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How to come up with innovative ideas with your digital signage

When it comes to delivering successful campaigns, traditional wisdom is that the ones that tend to be the most successful are often the ones that grab your audience’s attention, and are memorable enough to remain in their heads for long after the first contact with them. So, that poses an interesting challenge when you’re coming up with a new campaign for your digital displays – namely, how can you deliver something fresh and creative?

Well, if you need a bit of inspiration, here are a couple of useful jumping-off points!

What medium is best for your message?

Every successful campaign has a really clear core message, which you’ll probably already have established. (After all, you won’t get very far in the planning process unless you have!)

So, the first question it’s best to ask yourself is: what kind of medium is that message best suited to? If it’s a public service message for example, then you may well want to consider conveying that in text. If so, you’ll need to work out how best to present that text, considering factors such as how long it’ll be on screen, how large it’ll be, and what other elements you can use to highlight it (such as imagery, graphics, or specific uses of colour). On the other hand, if you’re advertising an aspirational brand, or a destination business, then you may want to consider video as the best way to present it.

As part of this process, you’ll naturally start thinking about working out your audience’s standard expectations, so you can work out which ones you’re catering to, and which ones you might be able to subvert for maximum impact.

Competitor analysis

The next step is another logical one, and that’s to see what your competitors are doing. Make sure to give yourself the time to analyse their strategies in detail. There’s a range of elements to consider here – don’t forget to take into account what kind of medium they used, what messaging, what tone, and the locations in which they chose to deploye their campaigns. True, you may not have access to their KPIs or their progress towards them, but you can use your professional judgement to a degree, as well as picking up a general sense of how well it resonated with their target audience. How much chatter did these campaigns generate in the industry?

If you don’t have any competitors, all’s the better – the field is yours for the taking. So that leads you on to your next question.

How can you subvert expectations?

Now then – this is both the riskiest and most rewarding question you’ll need to ask. And it brings with it a whole host of smaller ones. What will your audience be expecting? Where will they expect you to contact them? What sort of tone will they be expecting? Sometimes, even something as simple as just changing the tone of your messaging can make a huge difference to how well it resonates with your audience. US chain Wendy’s is a high-profile example – over the years, it’s perfected a slightly combative but humorous tone that’s earned it a loyal following both within its customer base and beyond.

While it’s not necessarily a “sassy” tone that always has to win the day, it’s also worth noting that any kind of change in tone requires careful judgement – some demographics will be more receptive to it than others!

Alternatively, changing the time or location in which you try to connect with your audience could equally make a big difference to engagement. For example, not many people expect to have lunch advertised to them at breakfast time – but if the presentation is memorable enough, or you can create a strong enough association in their mind, then by 11am it might still be all your audience can think about.

Consider all the capabilities

One of the brilliant things about LED screens is that they offer a huge range of creative possibilities over static posters, giving you countless ways to play with the final effect. For example, how can you use sound to an unexpected effect? Not necessarily through jump scares, mind you (although that’s one option) – but also by complementing or even contrasting what’s happening on screen, possibly even to humorous effect. To be honest, the use of humour is worthy of consideration in and of itself – some of the most effective campaigns are often the ones that make people laugh.

Size is another option you can play with – you can achieve some remarkable feats in perspective with video walls (especially if your viewers don’t immediately clock that’s what they’re looking at). Or, you can think of ways to leverage the dynamic, reactive nature of LED screens – one popular way to do this is by making them into interactive mirrors, which is often a reliable method of increasing engagement.

Alternatively, you can go with a more covert method. Look at the campaign by Battersea Dogs Home for example, in which they engineered for a puppy to ‘follow’ potentially interested adopters across multiple digital displays across a large shopping centre. True, as case studies go it’s a relatively old one, but that just goes to show how memorably creative the idea is!

If you ever find yourself stuck, don’t forget that one of the most effective ways of communication is through storytelling, so that’s always a good cornerstone to go back to. Ultimately, what’s the story you’re trying to tell, either through your marketing, or through the product or service itself? And if you’re planning to use digital displays to tell that story, that potentially poses another question – how can you (even briefly) make your audience a part of that story?

Ultimately of course, the final creative decisions are up to you. Whatever your plans, if you ever need any guidance or a word or two of expert advice, that’s exactly where we can help. Here at Scanlite, we know our digital displays inside out, including the many ways in which they can be used to achieve your goals as a business. Find out more about how we can help your business by giving us a call today on 01253 302723, or email us at We’re always happy to help!