LG

INDUSTRY PERSPECTIVES: Hospitality Industry Success is Technology-Enabled


Lyle Bunn

LYLE BUNN

Digital Media Strategy Architect, BUNN
Lyle@LyleBunn.com
Lyle Bunn is an independent analyst, advisor and educator providing digital place-based signage expertise to end users in the planning, design, sourcing and optimization of their initiatives. He has published more than 300 articles, whitepapers and “how to” guides and helped to train over 10,000 end user and supply professionals. See www.LyleBunn.com.

 

The focus was on customer experience during the annual hospitality industry technology exposition and conference (HITEC) in Toronto June 2017. Reservation systems, guest connectivity, visual media and analytics were at the top of the priority list toward increased guest satisfaction and business success.

New technologies are seen as key to helping hotel and hospitality facilities attract and meet the growing demands of the empowered consumer.

The experience journey in hospitality that includes dream, plan, book, travel and share is somewhat similar to the product purchase in retail in which consumers discover, compare, reserve, try, buy and share, so it is no coincidence that hospitality and retail are examining similar customer experience solutions.

Kurt Weinsheimer, SVP, Property Solutions at Sojern said during a conference session on technology disruption “Hospitality has undergone the same kinds of changes in price transparency and consumer sourcing options that retailers are experiencing.”

“We should not be schizophrenic about customer self-service such as cell phone as room key, as there is still plenty of room for service in the hospitality industry” said one hospitality insider who had attended the conference in each of more than twenty years of its annual operation.

Brian Clark, Partner at Hudson Crossing advised hospitality providers to “identify those technologies that meet consumer demands, including mobile and ease of payments that solve time and convenience expectations, and personalization capabilities that use CRM data to deliver relevant, informed offers”. His advice applies to a range of technologies.

Connectivity is at the top of the guest requirements list.“We understand that fast and reliable Wi-Fi is at the top of the list of services for hotel guests,” said Matthew FitzGerald, Director of Hospitality Sales Engineering at Ruckus. “As guests bring more and more devices that connect to the Wi-Fi network and the number of applications, such as TV casting increase, the demands on the Wi-Fi network will also increase. Multi-gigabit Wi-Fi is an ideal solution that will help hotels meet the increased network demands these devices and applications place on the network.”

“Seamless does not exist,” said Rob Miller of CCI Systems, noting, “It is about the quality and elegance of the tailoring as elements are integrated. Fitzgerald added, “Transparency in end user access is the key issue, whether it is cellular, Wi-Fi, LTE, or radio frequencies that are emerging in the consumer telecom spectrum”.

Text to guest was a subject of many discussions. Jennifer Green of Hyatt said, “All communications must be undertaken with the intention of caring for the guest. Text messages provide an excellent forum to capture sentiment based on key words that are used.

Raman (R.P.) Rama, VP & CTO/CIO at JHM Hotels added, “Text messaging is the next wave of customer experience. Call centers do not improve CX when scripts are inadequate or there is no ability to provide service outside the prescribed frame of response. Text messages are considered more like telephone conversations than emails by consumers, and every message and interaction presents the personality of the brand, so digital engagement has to have rules and principles just as other interactions and communications do. Text messages should be as courteous, contextually relevant and as person as possible. Texting tends to be a more personal type of communications, so the operator has to use full words, correct spelling and be aware that a permanent record of the interaction is being established, and may be used against the facility”.

Analytics were also top of mind for delegates. Brian Clark of the hospitality consultancy Hudson Crossing declared “Data is providing advantage to some and leaving others in the dust. Those who use data to gain advantage are in a position to make offers based on a predicted outcome”.

Brent McKay, the CEO and Founder of Bulzi Media Inc. is bringing extraordinary levels of customer awareness with focus on the hospitality sector. “By merging robust consumer datasets with our mobile intelligence platform we can tell operators much, much more than they currently know about their customers, and this can enable highly targeted ad campaigns, customized offers and mobile marketing.”

Providers of visual media were prominent at HITEC17.

“As the industry leader in hotel TVs, LG is pleased to showcase our latest innovations at HITEC 2017. In keeping with the proliferation of high quality images, Ultra HD content and innovative design within the TV industry, LG’s latest hotel TVs enable hoteliers to provide guests the state-of-the-art viewing experiences they’ve become accustomed to in their homes,” said Garry Wicka, head of marketing at LG Electronics USA Business Solutions. “Seamless guest experiences are a priority to LG, which is why our latest 4K hotel TVs feature LG’s Pro:Centric and Pro:Idiom content management systems, as well as LG’s webOS smart TV platform so that scanning content and questing service applications is as easy as the click of a button.

