Using Entertainment in Your Digital Signage

In my last blog, I discussed why you should add entertaining content to your digital signage (DS).  In this next part, I’ll discuss what type of entertainment you should use, as it makes a big difference.

At this point I hope I’ve established the need for entertainment in your DS system.  So now you may be thinking, “OK, I’ll buy that, but where do I get it and what should it be?”  The answer has everything to do with what your readers will find interesting, and almost nothing to do with what you do or don’t like.

In other words, you want to try to use what your employees will like best, what will attract them.  Often managers will criticize what DS administrators use as too silly, cheesy, whatever.  But if it attracts employees to the display, that’s all that matters.

For example, any big advertiser, say Coca-Cola, uses advertising to get across their ‘message,’ e.g. selling Coke soda or Dasani water. They use entertaining TV shows to get people to read their messaging.  They don’t care what the entertainment is (within limits).  Think about it: Does Coke buy ads on American Idol depending on whether or not their executives like singing?  I guarantee you that has nothing to do with it.  They’re looking for eyeballs to get their messaging in front of, and we communicators should be doing the same.

We too have our ‘messages’ that we’re trying to communicate, and the type of entertainment we use to attract people shouldn’t matter as long as in falls within the bounds of good taste.

I recently got a call from a colleague, who is a DS administrator at a large, multi-national manufacturing corporation. She told me that she was getting static from a senior manager for using trivia in her company’s DS.  The manager thought it was silly and irrelevant to their important company messages.  I asked her if their employees like it and she responded enthusiastically, “Yes!”  She added that if she didn’t update it often enough they complained.  This is exactly what a good, healthy DS system needs… viewers who are always checking for the next tidbit of information.  That’s because engaged viewers will also be regularly exposed to the important business issues that are, after all, the reason we all have DS systems in the first place.

So try it all – trivia, sports, comics, horoscopes, whatever.  Your local newspaper (if you still have one) probably has a page dedicated to these items – take a look there to get some more ideas.  You can find them all widely available on the Internet.  Copyright law is something that you’ll need to consider, so be sure to read the rules and disclaimers from your content source.

Have fun coming up with your entertainment… the more fun you have with it, the more fun your readers will too… and they’ll actually read the business content from that grumpy manager who thinks entertainment content is a waste of time.

Frank Kenna III
May 23, 2012

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