Successful digital signage for internal communication
Digital signage is part of the digital workplace. What are your recommendations for a large organization wanting to invest or make a new investment in digital signage?
Recommendations by Lars Neckman
Digital and communication strategist
Identify the flows in an office and where people congregate
An office usually has two target groups, employees and visitors. Start by finding the places in the office where many people congregate, pass by or spend time. Then decide which surfaces are most suitable for external or internal communication. Identifying flows and where people congregate makes it easier to decide which message should be communicated in each place. Some messages may be for both target groups. At present, for example, the burning issue is how an organization deals with Covid-19.
Make all information channels work together
Digital signage is one of several communication channels in a large organization. It is often difficult for an employer to know exactly where employees receive internal information, which makes it additionally important to see the big picture and make the various channels work together. The first priority should be to get messages out and not worry about the channel. For example, if intranet news also needs to be displayed on digital signage, the text should be adapted to fit both formats.
Who owns the channel? In my experience, an organization achieves the best results if there is clear ownership. For example, the communications department should be responsible for coordination and have principal responsibility for the strategic content. Then there will be a group of employees from various units who jointly manage the channel. This group knows exactly what is happening in the organization and is able to create interesting, informative content together. The facilities manager knows about practical arrangements in the building such as fire alarms and lift repairs. The IT manager is responsible for ensuring that the systems work technically, particularly for live events. Marketing has information about ongoing campaigns, and the sales manager knows the sales figures. HR can talk about staff matters.
In large organizations, it is a good idea to publish both central and local information. Let each office manager publish material that is of interest to their office and helps make the channel more familiar. Working together internally gives you a living channel with content that is always up-to-date and relevant and appeals to employees.
Put effort into the look and feel
From my own experience, I recommend thorough preparation to create nice graphic templates. This can be done in-house or by a partner. Investing in graphic design is worth every penny. If you have nice templates, you ensure that all material complies with your graphic profile, that content can be updated fast and that it looks nice and attractive. So you already have the wow factor when you launch.
Use the same format
The displays can be in either landscape or portrait format. Which looks best? Well, that’s a matter of taste. My tip is to have the same format for the majority of displays as that makes it easier for the people who maintain the channel. The more unique solutions, the more administration. And if there is more administration involved, the result is often that the material is updated less frequently, which ultimately means a worse user experience.
Try to be open to new areas of application when you plan your investment in digital signage so that you do not limit future opportunities. A need that currently does not exist in the organization may well emerge in a month or six months. For example, don’t scrimp on media players because you might suddenly want the displays to display different messages. Choose a solution that permits you to use your existing infrastructure. A display may fulfil one purpose initially, but later there might be a request to have streamed content or the ability to display live events. Try to think flexibly when it comes to each individual display. Sound is usually considered disruptive, but speakers are a good option if you will have webinars or campaign videos.
Sustainability should cover all parts of an organization, i.e. also digital signage. Set the displays to be on at certain times. If the organization is closed in the evening and weekend, the displays should also be off. Naturally, there should also be a process for renewing, reusing and recycling old displays.
About Lars Neckman
Passionate about communication, digital workplaces and digitization. Many years of experience at Telia, where he contributed to a shift from a culture of teleconferences to the establishment of the digital workplace, with the focus on internal communication and flexible content.