As we write this, it is March 18th, 2020. The Coronavirus marches on.
Rightfully — thankfully — marketers and communications professionals are sharply focused on what is happening right now with Coronavirus. The entire world is working 24/7, creating content to help everyone cope during this time — in real time.
Digital signage (Digital Out of Home/DOOH) was purpose-built for this moment. It's one of the best weapons we have for combatting fear and misinformation and supplying targeted messaging to people who are deeply concerned about the situation.
At Quast Media, we take solace in knowing that networks installed at our large healthcare clients' facilities and public venues allows them to address the situation as it evolves. Their signage allows them to modify messaging when needed, anywhere on their network.
It reminds us of what an incredibly valuable tool digital signage can be in the public domain — anywhere people transit from one place to another. It's what makes DOOH one of the most useful channels outside of the internet to get mission-critical messages out to people.
However, one of the challenges for digital signage is that many public venues are shutting down.
Entire workforce populations are barely occupying the spaces where digital signs often do their best work. Many messages are now streaming to scantly populated hallways, rider-less elevators and closed office doors. It's both ironic and spooky.
This doesn't render your digital signage solution irrelevant though. Flexibility is the very nature of DOOH and, in particular, digital signage. It can continue to add value in the face of this disruption. The key is keeping a proactive mindset and preparing for when and how your signage network will become essential for delivering information again.
Here are a few strategies you can employ to put you and your company in a good position to help your employees and other audiences cope with the next phase of this journey:
1) Work smarter. Borrow. Communicatively speaking, today is already yesterday. Rather than spending your energy researching and creating content, leverage what is already available. Below are some links to Coronavirus PSA video and signage content from reliable sources that may address the things people are most concerned about.
2) Think tomorrow. One way to produce value in this environment is to start thinking about the eventual return to normalized life. As people resume their routines and public movement, there will be a period of psychological and physical reorientation. Our communities will need new information, and digital signage will again be on the forefront of engagement. Right now is a good time to be developing messaging strategies that will have relevance in two weeks to a month or more from today.
3) Work on tomorrow's content strategy — today. Workers will return. Foot traffic will increase. Your workforce, customers and community will look for digital signage to provide new kinds of updates, reassurances and positive thinking. They will recognize your readiness and appreciate your efforts. Here are several topics to jump-start your thought process:
Directory boards and wayfinding help customers and even employees reorient themselves to their surroundings, new routes, etc.
Event listings remind audiences of notable dates and events, which also promotes optimism and a sense of normalcy.
Analytics dashboards help a workforce stay connected to company performance and individual goals.
Staff recognition always has value. On the heels of a crisis, you will undoubtedly have uniquely inspirational stories to recognize.
Motivation from leadership, thoughts for the day and company mottos can work well to pull a community together.
Emergency alerts – Take the time to templatize alerts in case of a relapse into crisis.
Social media boards can keep employees aware of issues affecting your company or the pulse of your industry.
Community boards let everyone know what you're doing or supporting for the betterment of the community.
4) The show must go on. So you had to cancel a seminar series or national sales meeting. Maybe you have healthcare procedures that you planned to present at a conference. Aside from conducting online meetings or webinars, live streaming through your website allows you to perform as you normally would to the folks scheduled to attend the event.
Bringing people to your website for these experiences will help you achieve business objectives and create continuity for your relationships.
Quast Media will be happy to consult with anyone who wants to explore making arrangements for live streaming opportunities.
5) If you don't have any or enough digital signage, get it. There's no greater argument supporting the efficacy of digital signage than a crisis like the world is experiencing now. Before, during and after, digital signage and other digital technologies you may not even know about can help you maintain life-supporting engagement for the benefit of the community and the populations that are critically important to you.