“Our latest technologies from the world’s thinnest hotel TV — the LG OLED Wallpaper Hotel TV — to the new LG STB-5500 Pro:Centric Smart set-top-box with a powerful 4K upscaler, enable hoteliers to provide guests premium in-room experiences that maximize their ability to relax and travel with ease” Said Wicka.

Hospitality TV leader LG Electronics USA Business Solutions is launching an advanced new content management system for hotels called Pro:Centric® Direct that features an innovative authoring tool using drag and drop widgets as well as new over-the-top Internet video streaming and casting services. The upgraded Pro:Centric Direct platform allows system integrators virtually unlimited design options for guest user interfaces while providing them access to new streaming services in partnership with system integrators.

“With the LG Pro:Centric Direct platform, integrators now have even more freedom to create customized layouts aligned to each hotelier’s specific brand standards for delivery of entertainment services and compendium information to hotel guests,” said Mike Kosla, vice president, hospitality, LG Electronics USA Business Solutions. “This new platform is unparalleled in its ability to interact directly with guests, making any hotel stay feel personalized while providing the guests’ access to a variety of entertainment options, including video streaming from mobile devices.”1

Amazon outlined their success in what they call “skills” to their Alexa voice interface platform. The 15,000 skills are akin to mobile apps but are subject matter specific to the Alexa platform which combines automated speech recognition (ASR) and natural language understanding (NLU). Amazon wishes to offer Alexa to manage devices in the guest room (lighting, curtains, etc.) but does not go further in describing guest benefit or how Amazon benefits. It is suggested that Alexa, as with interactive digital signage and kiosks now available underpinned by a clear business model, could serve as an automated concierge to respond to frequently asked questions.

22 Miles showcased digital concierge options along with visual wayfinding and the ability to push on-location and other relevant stay information to a mobile device. “We are getting more requests for mobile as a phase one function than ever before” said Tomer Mann, SVP, Global Sales of 22 Miles. Mann added, “we are seeing more demand from a range of corporations beyond the hospitality industry. I think hospitality is just starting to understand the need for mobile as a main functional guest experience as indicated by several large brands approaching us at HITEC looking for such a mobile strategy as they are in a proof of concept phase. They want to integrate the wayfinding, but also consider proximity based beacons or Wi-Fi integrations to help guests navigate or be introduced to in-house promotions or specials while walking close to a restaurant,
spa or other decision points”.

Jim Vair, President of Capital Networks Limited described how the firm’s roots in broadcast and cable television, along with its tools and experience help hotel owners create and manage their own custom in-room television channels. “These channels provide a useful resource for hotel guests by presenting local information, data driven content, local TV listings and local entertainment listings” Vair said, adding “Capital Networks is also promoting the use of advanced technologies (NFC and beacons) with in-room television channels to engage the guests’ mobile device and entice the guest back out of their room to use various hotel facilities and partnered local attractions”.

Regarding public facing media, the travelling public is quite accustomed to digital signage and getting useful information from screens all-throughout their journey. Within the hotel, digital signage is a tool to promote hotel amenities, meeting room schedules, flight information and loyalty programs. These same screens are an excellent opportunity to promote, upsell, cross-sell and build loyalty with customers. Touch screen and engagement with mobile devices (NFC and beacons) provide a new level of service to meet the needs guests.

In conclusion, the empowered consumer is adding pressure to pricing and reservation systems, to improvements to the guest experience and to visit connectivity and other service. The hospitality industry is therefore challenged with improved technology planning, assessment, sourcing, integration and investment validation.

HITEC, the world’s largest hospitality technology shows are planned for Dubai, UA (Nov 14-15) and Amsterdam (April 11-13, 2018). Watch for HITEC18 North
America information at https://www.hftp.org/hitec/.


1
Press release by LG published at http://www.digitalsignageconnection.com/lg-­‐unveils-­‐procentric-­‐direct-­‐hospitality-­‐management-­‐system

LG

INDUSTRY PERSPECTIVES: What LG’s OLED display announcements at CES17 mean to digital signage.


Lyle Bunn

LYLE BUNN

Digital Media Strategy Architect, BUNN
Lyle@LyleBunn.com
Lyle Bunn is an independent analyst, advisor and educator providing digital place-based signage expertise to end users in the planning, design, sourcing and optimization of their initiatives. He has published more than 300 articles, whitepapers and “how to” guides and helped to train over 10,000 end user and supply professionals. See www.LyleBunn.com.

 

The annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is used to unveil technologies to improve life. Mass market devices get the attention of businesses seeking to advance their brand experience and gain operating efficiencies.

Further introductions of Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) flat panels by LG Electronics followed the firm’s unveiling of this generation of displays during Digital Signage Expo in March 2016. Consumer purchases fuel the economies of production that drive retail prices down and satisfy upscale business demand.

