Revolutionize internal corporate communications with digital signage

Digital signage can be used not only for advertising, but also for internal communication

Internal communication is changing rapidly. Intranets, apps and social media are also being used for employee communications. One tool that is only just gaining momentum is the use of dynamic screens, known as digital signage. Particularly for employees without a fixed PC workstation and in places where they spend a lot of time (canteen), these systems provide an ideal interface for obtaining information.

The use of in-house blogs, intranet solutions, social media or apps shows that the digital transformation has long since found its way into the internal communications of companies and corporations. However, the digital transformation is also constantly bringing with it new technologies that could excellently complement these communication measures, but are still rarely used. Digital signage is one of these technologies.

Digital Signage explained

Digital signage is the use of digital media content for advertising and information purposes. This can be media such as electronic posters or traffic signs, advertising in stores (in-store marketing), digital door signs or large-screen projections. In public spaces such as train stations, airports or shopping malls, you can now also see more and more digital signage installations. (Further article: What is digital signage?)

This technology offers considerable potential, especially for internal corporate communications. The proverbial bulletin boards and notices at neuralgic points are often no longer sufficient to provide employees with sufficient information for their daily work. High printing costs and the inability to update content quickly are also no longer in keeping with the times. Although the distribution of information via intranet is a good solution, it is also not an adequate alternative for employees without a fixed PC workstation (such as field staff).  Here, networked screens, video walls and interactive terminals offer a way to quickly perceive content at a glance. The scattering losses of digital signage are minimal compared to analog media, since the human eye reacts more sensitively to moving images and accordingly digital or animated content is better perceived.

How digital signage can improve internal communication

Practical example from EnBW for internal communication with digital signage
Digital signage in internal communication at neuralgic points (Source: EnBW)

The advantages of networked screens and interactive places for internal communication lie primarily in the subliminal way of conveying the most important information from a company. In passing or in a waiting situation, visually appealing content is perceived at a glance. This content is fast, up-to-date and dynamic and also includes data such as feeds from social networks, internal blogs, news portals or weather.

In addition to pure internal communication, digital signage also allows for added interactivity, for example through touch-enabled systems or the integration of smartphones. In this way, the reach of other communication tools such as blogs, wikis or the company website can also be further increased and extended.

Sensible combination of intranet and digital signage

In general, companies should aim to maximize the reach of corporate news. Various communication measures are available for this purpose. In particular, companies with a large number of employees who are tied to a computer workstation should mainly use the intranet to disseminate corporate news. In addition, some companies also publish their own employee magazines, but these are not suitable for disseminating current news due to the long publication periods. These should rather provide background information and delve deeper into stories. It becomes problematic for employees who do not have a permanent computer workstation (e.g., technicians on field assignments). Here, information via intranet is difficult and other communication channels also quickly reach their limits. With the help of digital signage, however, this gap can be closed in order to convey the most important information briefly and concisely at a glance when employees are on the company premises. An interface to the intranet can also be created by displaying the relevant notes for further information, which, however, are not absolutely necessary for the original company news. Digital signage is particularly suitable for chain stores and companies with various locations to present local topics in a better and more targeted manner and to replace print posters as a source of information with the new, digital system.

Minimize effort through sensible editorial planning

Internal communication should be planned to use all means of communication according to their advantages. The ideal approach here is to create a comprehensive editorial concept that takes digital signage into account as one channel among many. For example, a three-stage editorial concept would be conceivable: The digital signage screens installed in the various company locations display group-wide corporate news, information from the individual business units and news about the individual locations. In this way, all employees can see information such as corporate news, statistics, notes on events, canteen menus or a news ticker and the weather at a glance as they pass by. Appropriate notes draw employees’ attention to further topics on the intranet. Thanks to the simple and centralized control of content, news can be published in a very short time and distributed with pinpoint accuracy in individual locations and even on individual screens.

The basic structure of a digital signage system is always the same: A computer in miniature format (player) controls the entire content. This retrieves the always up-to-date content via an Internet connection and controls its playback on one or more connected screens.

Content from the group-wide intranet can be shortened to the basic message and displayed on the screens at the same time as it is published. For individual topics, spots with special animations or videos are created (e.g. promotion of the new employee magazine, campaign launch) and played out exclusively on the info screens. In this way, digital signage can create a meaningful bridge to a company’s other means of communication.

Conclusion and success factors for digital signage

Our customers who use digital signage for internal communication confirm that integration is successful when the following is taken into account:

  • Digital signage in internal communication has a high acceptance rate when local content is played out.
  • Digital signage must be part of a comprehensive digitization by eliminating billboards and posters and create a bridge to other communication measures
  • Success factors are clear site communication, prioritization of news (ticker function), animated spots, concrete addressing of employees who do not have permanent access to the lead medium intranet.
    Ibrahim Mazari ist Soziologe und Psychologe und ist als PR-Berater mit Schwerpunkt Digitales für das Kölner Unternehmen dimedis tätig. Das 1996 in Köln gegründete Software-Unternehmen entwickelt webbasierte Softwarelösungen. Schwerpunkte sind Digital Signage, digitale Wegeleitung sowie Besucher- und Einlassmanagement von Messen und Events.

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