Use These Madison Avenue Techniques to Improve Your Digital Signage

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how often your digital signage (DS) content should change and mentioned the Rule of 3.  That rule says you should leave a message (i.e., piece of content) up long enough for the viewer to see it three times, and then remove it.

That conflicts slightly with a respected book on advertising, “Advertising Reach and Frequency,” which includes this graph:

Advertising Reach and Frequency

It shows that the optimum number of repetitions is about 4, and still effective at 5.  So which is correct?  The methodologies are different in each case, but for the purposes of workplace digital signage, using a range of 3 to 5 is a good rule of thumb.  That is, you should time your content so that it stays up long enough for the average employee to see it 3-5 times.  And then, just as importantly, remove it to keep your DS system uncluttered and vibrant.

In addition to repetition frequency, there are two other considerations you should keep in mind, again straight from the advertising industry.  The first is that better known brands need less repetition.  So a Coca-Cola ad needs less repetition than a Foxon Park one does (except for around here in southern Connecticut where it’s a favorite!).  What this means for workplace digital signage is that the typical subjects that you cover, such as quality of service reminders, need less repetition than a unique message about a new product rollout.

The second lesson from the ad industry is that running ads right before purchase are most effective.  Those familiar with point-of-purchase advertising know this concept well; hit ‘em with the ad the instant before the customer selects the item off the shelf.  You want to do the same thing in your workplace.  For example, put up your meeting reminder a day before the meeting as opposed a week before.  Or put up those production KPIs at the beginning of the shift as opposed to the end when production is done for the day.

By keeping these things in mind, you’ll have simple and easy ways to leverage the investment in your DS system.  Remember, you need to sell your ideas to your employees just like the big brands do, so it makes sense to take some ideas from their playbook.

Frank Kenna III
December 2, 2013

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