At CES LG showed 65 and 77 inch OLED displays less than 3 millimeters in thickness that could be held on a wall with magnets and present sound using the display surface. Resolution and color presentation are simply extraordinary.

Architectural media and “techorating” are high demand applications for digital signage. Media engages consumers, enhances branding and increases the appeal of locations., all of which are high priorities in business to business locations such as corporate lobby and reception areas, and business to consumer environments such as stores, restaurants, galleries, museum and sporting facilities.

The LG OLED advancements reduce the gap between very high quality images and their presentation.

As content in High Dynamic Range (HDR) quality can best present products in fashion, jewelry, automotive and other categories where this is essential to merchandising that generates premium pricing and margins, this state of the art in content production has other applications.

In 2017, the movie Loving Vincent will be released. In a radical paradigm shift, 67,000 individual paintings have been created by artists in the style of Vincent Van Gogh. These are the content in telling the artist’s story around 28 of his most famous works. The ability to show the brush-stroke detail and true color in the works of this master artist is now made possible with OLED display.

This example of content composition in ultra high quality mixed with presentation offer indicators that digital signage is moving to its next level of compelling display.

Business expects to provide at least the level of in-home experience, so form factor should itself contribute to the wow of media engagement. The medium is the message. In using the latest display technology, businesses are inherently saying that their message is important, that they take pride in presenting it, and they place high value on the time and attention of their patrons.

lylebunnces

LG

INDUSTRY PERSPECTIVES: When “New” Really Means “New to Us”.


Lyle Bunn

LYLE BUNN

Digital Media Strategy Architect, BUNN
Lyle@LyleBunn.com
Lyle Bunn is an independent analyst, advisor and educator providing digital place-based signage expertise to end users in the planning, design, sourcing and optimization of their initiatives. He has published more than 300 articles, whitepapers and “how to” guides and helped to train over 10,000 end user and supply professionals. See www.LyleBunn.com.

 

Companies improve their results through innovating. Innovation is synonymous with advancement and in our world where enabling tools and solutions present constant opportunities, the challenges of selection is ever increasing.

“New” most often means “new to us.” This brings a key dimension of evaluation because “new to us” can mean that competitors for share of wallet, time and attention are already benefiting from the new approach. Leadership in our world is more often defined as being a fast follower or part of the early majority of users.
Bob Amster, Principal of Retail Technology Group sums this up in saying that “most follow, few lead,” adding that “innovation is dictated by a combination of imagination, perceived return, trends, culture and the personality of individuals making those decisions.”

The abilities to manage risk and for change management are some key ingredients of innovating.

Mark Ryski, Founder, CEO and Author, Headcount Corporation noted in a RetailWire comment “When it comes to innovation, retailers in particular need to focus on the critical few versus the trivial many of business challenges”. He notes “there are so many solutions available that determining which solutions to evaluate let alone implement is a problem. Retail executives need to be clear about their business objectives, set priorities and then narrow their focus to explore the solutions that can help them achieve these”.

Many innovations contribute to the accomplishment of a range of business priorities. Email and electronic commerce are good examples of broadly applicable enabling infrastructure, and umbrella approaches such as omni-channel marketing, customer relationship management and partnership strategy provide the context to assess the applicability of innovations.

Innovation only happens when somebody is expected to do it. Otherwise the force of inaction will prevail. Everybody in the enterprise must expect it from everyone above and below as a culture of innovation.

Patricia Vekich Waldron, Global Marketing Director, Retail, Consumer Products, IBM Corp cautions against trying to be incrementally better than the business next door, because consumers are measuring everyone against their last great experience regardless of what it was”.

Innovation in the “new to us” world can mean applying approaches that are proving successful in different applications. For example, quick serve restaurant drive-thru offers lessons to banking and parcel pick up. Museum, gallery and stadium media presentation offer lessons to malls and retailers. Corporate lobby display can take lessons from transportation messaging and trading floors.

Lee Kent, Principal, Your Retail Authority, LLC advises that “The first step to saying yes to innovation is to be innovation-ready by creating an infrastructure based on a core. A core is established by looking at mission-critical processes focused around customers, suppliers and employees”.

When this is slow to emerge, innovation centers should be established to be a force for improvement by identifying and advancing business, marketing, operating and technical opportunities that others may overlook or that span organizational boundaries.

Dynamic in-store signage is an example of an approach that improves the productivity of place, processes and people and positively impacts many areas such as customer engagement, location appeal, branding, merchandising, supplier support, associate training, safety improvement, hiring, loss prevention and others. Introducing this approach requires executive or innovation group stewardship.

Digital signage and place-based dynamic screenmedia meet the definition of “new to us” innovation definition and criteria of many organization. It’s technology has been well-proven across and within business sectors even as the content that it is used to present is specific to the goals of the individual business. It’s customer engagement and business development value through branding and merchandising support traffic generation and revenue achievement, as does it’s bringing vitality and improved ambiance in locations where it is used.

