Tag Archives: Advertising

Celebrating (and Reflecting on) the 1st 6 Months

We’re at a good halfway point in the year, so I think it’s an opportune time to look back on the first 6 months of this blog and reflect.

All in all, I think I’ve done a fairly good job of finding a relevant and clear point of view.  It’s evolved from something narrow when I started to a bit broader now.  Most everything has been grounded in OOH – I just look at things with more experience and exposure as time has gone (and goes) on.  I’m also surrounded by different people in my everyday life who have impacted my thinking.  So, naturally, my point of view will evolve.  I just don’t want it to slow me down and/or turn into something crazy and incomprehensible.

I need to write more.  I’m averaging about 10 posts a month.  I feel like I need to double that so I’m providing a steady source of information.  I’ve asked a couple of my work colleagues, all of whom are very bright and have an opinion and aren’t shy to voice it, to provide guest posts on as regular basis as they can.  So, hopefully, you’ll not only get more content, but you’ll get more (and different) perspective.  If any of you want to provide a guest post, just let me know.  I’m open to it.

I haven’t found the secret sauce of doing conferences.  Blogging, tweeting, meeting people, and just plain going to the conference is a lot of work and certainly requires some juggling.  I’ve provided a decent mix of “live streaming” + my perspective.  I feel like I need to focus on getting in front of some of “names” there and interview them (or something.)  I can see how that would be valuable.  So, any of you names at these conferences, take this as my initial request :)

Other than that, I’m pretty happy with everything.  It’s still very new and the test is really going to be sustaining over time.  I’m committed to continue learning and doing and writing.  I expect big things and as a result, everyone reading this will experience that with me.

I’ve met some really great people through this avenue and that, more than anything, is the thing I’m most proud of.  This blog allows for these words to live on until some Y2K catastrophe, but I hope to keep those relationships for much longer.

I thought it would be a fun exercise to share some of my favorite posts.  I’ve enjoyed reading back over everything and for those who are new to this blog, it might help you navigate through some of my thinking up to now.  To those of you who are not new to this blog and my regular readers (again, thank you guys for regular readership!!), I’d love to hear some of your favorite posts.  So here they are, broken down by month (I picked a favorite per month):

January – The 11th Screen Puzzle – this was my 3rd post and really where I felt like I was able to really give everyone a sense of where I’m coming from and what to expect from this blog.

February – Keep It Simple Stupid – here, I showed a few examples of “simple” and effective Interactive Out of Home (IOOH) and an example of not so simple and not so effective.  To me, there are many different kinds of enabling technologies that make OOH solutions “interactive.”  These technologies are vital, not only for the industry, but for the future of marketing.  On one hand, these technologies allow us to merge the offline with the online and on another hand, they allow brands to make “complete” experiences.

March – Facebook + QR Codes + A Good Idea? – a little snarky here, but this was on the heels of doing a big QR code initiative for one of our clients and all I was reading was how Facebook was going to save QR codes.  That’s right, I said “save” because here in the US, I think they might have died before they were even born.  I personally think there’s value to QR codes, if used the right way + proper eduction, but how many of you have used QR codes and like it?  I just don’t know that we, as consumers of information through technology, need this particular technology.  Point is – is Facebook going to save them?  I don’t think so.

April – Why Business Cards and Video are the Same to Me – one of the un-IOOH-related posts, but something that allowed me to provide my perspective on more of what I do everyday.

May – Are You an Expert Learner? – I am of the mindset that if you aren’t learning, you’re wasting your time.  I don’t particularly care for know-it-alls, but I really like learn-it-alls.

June – Kinect (and others) – “DOOH” Killers? – the launch of Microsoft’s Kinect should really open eyes on what can be done sooner rather than later with human computer interaction.  It is particularly compelling for anyone in the “DOOH” (if you’ve read this blog, you know how I feel about that moniker) industry.

And here we are in July.  Many more to come.

Great Mobile Engagement from Kioskcom

Yesterday, I wrote about Pongr, a new mobile technology that I experienced over the past week and found to be valuable and easy – two traits that should aim to be the bedrock of any campaign, certainly any mobile campaign.  Today, I’ll show you another example, but from the standpoint of a brand doing this, through the use of another valuable & easy technology.

Kioskcom/The Digital Signage Show – the brand in this case – did a commendable job of extending the experience through mobile last week during their conference, particularly with the use MS Tags and SMS.  I was delighted when I registered and picked up the guide/agenda/planner and saw a MS Tag at the bottom of the guide:

With instructions, no less.  Again, it’s such a small thing that is often overlooked, but I think you can never be too detailed on instructions with new technology.  They provided step-by-step instructions so anyone (literally, anyone) could follow:

Since I’ve done work with MS Tags, I already had the app installed on my phone, so I immediately took a picture of it.  I was directed to the Kioskcom home page where I could navigate wherever I wanted.  This wasn’t necessarily what I found to be the most valuable.  It was when I opened the guide and saw MS Tags on every page:

This was where the value to me came in.  First, this guide was the only reference material that I used throughout the conference and I actually liked it.  It fit in my bag, was easy to manage, included everything I needed about the show, to the succint detail that I needed, and then with the use of these tags, I was able to get the one-off details that I needed, when I needed them.  For instance, if I wanted to see one of the speakers’ bios, I could easily access it through the tag.  If I wanted to see details on exhibitors, I could easily access them through the tag.  I didn’t have to thumb through a big, hard-to-manage show guide that most often comes with any of these shows.

