The DNA of Award-Winning Signage

Lyle Bunn


Digital Media Strategy Architect, BUNN
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


Awards commend innovation and best-practices. They recognize intelligent investment and allow everyone to celebrate in advancements. They make us wonder who contributed and who benefited. But what is in the DNA of an award-winning application of digital signage.

While the medium serves a rapidly growing number of firms across every sector of the economy for patron, shopper, traveller, staff and student communications, it is most fully embraced by the “needy and the greedy,” those whose survival is most dependent on cost-effective communications, and those at the other end of the scale that have a veracious appetite for greater productivity of place, processes and people.

Most nominees in digital media award programs such as DIGI, APEX, Customer Experience, POPAI or Infocomm follow a similar script. A problem or opportunity is addressed by the use of digital media. Since this describes virtually all digital signage initiatives, the real merit-worthy differentiation lies in the “how” of planning, investment and the application of the right tools to achieve results.

Award winners live in a digital signage “moneyball” world in which data drives decisions.

  • The magnitude of the problem or opportunity is articulated.
  • Possible outcome scenarios are described as benefits are to be realized.
  • The costs of the sourcing and operating options are quantified.
  • The merit of investment is validated and considered against other priorities.
  • The right people are engaged and actions are taken. (See a previous blog concerning the right digital signage team).

The data and information elements of the options are typically described as a comparison of the costs and benefits of different options. This is itself a challenge given the range of options available and the skills that vendors exhibit in presenting their “solution”.

The sourcing options are then viewed through various “lenses” that allow the end user to define the approach that best suits their culture, overall priorities and capabilities.

The DNA of award-wining signage initiatives clearly demonstrates how the problem was overcome or the opportunity was realized.

Digital signage is knowledge-based industry and projects cause an overlap of the priorities and expertise of different departments.

The best of the best digital media projects are a demonstration of consensus-building and collaboration under strong leadership. The initiative are exciting to the enterprise and express the will to be different and be better.

The solution solves the current need while enabling new approaches to experience, engagement and viewer targeting to be applied. In focusing on “the now,” immediate return on investment is realized, and the future-proofing concern assures that incremental improvements can be sustained, and will not fall prey to debilitating operating costs and “work-around”.

Award winners deliver quantifiable benefits that validate and far out-weigh the costs.

Every digital signage deployment should be undertaken to distinguish itself in the benefits that it will deliver. Plan that your project can be numbered among those that provide “wow” in terms of quantified benefits, extraordinary presence and efficiency in undertaking.

Past award-winners offer the shoulders that every new initiative should stand on and new award-winners define each new level at which the bar is set.

Awards offer recognition to a job well done, and they make it easier to gain funding and resources in future. When you undertake a new initiative or take a current one to new levels – go for the gold!