For some organizations, the challenge of advancement lies in more fully using the innovations that they discover. The processes used for test, trial and discovery can differ from the budgeting and operational approaches that would allow an innovation to be more widely applies.

Being innovative therefore entails defining approaches that are new to the organization, but also, advancing the ways that allow the benefits of these to be more fully realized.

LG

INDUSTRY PERSPECTIVES: Museums offer Good Customer Experience Lessons


Lyle Bunn

LYLE BUNN

Digital Media Strategy Architect, BUNN
Lyle@LyleBunn.com
Lyle Bunn is an independent analyst, advisor and educator providing digital place-based signage expertise to end users in the planning, design, sourcing and optimization of their initiatives. He has published more than 300 articles, whitepapers and “how to” guides and helped to train over 10,000 end user and supply professionals. See www.LyleBunn.com.

 

“Our location is all about the experience, the learning and the inspiration” said David Humphries, Chief Information Officer of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas, TX in hosting a tour of the facility for delegates of the ICX Customer Experience Summit.

Since museums must deliver an experience worthy of it being a destination and re-visit, a museum offers insights to retailers and other customer-facing organizations that seek to earn a consumer visit.

“We intend to inspire minds through an encyclopedic space that tries to address a wide range of disciplines in nature and science” said Mike Spiewak, Perot Museum Senior Director of Exhibits.

Consumers are willing to pay for the privilege and pleasure of a museum visit, typically many times annually, while retailers are losing sleep on how to earn a consumer visit, through which visitor needs, wants and aspirations can be met.

Retailers can take note of how digital place-based media can add vitality, discovery, information exchange and improved visit experience.

Many of the Perot Museum exhibits either included or were centered around a digital media experience. These ranged from sensor-triggered musical notes as patrons go up or down stairs to a panoramic view of the planet Mars presented on synchronized LED flat panels. Common approaches included gestural interactivity, touch screens, video walls and information display. One of the most engaging exhibits launches Ping Pong balls based on brain wave activity detected through forehead and earlobe sensors.

The museum visit experience offers the following lessons and guiding principles on digitally-enabled customer engagement:

  • It has to work. Digital experiences that are not operational (one exhibit display was closed for upgrade at the Museum) easily disappoint and de-brand unless an adequate explanation is provided.
  • “Cause and Effect” defines one of the most powerful paradigms of patron digital engagement, and it can be the basis of the gestural, touch screen and other interactivity.
  • “Learning styles must be considered to achieve impactful engagement” notes Humphries, adding that “people can learn through text, photographs, video or animated images that are published or interactive”.
  • Macro motor movement such as running, walking, climbing, stepping and other movement of body, leg, arm, head, etc. are the most engaging. These physically immersive experiences can be augmented with digital media to support the cause and effect, or augment the experience with a scoring or visualization.

Patrons experiences can include building it, playing with it or operating it.

Some commercial examples of applying these principles are available.

  • The Royal Bank of Canada invites patrons to place the coins from their pocket or purse on a table, which when detected illustrates how saving the amount of the coins could result in savings growth over time.
  • McDonalds invites guests to build their burger or place and pay for their order through a touch screen kiosk. By “gamifying” the order process they are also able reduce order counter staff requirements.
  • Retailers sometimes pose multiple choice questions as a way to provide information about product features and benefits. A suitable winter coat is more easily sold when customers are asked the actual temperature based on the combination of thermometer reading, wind chill and humidity.
  • A patron photo can be placed into a magazine cover template or morphed into a movie character that can then be emailed to the patron to help amplify a brand.

Flat panels bring a new level of engagement wherever they contribute to a memorable visit experience. Where a museum or science center can charge an admission or annual membership fee based on their thoughtful application of digital place-based media, retailers and brands can be rewarded by customer purchases, visits and loyalty.

LG

INDUSTRY PERSPECTIVES: Visual Vitality for Retail Locations


Lyle Bunn

LYLE BUNN

Digital Media Strategy Architect, BUNN
Lyle@LyleBunn.com
Lyle Bunn is an independent analyst, advisor and educator providing digital place-based signage expertise to end users in the planning, design, sourcing and optimization of their initiatives. He has published more than 300 articles, whitepapers and “how to” guides and helped to train over 10,000 end user and supply professionals. See www.LyleBunn.com.

 

B-o-r-i-n-g ! While some may say it and others are thinking it about a retail location, you can bet that consumers will be voting with their feet and not just their wallets on a possible future visit. Without the visit the conversion opportunity is lost, and so for lack of customer experience, the kingdom is lost.

