Multi-branch and multi-location organizations including banks, retail locations, and quick service franchises have always struggled to communicate efficiently and effectively. Data is often either inefficient, difficult, or expensive to communicate rapidly. This is especially evident for high-resolution corporate messaging and branding, which traditionally, must be printed and shipped to locations from central headquarters, but also as a major factor in the speed and efficacy of internal communication.
Here, the advent of the Internet, social media, and Intranet have done a great deal for helping employees to communicate across branches. Most can now seamlessly work together from across the globe, with tools like Slack, Skype, and even email. But, these tools struggle with corporate communication. Everyone is overwhelmed by the plethora of emails in their inbox and few people actually read them.
In fact, the average organization has just a 37% open rate for internal emails. And Slack updates are gone almost before they’re read, unless you have dedicated (and therefore ignored) channels for specific internal messaging.
Here, digital signage fits uniquely between the old and new. It’s physically present, forcing individuals to read messages. But, with digital updates and cloud access, most displays can be updated instantly, across all locations, from a single computer. Employees see internal communication as it appears, without it cluttering already over-crowded email and chat forms and without the risk of it being ignored for more pressing matters.
Consider Digital Display Placement
Digital displays are relatively easy to place around the office. Here, most experts recommend installations at central points, such as the lobby or entrance, in front of elevators, at coffee stations, in cafeterias, and in direct view of workstations. Studies show that digital signage attracts as much as 62% more attention than static signage in the same locations.
The goal should be to have signage that draws attention but that isn’t distracting. For example, most displays placed at workstations should likely largely show team-relevant KPIs and information, rather than constantly pushing internal messaging.
Choose Cloud-Native Applications
Not every digital signage application is cloud-native, but yours should be. Cloud tools support remote updates, real-time data, and central management. Most also offer local updates and control, while enabling a central branch or headquarters to push information out using scheduling and publishing tools.
How might that work? Organizations have traditionally distributed branded from headquarters by printing and distributing posters, a costly, error-prone process. Sending print-ready files online is costly and slow due to the sheer size of the files. Printing and shipping files out pre-made results in delays and issues in case of errors or updates during the printing process.
Leveraging cloud-based digital signage, you could distribute that same messaging with no delay or cost other than Internet. Once designers finish messaging, it can be uploaded into a digital signage software tool, scheduled to play on displays at any location on the network, and delivered as quickly as an email with a large file attachment.
Most importantly, once delivered, cloud tools allow editors to update messaging in real time, to change information as it updates, to fix errors, or to tailor posters and messages to individual brands in the network. And, with real-time data implementation, even simple safety messaging and videos can include live data like safety KPIs, motion sensor data, and warnings when tools are being used incorrectly.
Focus on Interactive Displays
Organizations often struggle to engage employees with internal communication, whether for change management, safety messaging, development, or advertising. Digital signage offers numerous tools to increase engagement, including live data, social media, and interactivity through touch screen displays.
That may be important for brands, which can remind users of a personal development course and prompt sign-up immediately. Or, campaigns targeting employee recognition can ask employees to share a compliment for another employee, to see it live on screen (although filtering is necessary).
Context-driven rules used by many digital-signage software content managers also mean you can utilize sensors, integrate live data from rosters and schedules, and integrate equipment to actually engage employees by name when sharing updates.
The application heavily depends on the capabilities of the digital signage software solution you choose, but they are there and you should look for tools that support interactivity.
Implement Both Education and Motivation
Digital signage affords the ability to push product information, brand information, and sales data to employees in real time, across every branch. If a new product launches, employees can have it on a screen in front of them seconds later, which they can immediately use for sales or service. Employees can track KPIs like production, team goals, company sales, customer satisfaction, or other relevant details (on an organization-wide basis) in real-time.
Whether your application results in pushing notices simultaneously to every office in the organization, pushing customized messaging to each location, or aligning offices on joint schedules and projects, digital signage supports seamless integration for data, updates, and real-time synchronization across all locations.
Today, some of the most popular internal applications for digital signage include equipment and room booking, roster and schedule management, social media feeds, employee engagement and HR projects, corporate notices and updates, safety messages and training, organizational dashboards such as KPI dashboards, and project or team alignment.
These same displays can also be used at a lower level, by individual branches or franchises to communicate local information, by departments, and by teams in need of displays to communicate updates, information, schedules, and more.
Digital signage can do a lot for improving the quality of communication between locations, simply because it offers efficient, quality, and visible information. While it certainly isn’t the right solution for every organization, you likely could benefit from a cost-benefit analysis to determine if digital displays will solve problems, how they will work in your organization, and if the investment is worthwhile.