And if that weren’t enough, they set up a special short code to “opt-in” to receive regular show updates via SMS.  So, instead of relying on any of the kiosks or digital signs (ironically enough) or audio announcements, I was again able to get the information I wanted when I wanted it, through the channel I wanted it on.

This, really, is a perfect example of a brand utilizing many channels to engage with their audience in the most appropriate way – here, the intention was to extend utility.  Mission accomplished.

I think the true power of “out of home” as an advertising and communications platform is that it can bridge the gap in the story – the story that you can get from your TV, then all of the different stories you can find on your computer, and now even more on your mobile phone.  Marketers utilize these channels on a daily basis and they’re engrained in the ecosystem.  I think traditional out of home is in this mix, too, but I think we have such a unique opportunity in front of us with all of the new technologies at our disposal that the true value is extending the story through interactivity outside of the home.  And “out of home” to me is not necessarily billboards or kiosks or “digital” signs.  It can really be anything that we interact with outside of our homes – tables, floors, cars, magazines – whatever.  Pretty soon, everything will probably be considered a “sign,” so I like to think of the space as extremely broad.  (Tangent – in fact, “digital signage” is still immature right now and I don’t know that we’ll see it become mature.  I think we have a great chance of leapfrogging its maturity and welcoming something entirely different to the mix.  This would be everything around us.  For another post, I know….)

Valuable and easy.  Two traits personified again through the use of mobile technology, thanks to Kioskcom/The Digital Signage Show – or should I say the new, appropriately named brand, Customer Engagement Technology World.

Shout if you have other examples of valuable and easy through mobile.  I’d love to hear them.

1st Session of the Day: #20

Had a work conference call right before this 8:00 session.  All I’m going to say right now is QR codes and cars are keeping me busy.

This session, Creative Tactics for Integrating Digital Signage in Different Environments, has a good panel:

  • Steve from Symon – “Visual Communications Solutions” of which digital signage is a part of
  • Jeremy from Razorfish – emerging media, enough said
  • Bryan from OpenEye – unique experiences through digital media in various environments

I’m going to hear the stories that OVAB mentioned yesterday that we need – the case studies.

Landscape is constantly changing – number of things that are competing for consumer’s attention:  traditional media, new media, social media.  Everywhere an individual turns today, they’re being bombarded by information.  It’s a different world today, more people are gravitating to online media, now mobile elevating in importance, social, too. 

Just having a digital sign on the wall doesn’t mean your message is going to be delivered, seen, absorbed.  You have to do something unique.  If you’re going to keep people from looking at their handsets instead of the digital sign, you have to do something uniquely different.

Bryan (OpenEye) – what do we do with content (non-advertising based content)?  A huge question?  Create identity to help strengthen the brand.  Emphasize the brand values, culture.  Help educate the viewer.  Perception is that content is video – not so – look at other dynamic media formats, for example Flash.  Look at a way of using content to create a very visual, unique experience.  How do we keep the screen fresh?  Keep people from overlooking it?  You have to create a consistent message across other mediums.  There’s a way to pull all that together and put something effective, consistent on digital signage.

(He’s showing examples)

Sovereign Bank example – incorporate media into the environment, not product promotion.  Create unique experience for the customer.  They developed a series of videos/content of people within the bank, also to show local businesses.  All outside of advertising.  Also product promotion, but used it in an educational way.  Approach this as extending the relationship with the customer and the brand.

Smithsonian Institute Museum of Natural History example – problem with foot traffic, trying to get people from one location to another, to other exhibits.  Another challenge – need to incorporate into existing environment, couldn’t move the exhibits.  They looked at the architecture, the area – how do we get screens into the existing environment?  And not oversaturate the environment?  This is a non-advertising based network.  The ROI is how big the person’s smile is when they leave.  (I’m hearing this consistenly here.  Perhaps OK for non-advertising based networks??)

Jeremy (Razorfish) – It’s about understanding the audience that’s going to be there and how to best impact them.  What’s the dwell time?  It’s a delicate balance.  Every time you do one of these, you learn a little bit more.  Test and learn process.  4 examples:

Microsoft example – Windows Phone 7 Series.   Big touch screen that allows people to understand how the phone software looks/functions on a large screen, with the absence of phones themselves.  Only had 6 weeks to do it.  Thought about the content first.  Animation, video.  Instructional.  Experience.  From technology perspective – multi-touch, directional audio, Windows 7 based.  Utilized their Razorfish Touch Framework.  Also had tracking mechanisms built in as well.  Will use the data to evolve the solution.  Design – they worked closely with the MS booth guys.  They really wanted to draw people to the screens.  One of the biggest challenges is to reverse engineer the animations.  Needed to spend a lot of time making sure it was consistent with the animation on the phone.