March 28-30, 2016 in Las Vegas will be an interesting time for retailers. GlobalShop will feature education sessions and the show floor will include about 800 providers of design services, flooring, lighting and fixtures, all intended to make the retail location interesting enough earn a patron visits. Layout and fixtures will be planned, purchased and installed, and the store will be locked into that design and experience for many, many months to come.

From season to season, calendar event to calendar event, little will change until the brand that year-over-year traffic is declining, the shopper loop is more shallow and dwell time is shortening. Staff turnover may even become an increasing cost factor as associates become complacent or even leave for places that offer more income potential and fun.

Meanwhile, at the same time at the Las Vegas convention center at the other end of the strip, the 13th annual Digital Signage Expo (DSE) will be in full swing presenting solutions to the problem of how to make retail locations better, and at minimal investment.

Vendors, including LG (which many claimed “stole the DSE16 show”) will show how vitality, ambiance and positive energy can dramatically escalate the customer experience with compelling, relevant, better targeted in-store visuals.

GlobalShop delegates who care most about their brand identity and cost-effective retail design will likely make their way to DSE to visit LG and others of the almost 200 providers, many of which partner with LG. Perhaps they’ll hit the high points of GlobalShop on March 28-29 and visit the DSE show floor on March 29-30.

Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) displays were unveiled last year and will be on full display again this year at DSE by LG.

The vibrant colors of images presented, the Wow-factor in fashion, outdoor, destination, action and lifestyle media that can make the store a destination and the ultra-thin, modern form factor that can fit into any store design or architecture makes OLED from LG a digital display that can attract traffic, increase dwell time and amplify the brands like no other retail device.

The inherent ability of digital signage to present images that are most suited to day and time, and the major calendar events of consumer’s lives, mean that store refreshment and messaging relevance are as simple as posting new media materials through an easy to use media management desktop.

When attracting attention matters, nothing suits retail vitality, brand alignment and conversion messaging like digital signage. And no digital signage display is as compelling to consumers as OLEDs from LG.

LG

INDUSTRY PERSPECTIVES: The Power of Diversity in Technology Sourcing.


Lyle Bunn

LYLE BUNN

Digital Media Strategy Architect, BUNN
Lyle@LyleBunn.com
Lyle Bunn is an independent analyst, advisor and educator providing digital place-based signage expertise to end users in the planning, design, sourcing and optimization of their initiatives. He has published more than 300 articles, whitepapers and “how to” guides and helped to train over 10,000 end user and supply professionals. See www.LyleBunn.com.

 

Buyers of technologies and the firms that provide it have an inherent dynamic.

Sellers want ALL the business if they can get it, while buyers want best value in each element of what they purchase. Meantime, each is challenged to be productive and economical in their sourcing or supply.

Where applications of technologies fit naturally in operations, it can make sense to try to benefit from the economies of sourcing and certainly of supply. Digital signage is a good example of this, where a range of display types and sizes (such as are available from LG) can be naturally bundled into a single selection, purchasing, installation and operational process.

But these economies break down rapidly when the sourcing becomes too widely encompassing. Digital signage networks require different elements to comprise a technology ecosystem and each of these have the requirement of specific subject matter expertise.

Comprehensive sourcing breaks down when elements in the technology bundle do not naturally fit together.

Technology providers cannot be blamed for leveraging its sales efforts, in particular when trying to enter new markets dominated by competitors, or trying to accelerate the introduction of new products.

But where every sales call is an opportunity for the hungry supplier, end user buyers must be diligent in guarding their time and attentions in their need to be as productive as possible.

Facility managers are particularly vulnerable to these calls on their time by suppliers. Conglomerates that offer many lines of technologies that have quite different applications can easily gather their lines of business under the umbrella of one-stop-shopping, but this umbrella can become an overhead where specialized applications expertise is a critical success factor and it is realized that different applications do not really fit together and supplier expertise and value is uneven across product/service lines.

Imagine a hospitality or health care example – A conglomerate may offers flat screen TV’s built for best value in in-room viewing, as well as commercial grade displays for digital signage in public spaces, state-of-the-art OLED displays to wow lobby and event patrons, shielded displays for areas sensitive to electronic interference and interactive panels for teaching and management environments. It may also offer security equipment such as cameras and control rooms, and energy-related products such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, and even solar panels and environmental control systems.

Each has a different application and entirely different contribution to the success of the business. Each operates with different profit margins, support services, upgrade structures and a wide range of other aspects.

Just as a transit authority does not buy all its rolling stock from one supplier, as people buy apparel, sporting goods and food from different stores, and auto manufacturers source different components from different parts and sub-assembly providers, so organizations must look beyond one-stop-shopping to invest most wisely in the products that best serve their intended purpose.

Let the buyer always base their actions on what best suits their shareholders.

