them. Get them to want what you’re showing – no matter what it is. It’s not about budget, but rather what the creative team invests personally in the content development.

The best print earns attention with a single picture; the best TV spots somehow make you rewind the DVR. A lot of DOOH doesn’t have to suffer these challenges due to a captive audience. But too often, it pisses away that amazing opportunity with worst practices.

It’s time to start using this advantage to connect with the audience in exciting ways.
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Earning the Content Crown

October 11, 2011

Over the next weeks, Insteo will be rolling out five separate articles about what content MUST be to capture attention on Digital Signage. There have been a lot of white papers and blog posts with the title ‘Content is King’ – and these are great resources. These articles are Insteo’s internal guiding principles for content creation and are quick reads – all together the 5 articles will be a white-paper-light.
Our 5 important rules (and next 5 blog posts) are:Be relevant. Provide content that fits your unique audience.Be engaging. Create a conversation you audience want to participate in.Be interactive. Make a promise to the audience that you’ll reward them for participating in.
Be inspiring. Reach out to the audience to get them to want more.
Be measurable. Make your goal an undeniable metric — conversions, looks, anything traceable.
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Part 1. Be Relevant

October 25, 2011

Great Content on Digital Signage captures the audience through relevance. Being relevant means speaking directly to the unique audience you’re talking to. This one isn’t a surprise, other blogs and white-papers list the importance of Relevance. With place-based networks, we generally know exactly who were talking to, so why do so many companies, including ones that are supposed to deliver eyeballs to advertisers get this so very wrong?

I was in San Francisco in early summer and stopped into Ghirardelli Square. Their dozen outdoor screens were showing March Madness basketball team profiles, months after the NCAA tournament concluded. This might have been great content in the right setting and at the right time, but in a touristy area, months after the tournament, this content fell flat. Punctual content will catch the eyes of consumers and have them checking their schedules to make time for your product.

There’s a café digital signage network with several installs near our office in Long Beach, CA. The content consists of evergreen headlines from 3000 miles away. The social media content isn’t local– showing Foursquare check-ins for places in other parts of the country. I’ve never seen anyone looking at these screens, because they are just background noise. Half the time we walk into one of the cafés that has this network they have switched the input on the screen to show regular TV. Hyperlocal content is always interruptive and speaks directly to the viewer – making them feel unique.

Interactive content, especially interactive via mobile takes relevance to another level. Once someone has interacted with the screen, they can be treated uniquely, putting their “name in lights”. This creates one-to-one relevance with the digital screen, and can be extremely impactful for a brand.

Now that we’re relevant, we’re ready to engage the audience. Next week we will discuss how engaging content will begin to spark a conversation with your consumers.
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