Retailer example – back-to-school initiative, wanted to drive to denim dept (jeans).  Side by side touchscreens on a vacant storefront.  Covered the storefront in a static wrap.  Full-screen attract loop, made some contextual inferences – Starbucks close by, so mentioned something about the coffee.  Heavy use of interactive video – video based on user’s decisions/interactions.  A lot of that interactive video content was put on the website.  We’re able to get more bang for the buck.  Timeout screen if not interacted with after a period of time.  Technology – rear-projection film.  Their proprietary touch framework and analytics framework.

Audi example – surface experience as part of a tradeshow booth.  Developed a complimentary iPhone application, too.  Car configurator.  Really rich 3-D.  Various POVs.   Audi-branded “puck” (I believe called a “muster” in the surface developer crowds) that brings up additional menus.  Multi-user, multi-touch.  Simple gesture that switches the whole interface around if others are interacting with the same surface.

AT&T example – surface experience in retail store.  Most difficult considerations – do you want people sitting?  Standing?  Elevated?  Fixture around it?  How do you “present” it?  Challenge with managing that number of people around it and the whole experience (like standing).

Questions –

  • How do you see these experiences evolving?  A: mobile phones, social networking…digital signage is just a complimentary medium.  It doesn’t stop, it extends. 
  • How do you get past the barrier of intimidation, particularly for touch screens?  A: It’s about finding ways to attract people into the experience.  It’s the content.  But then, it’s all about how it looks in the environment.  When it comes to multi-touch, gesture-based, the iPhone has really paved the way.  But it’s a consideration – either visual or text-based, instruction needs to be there.  Also, are there any on-site support (retail store employees, car salesman, etc..) 
  • Nationally-known brands – who are the leaders in embracing this technology/experience?  A: From OpenEye’s perspective, there is “private” clothier who is looking to create these types of experience.  Smaller organizations like that seem to embrace this type of technology.  From Razorfish’s perspective, one of the most innovative retailers is Ralph Lauren.  Touch screen windows for years.  QR codes, too.  From both perspective, there’s not a lot of case studies out there, so there is a tremendous amount of educating that comes along with talking to clients.

My thoughts – These guys are marketers, I can relate to everything they’re saying from personal experience.  They’re saying all the right things.  Cool examples, but examples that I read about online or in trades.  1 hour is not enough time for a session like this.  So many questions, primarily around the future.  I wish I would have gotten to hear Steve share some examples, but he just moderated.  Off to coffee with him now.

Fundamentals: Three Questions to Ask Yourself

I am reminded, almost every day, of one of the first things my mentor told (and gave) me when I started my career.  His name is John Glenn (not the astronaut) and was/still is very much an old-school advertising guy.  I always thought of him like a football coach who coached back in the day – Tom Landry-type (he looks nothing like Tom Landry or a football coach for that matter) – who believed in fundamentals instead of the “hot” new thing, the sizzle, the passing attack and/or the Wildcat if you will.  I’m so glad he was put in my path to teach me because I believe he taught me the “right” way to do things, certainly the right way to look at things.  I often ask myself in various situations, “what would John do here?”  He has made an indelible impact on me. 

Anyway, early on in my career, he gave me a book by Hank Seiden – Advertising Pure and Simple – and said,  “read it.” 

Then, I read it.

It was a hard read.

When he asked me how I liked it, I gave him a blank look, said, “it was good,” and left it at that.

Then, he gave the book to me.  And said, “look, if there’s one thing that you take out of here, take this” (and I will paraphrase):

When thinking about doing anything in this business, ask yourself these questions, in this order, and you’ll be just fine:

1.  Who are we talking to?

2.  What are we trying to say?

3.  How are we going to say it?

At the time, I didn’t have the capacity to really understand the context to put it in or even what it meant.  But I always thought about it and soon enough, I understood exactly what it meant.  This is what I am reminded of, and more importantly, what I try to remind myself of, on an almost-everyday-basis.  In brainstorms.  Strategizing.  Consulting with clients.  In everything, I try to think about these three questions and apply them to my work.

More often than not, I realize how many people don’t think about these questions, much less the particular order.  I’m surprised at how many jump right to the “How are we going to say it?” part without considering the audience (who) and the message (what).   It’s like they’ve lost all sight of the fundamentals.   

Over and over again, I see examples of going straight for the “hot” new thing. 

Sometimes, after answering the who and the what, the solution is a hot, new thing.  Sometimes it’s not.  But most often, it’s the right thing, or a right thing. 

What fundamentals do you fall back on?  I’d love to hear from you.