LG

INDUSTRY PERSPECTIVES: Change Management is the Key to Digital Media Success


Lyle Bunn

LYLE BUNN

Digital Media Strategy Architect, BUNN
Lyle@LyleBunn.com
Lyle Bunn is an independent analyst, advisor and educator providing digital place-based signage expertise to end users in the planning, design, sourcing and optimization of their initiatives. He has published more than 300 articles, whitepapers and “how to” guides and helped to train over 10,000 end user and supply professionals. See www.LyleBunn.com.


Some banking sector case studies of digital signage use offer useful insights to maximizing the return on digital signage investment.

The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) was named Global Retail Bank of the Year in 2014 and 2015 by Retail Banker International and offers its services in 37 countries. RBC was one of the first banks to use dynamic place-based digital media in branches and their way of applying it offers important insights to all customer-facing organizations as provided by Alan Depencier, VP Marketing of RBC to delegates of the Interactive Customer Experience (ICX) Summit in Dallas.

Depencier summarized that “Digital is as much a cultural change as it is a communications paradigm” in describing the changes that forward-thinking consumer-facing organizations are making in applying branch/store/restaurant digital place-based media.

He added, “One of the key challenges of digital on-location media, as part of an integrated client experience, is in its change management requirement in interior design, technology and merchandising. The elements of investment validation, budgeting, layout of the customer environment, design of the engagement experience including adapting the customer interaction and adding new skills all contribute to maximizing the value.

“What makes a bank most different from other retailers, and we are a retailer”, said Depencier, “is that we do not have any physical products. This makes our marketing in this highly competitive sector of particular challenge”.

“A key to our success” he described “has been in holding up the brand value proposition against the physical location. When you do this, improvements are readily indicated and these are the foundation for improved customer experience.”

“Lead with strategy and client experience intentions, and then select technologies to enable these in a way that delivers value “in the now” while enabling economies of operations and future proofing,” Depencier advised.

“Change management is the journey of learning how to do it well. Marketers learned how to do mass communications and today are targeting messages better than ever before, but all customer-focused communications is on the path toward intuitive engagement in which customer awareness and business goals are merged to meet the needs and wants of all stakeholders. Dynamic, technology-based engagement is one of the most effective ways of achieving this” said Depencier.

Visitors to RBC branches can see many examples of tactical engagement. For example, patrons could place the coins from their pocket or purse on a digital table, which when detected illustrates how saving the amount of the coins could result in savings growth over time.

Other gamification that inform, inspires and engages customers include presenting true/false or multiple choice questions as a way to provide information about product features and benefits.

Digital place-based media should enable staff success and move the brand forward in “conversational commerce”. Depencier noted, “RBC advisors are inclined to learn what customers are learning and asking about through the on-location messaging”.

Bank of America has also been a long-standing user of in-branch digital signage. In 2014, the marketing division launched a concerted effort to further exploit the benefits of their system that had been installed in over 2000 branches.

The bank provided an in-depth briefing of the six major creative and ad agencies it used for video production, marketing campaigns, outdoor advertising, online promotion and static poster programs to rally agency efforts toward improved in-branch content. Not only did the Chief Marketing Officer want to better harmonize communications along the customer’s path to purchase/service, but also the “transmedia” opportunity was clear. Content created for use in other communications was to be re-purposed where suitable for in-branch displays that spoke to patrons as they were in the branch.

This process was very successful as the Bank Of America was recognized with an APEX Award during Digital Signage Expo in March 2015. Change management to better take advantage of the digital signage investment was focused on better engaging marketing communications suppliers so that their contributions could also benefit in-branch communications.

While creative production for the online experience made significant contributions, it was the agency that produced static posters that had the most to offer. Chicago-based based TPN (which had nominated Bank of America for the APEX Award), leveraged its capabilities to craft simple, core messaging by adding animations so the combination of the medium and the messaging maximized marketing spending.

In summary, change management in support of the brand objectives is the key to the success of the in branch, store and restaurant digital signage program success. When the current brand objectives are considered against the current on-location experience for patrons, the ways in which in which the medium can serve the enterprise become quickly evident.

Digital signage is one of the brands most influential communications tools for customers that express and want alignment with the brand, and the products and services that are promoted on digital signage help both the brand and the customer benefit from the brand-product-customer interaction.  

LG

INDUSTRY PERSPECTIVES: End Users and Suppliers Do Better When Yoked


Lyle Bunn

LYLE BUNN

Digital Media Strategy Architect, BUNN
Lyle@LyleBunn.com
Lyle Bunn is an independent analyst, advisor and educator providing digital place-based signage expertise to end users in the planning, design, sourcing and optimization of their initiatives. He has published more than 300 articles, whitepapers and “how to” guides and helped to train over 10,000 end user and supply professionals. See www.LyleBunn.com.


