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Digital Signage and Brand-building

By Lyle Bunn

The context and positioning of Digital Signage as a brand development and marketing communications tool is described, noting its relative support for dominant and challenger brands, the relationship between brands and retailers and contribution to the in-store experience. A glossary of key terms related to Digital Signage has been posted with other articles at www.btvplus.com - Resources.  

DIGITAL SIGNAGE, sometimes called In-store TV or Digital Display Networks, is of critical importance to brand managers and retailers because of the new capabilities it brings to branding, their success and to the definition of their relationships with retailers and markets.

Digital Signage can do what no display medium has ever done: present a variety of controlled, dynamic digital images in shopping locations and at the point-of- purchase.
Branding, merchandising and other information in video, text or animation can be presented on electronic displays that might include multiple regions, each controlled by playlists that can present different content files every few seconds if need be. Digital Signage is not just a new ?better than static signage display capability that exploits the inherent economies and flexibility of ?digital, but is a dramatic shift in the business communications that underpins retailing.

To brand is to gain a favored position with consumers for a product, service, experience or organziation. Branding is to create revenues that are sustainable with positioning for greater growth at contained costs.

Not only can dominant brands stay in that position, but any advertising in the brands category supports the brand leader. Brand building has its rewards and sustaining dominance has tangible rewards. The chart below illustrates the ROI on a range of 3500 products based on market rank. Dominant brands generate better business results and so building and a sustained effort through advertising on their part is warranted.

That is, unless the sale is made by a challenger. In-store profile offers an immediate opportunity to motivate the sale, and create a new customer in the best way that brand management can persuade.

This new ?on-location alternative display medium, presents a significant threat and opportunity to brand management because it is ?outside-the box. It changes display processes, improves display location and reduces the entry level of investment for consumer branding and sales activation spending. It heralds an enormous change in marketing communications a paradigm shift, or what the Harvard Business Review called a Blue Ocean Strategy in an October 2004 article.

Digital Signage adjusts the brand management playing field - dominant brands get an upper hand, but challenger brands can gain a market share rapidly. 
Digital signage has emerged as an integration of technologies in response to the business need for lower cost, more reliable, more flexible, more cost-effective marketing communications. Early providers of digital signage (though this is changing) are not the people who deeply understand ?audience, ?consumers and ?categories, as brand managers do; but are those who can bring enabling tools that better business processes. It is a sharper tool for the hands of capable marketers.

Enabling technologies take hold when the value in using them exceeds their cost, and when the capabilities, cost and availability of component technologies can be effectively integrated. Digital signage has been at this point for several years, the greatest impact being the ongoing reduction in the cost of electronic displays. Digital signage is in the ?killer app category. It is a proposition so compelling that it heralds a widespread shift in business processes, supply chains, partner collaborations and the speed of transactions. See the BTV+ Whitepaper entitled ?Digital Signage as the Next ?Killer Application, published in April 2004.   

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Related Keywords:digital signage, BTV, business television, In-store TV , Digital Display Networks


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