The rise of the combination of mobile technology and interactive digital signage—what we call “intelligent visual communications”—is impacting our everyday lives and changing the way we think and react in the physical world.
Messaging and advertising strategies now integrate mobile, social media, and other technology with digital signage to create both an experiential environment and an online experience for the consumer.
This is part of a broader picture, in which financial services firms, including both retail and commercial banks, are engaging with consumers in unprecedented ways. One example is providing a desktop experience on mobile devices. A growing array of apps from traditional investment firms such as Fidelity, Vanguard, and Charles Schwab, to personal investing apps, such as startups Acorns Grow and Drive Wealth, allows consumers to track investments, allocate assets, and trade anywhere with an internet connection.
In addition to this, as wearable technology gains popularity, the financial services model is evolving. The consumer financial services experience is now a seamless interaction from the neighborhood brick-and-mortar location to the firm’s online and app presence.
Signage has become part of the overall trend.
Digital signage platforms and networked displays
As financial services firms develop digital strategies, digital signage platforms and networked displays have become important engagement tools serving as efficient distribution methods for targeted messaging and the call to action for mobile interaction.
Stratacache, a global digital communications company, finds that financial services clients now seek to incorporate a mix of content within their digital signage. Content categories include social media, such as corporate Twitter accounts; video financial services content, such as Bloomberg Onsite Pro; and targeted product marketing with content mix determined by location.
For instance, in-store content will range from “info-tainment” available while consumers wait in line to direct product marketing prompting financial specialist interaction. Point-of-decision marketing, promotions, and push communication in financial services environments can power consumer engagement and create a personalized, interactive experience.
In a recent study polling thousands of financial services consumers, Stratacache found that digital signage is now an expected medium of communication and that people perceive firms without digital signage as stodgy.
As baby boomers retire and Millennials grow to represent a larger percentage of the consumer base, this attitude will become pervasive. Financial services remains a complex product that requires customized financial advisement and digital signage serves as a platform to bridge the consumer, the financial advisor, and the physical and digital worlds. ( “Understanding The Role Of Digital Signage In Retail Banking” [registration required] )
Enhancing the consumer experience
Technology is also being used to enhance the consumer experience. Interactive touch tablets are now frequently used for engaging clients with a financial consultant.
Four Winds Interactive, a visual communications software provider, leverages tablets for one-on-one engagements to sell and promote brands. Four Winds provides tablets as standalone, small-form displays at counters or locations where larger displays are not suitable. The firm also provides services such as virtual concierges, which are intended to attract new consumers. Virtual concierges can be set up as self-service kiosks, allowing consumers to discover and learn about products and features on their own.
Building brand equity
Outside of retail locations, digital signage can be used as a powerful marketing tool to build brand awareness and encourage social media interaction. In successful campaigns to build brand equity, Stratacache has seen clients utilize digital signage to showcase corporate responsibility at the local and global level.
In one example, a firm highlighted its sponsorship of a local literacy program and the positive effects within the immediate community. In a second example, the firm highlighted its commitment to sustainability, bringing awareness to initiatives such as reforesting and “smart lighting” within retail branches.
Both campaigns garnered overwhelmingly positive consumer feedback. Corporate responsibility is top of mind for many financial companies. Digital signage is an effective medium to communicate that message.
Digital signage has also been effectively linked with corporate social media. Financial services firms find that by connecting corporate Twitter feeds to digital displays, corporations can communicate contests and giveaways, re-tweet positive customer feedback and corporate news in an informational, entertaining format. On an individual level, proximity networks created via beacons, wi-fi or otherwise, help engage consumers on their mobile devices and provide big data collection opportunities. Analytics, including business intelligence and data mining, grows mandatory for financial institutions.
Financial services leader Bloomberg is at the forefront of changing the way financial services firms interact with their consumers. Bloomberg Onsite Pro offers straightforward content management integrated into existing signage networks. Its flexibility of display offers a range of content types, including live TV, video, headlines, market data, and local weather. Award-winning content is displayed within audience-friendly video content and curated news packages. Flexible scalability allows deployment to a single location or across an entire network.
Consumer experiences today are about connecting with brands. Financial institutions must create complex networks that attract and engage consumers. At the same time, competition between screens is intensifying. Corporations are often competing with the personal mobile screens of consumers, underscoring the need for an effective, targeted digital strategy that syncs mobile, social media, and digital signage.
Author Mark Boidman will moderate the seminar, “How to Think About a Mobile Out-of-Home Strategy,” at Digital Signage Expo 2015 on March 11 in Las Vegas. For more information about the conference, visit www.dse2015.com.
About the author
Mark Boidman is a managing director at Peter J. Solomon and Co., a New York investment bank. He is responsible for the firm's digital media, marketing services, mobile, and out-of-home media practices, including digital signage and digital out-of-home. He has been involved in many of out-of-home media industry transactions.