Over an 18-month period, a large grocery chain had a standing time of 2PM on Thursday afternoon to hear from vendors about digital signage. A vendor calling to try to book a meeting was delighted to have a date offered by the secretary, who simply flipped forward to the next available Thursday at 2pm and added the vendor name.

Whoever was able to attend from the grocer’s impacted departments would participate in the meeting. Hundreds of vendors presented, with some presentations including partner suppliers that might be part of a final solution. Many would request, and be given a second date to focus on key elements.

Not very far into the information gathering process, the grocer came to believe they knew more about the medium than the vendors did. Whereas vendors were focused on the element of their particular expertise, the end user was seeing the big picture comprised of these individual elements and assessing what would be required for them to benefit most from digital signage.

“Everyone believes their part is the most important” I was told by someone from the grocer “, and very few had any idea of what it would take to truly do a cost/benefit or investment analysis, or create an overall project plan.

Despite this time consuming exercise, and the benefits that it could deliver, no investment was ever made. “Hearing about all the moving parts, system complexity and lacking the time or motivation to assess application possibilities and real ROI, we decided not to proceed,” said the grocer representative.

What are the lessons?

  • Digital signage needs to integrate into existing operations and do something better than existing approaches.
  • The property operator (in this case a retailer) is but one stakeholder in the decision process. In retail, merchants matter.
  • Technology follows intention. Presenting a solution when there is no appreciation for the problem or opportunity is a waste of time.
  • Business value motivates investment.

All these point to the “pearls before swine” maxim and the concept of “equal yoking.”

Many suppliers presented their solutions while meeting the end user eye-to-eye. They were eloquent in presenting the “how” of digital signage that they would bring. They described the trunk, legs, tail, tusks and other parts of the elephant with which they are familiar in great depth, while overlooking the importance of establishing why an elephant is important to the enterprise.

A stronger positioning for the supplier would have been to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the end user to determine how the future could be different.

An “equal yoking” would result, as when beasts of burden are joined by a yoke placed around the neck of each to harness and direct their individual contributions.

Each of the end user and the supplier have a role to play. As each oxen or pulling horse in the yoke is entitled to expect the contribution of the other, lest they go in circles, so it is with end user and supply organizations.

Clarifying, refining and even validating the description of benefits that are to be derived is a mutually beneficial effort. The end user gets investment validation while the supplier is provided the opportunity to describe how their solution will maximize the benefit.

A wise procurement executive said it simply as we were about to go into interviews of a short list of possible turnkey solution providers. He said “I just want to learn one thing… are they here for our benefit, or their own. We have done our homework and know what we require”.

The end user can become the swine toward which the best of suppliers will not cast their pearls and those who bear little burden for describing their intentions will loose the benefits of being equally yoked with suppliers that are most capable of delivering highest value.

LG

INDUSTRY PERSPECTIVES:
Turning Retail “Who Cares?” into “Oh Yea!”


Lyle Bunn

LYLE BUNN

Digital Media Strategy Architect, BUNN
Lyle@LyleBunn.com
Lyle Bunn is an independent analyst, advisor and educator providing digital place-based signage expertise to end users in the planning, design, sourcing and optimization of their initiatives. He has published more than 300 articles, whitepapers and “how to” guides and helped to train over 10,000 end user and supply professionals. See www.LyleBunn.com.

 

The fun of shopping and joy of discovery that comes with it must never die. Beyond being a necessary evil to meet our needs, retail responds to our “wants,” and our aspirations are fueled and realized in large part through retail.

The promise of the retail store, or a food services establishment or bank branch is that our time and buying power will be respected. When he declared, “the medium is the message,” media guru Marshall McLuhan was in part commenting that the use of a medium inherently declares “We care what you think about us and that you come to know us better”.

The store “promise” is also that staff will be able to answer our questions in the fair exchange during a purchase transaction. When information is not provided “caveat emptor” (let the buyer beware) is assumed to apply.

Is it any wonder that online commerce is realizing such growth. Browsing, discovery, navigation, information and ordering can all be accomplished by moving just a few muscles, while comfortably parked in a favorite easy chair at home, or in just a little extra time at the office.

What happens to the brand equity through the investment by brands? To the tactile experience of product consideration and to the outing and experience of shopping with friends, family and colleagues… and to the bricks and mortar, shelf stocking and staff of physical retail?

Media outlets such as the Wall Street Journal and retail analysts such as Virtual Logistics are reporting on the financial struggles of retail.

While retail has lived by the 3P’s mantra including product, price and promotion, this drum-beat has been marching consumers toward online shopping and away from retail experiences. So a more empowering 3P’s mantra has emerged that is focusing retail on the productivity of place, processes and people. This is where dynamic place-based delivers high value.

