Digital Displays Tout Advantage: They Can Be Tailored to Each Branch
Members in the Newtown branch are primarily young families concerned about building savings for their children's college education, while those in Innerburb tend to be empty nesters interested in boosting their retirement savings.
The same marketing message may not resonate in every branch, but digital displays allow members in different branches-in fact, at various times and locations in each branch-to view content tailored to their interests.
Only a few years ago, many credit unions hesitated to start putting screens in their branches. It was expensive, and creating content was cumbersome. But a study by WireSpring found that the cost dropped nearly 23% in 2009 and was down almost 50% since 2004.
Paul Stull, vice president of marketing at Arizona State Credit Union, indicated that working with the systems is much easier than it was a few years ago. ASCU has digital signage in all its branches with a total of more than 60 screens.
"We use them maybe a little differently than digital signage," Stull explained. "Basically we use them as part of our branding. We have what we call 'brand walls' in each of our offices. The video is part of that wall. We even do that in the lobby in our headquarters. We have a number of screens in our headquarters and a large screen in the middle of a wall that is on a balcony as you enter the corporate headquarters."
The screens were introduced at ASCU about four years ago when the credit union was rebranded. In addition to promoting products and services, the branding features images of colorful Arizona scenery.
"The colors we use on the screen are pretty much brand colors, so they fit into the branding scheme of the location," Stull noted. "The displays are changed very, very frequently. When we begin a marketing campaign with an idea, an artist will come in to help illustrate that. Then the art we create for say a print campaign that might appear in our newsletter or a newspaper ad is transformed into a video piece on our screens. We also use that same video on our website. It's a great way to remain consistent across all media."
The screens are used to inform the membership about various issues, such as the annual meeting or a call for candidates for the board of directors.
Just as content can be tailored to each branch, it can be adapted to specific locations within a branch. One video stream may be playing in a waiting area while another is shown in a zone with teller traffic. Streams in corporate headquarters also differ. For example, there may be messages to employees from human resources. Promotional materials also appear as a way to keep people who are not on the front line aware of what the credit union is offering.
Stull emphasized several guidelines for making the most of digital displays. Keep them fresh, he urged. In addition, they need to mesh with the credit union's brand and image, and not stick out as a major departure. They should also be consistent with what the credit union is doing in other media.
Lyle Bunn added that digital displays can cut perceived waiting time. Bunn is principal and strategy architect at Bunn Co. in Brighton, Ont., and is considered an industry expert.
"We see digital displays being employed to better achieve the communication goals of a financial institution," he said. "There's nothing magical about it."
As for costs, "What we see is a replacement of posters that are typically behind the teller counter or in the waiting area. So it's kind of an apples and oranges comparison because in that branch there might be a rotation every two to four weeks of the static printed signage."
Bunn noted that "hyper-local" is a buzzword in digital signage, referring to how messages can be tailored to specific locations in different ways.
"Imagine having a new loan officer starting at a branch, for example," he said. "The ability to basically merchandise that loan officer and increase the meetings that person would have is an example of hyper-local marketing."
Content can also take into account language preferences, such as French or Spanish, in different branches. There's also another buzzword, "day-parting," with messages aimed in the morning at commuters rushing through on their way to work and targeted later in the day at business people making deposits.
The first challenge in digital messaging, he continued, is clarifying the communication goals. The second is making sure the technology selected is appropriate to achieving those goals. If you want to publicize local branch personnel, you want to make certain the technology allows you to accomplish that.
Bunn suggested credit unions seeking younger members-those who grew up with their eyes locked onto a screen-can bring more energy and vitality to their messages with digital signage. Beyond that, the message can be used to drive members to the website, texting or other mobile commerce.
But what about older members?
"The elderly love it," Bunn declared. "The text size on the digital sign can be increased so they can read it more easily. One of the recipients of the DIGI Award was a network of digital signage in old age homes. It won an award because it was so loved by the residents. The memories of elderly people may sometimes fail them, but the ability to put up more messages that would apply to that person actually had them looking at the displays more often and being reminded of things they might otherwise forget.
"The cost is declining very, very quickly, the technology has been more fully integrated so all the individual pieces don't have to be connected together, and no special expertise is required to install or operate the system. This is a major, major trend."