Digital media breathes new life into a physical retail. It allows brands to tell their story and sell their story. It can illustrate the lifestyle and context of products being offered and provide information that enables selection by the consumer and it motivates purchase, up-sell and cross-selling. Dynamic signage reinforces key product messages that staff can use to achieve better results, and in-store promotional campaigns can be executed to reflect changes in inventory and buying propensity.

Successful retailers deeply understand the critical importance of aligning their brand with the identity and aspirations of their customers. In serving this need, nothing is more compelling than illustrating how consumer desires will be fulfilled.

The video wall in Hollister stores with its webcam view of Huntington Beach, CA aptly reinforces the surfer culture, just as fashion show runway footage does so in clothing retail, and outdoor action footage does in sporting goods stores.

“Visual is our new language” advertising pundit Paco Underhill of Envirosell declared during his address at Digital Signage Expo several years ago. His insight was intended as commentary on digital signage, but has become, as with Marshall McLuhan, the urgent call to reinvigorate the retail experience.

Management and Marketing guru Peter Drucker has said, “Marketing is the whole business seen from the point of view of its final result, that is, from the customer’s point of view”.

Let’s return that “Oh Yea!” spirit to retail with vitality, context and information that can be so easily provided by dynamic digital signage.

LG

INDUSTRY PERSPECTIVES:
What Big Data means to Digital Signage


Lyle Bunn

LYLE BUNN

Digital Media Strategy Architect, BUNN
Lyle@LyleBunn.com
Lyle Bunn is an independent analyst, advisor and educator providing digital place-based signage expertise to end users in the planning, design, sourcing and optimization of their initiatives. He has published more than 300 articles, whitepapers and “how to” guides and helped to train over 10,000 end user and supply professionals. See www.LyleBunn.com.

The cliché, catch all phrase “big data” has confounding marketers who ask, “where do I start” and “what do I do with it”. Everyone in the marketing supply chain should be aware of the value that they bring to this dilemma and opportunity.

For digital signage providers and end users, the digital-ness of digital place-based media offers some immediate and high value answers when systems are organized to capture and apply insights.

Insights are the result of using data in all its levels of abstraction from data to statistics to information to knowledge to wisdom.

As will be presented in a July webinar hosted by BUNN, each level of data can contribute to the communications goal supporting both capture and exploitation.

Data results from transactions. An inherent value of digital signage is that it is always working to be causal in transaction generation in the form of purchase requests and enquiries and in leading the consumer down the path to purchase.

The “muscles” of digital signage are flexed further toward intended outcomes when cause and effect are the basis of message presentation.

Think of a quick serve restaurant (QSR) drive-thru in which the digital order confirmation board is used to suggest menu options. Order data related to time of day, weather conditions, number in the drive-thru party or a revisiting patron provide data per transaction which when reflecting multiple transaction are statistics and provide information that can be used to predict probable future transactions.

In that same drive-thru, the suggestions of different menu items that can augment the patron order offer additional insights, which when applied in future can change the transaction pattern.

This allows the QSR to move from message presentation to applying a prescription of suggested items relative to the order, and then to a predictive model of menu suggestion. The result in each case is higher revenue and margin per transaction.

“I never guess. It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts,” notes Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Author of Sherlock Holmes stories. Dr. Holmes knew about the application of data.

Facts have a transformative influence on business. Truth, as reflected and supported by fact, are the basis of modern commerce.

This transformation in business began in the “management by objectives (MBO)” movement of the 60’s, and computational power that began on the 70’s led rapidly to Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) which sought to align resources with priorities. Operational efficiencies in back office functions such as improved inventory awareness, point of sale and supply chain management spawned automated management based on business rules with attention paid to exceptions.

Most enterprises now have adequate back office systems. The insights model of data levels of abstraction has transformed business operations.

Through this, marketing has shifted slowly from being primarily a creative exercise into the rule-base science of revenue and profit-delivering efficiency.

Marketers believe intrinsically that they are creating a new reality for their product, service or enterprise. This creativity is manifested in jingles, tag lines and icons drummed into consumers with huge advertising budgets. It was the age of Mad Men.

Every marketer, C-Suite and investor begged duplication of the past branding successes of “a little dab’ll do ya”, Kodak-moments and the Rice Crispie Kids. Madison avenue asks for, and get, the money.

As the internet of the 90’s began to transform marketing through increased access to information and the e-commerce and mobile commerce, and social media that have followed, agencies have simply added these arrows to their quiver of billable services.

Through this, brands and retailers have focused on gaining return on bricks and mortar investment, most recently adding “owned” media, such as place-based digital signage to “paid” media investment.

Now, digital signage has become essential to activating revenues. The traffic that is delivered to the premises by “paid” media is activated by the on-site digital signage that is “owned” by the enterprise.

Analytics associated with on-location digital signage use, are the transformative influence on the modern and growing business.