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How to use storytelling with digital signage in retail

Storytelling

What’s the best way to captivate an audience in a retail environment? Tell them a story of course. After all, who doesn’t love a good story. Storytelling (and listening) is ingrained in human nature from our earliest days as small children.

Of course storytelling isn’t new. Many brands use it in their content marketing campaigns. But how can you differentiate as a retailer? Easy. Use digital signage. It opens up a whole new medium of communication with your customers. And can boost your earnings and profit, as well as enhance customer experience and your brand.

Firstly, you you must have a story worth telling. The common tendency is to simply give some facts and information about a product or service. But this isn’t storytelling.

The secret is in the way you tell your story. A popular definition of communication from the renowned Psychology professor Albert Mehrabian says that 55 per cent is non-verbal (or body language), 38 per cent is tone and 7 per cent are the actual words used. This is where the old adage: “It’s not what you say, but how you say it,” comes from of course.

Create your story

Everybody has a story to tell. You just have to find out what yours is. This is often the hardest part. But once you have your story outline, you’re ready to find a creative way of telling it. And for retailers, there’s nothing more creative then digital signage.

Why? Because you can influence the consumer at the POS to make offline purchases instantly. Oh yes, and generate awareness and kudos for your brand by using beautiful media such as HD video, high resolution images, ‘moving’ cinemagraph images such as from apps like flixel and even interactive screens which have sensors for movement and sound.

The above kinds of media offer almost unlimited ways for you to create attractive storytelling techniques which prompt consumer purchase, otherwise known as ‘profitable narratives’.

Rules of engagement

So how do you make your story compelling? First and foremost, you have to make customers (and potential ones) feel like they are part of the story. The recipe is simple: present a normal or ordinary situation. Then, invite your audience to an adventure, and then show them how exciting their life is after using your product or service.

Here are some simple but effective guidelines to follow so you can achieve this:

  1. Keep it simple – use a clear message with plain simple language. There’s nothing worse for an audience then needing time to understand what you’re trying to say. Avoid complex or confusing concepts.
  2. Use a storyboard style – break down your story into simple steps/parts to make sure it flows intuitively and simply. If in doubt, use the ‘kiddie factor’, i.e. a child should be able to experience and navigate through your digital signage ads.
  3. Design, design, design – did we say design? Your content should be well designed. And by that we mean easy to see, negotiate and understand. Don’t just throw a few sequences of beautiful images, videos or texts together and hope for the best impact.
  4. Think about your brand – always ensure you connect your story with your brand.

Does it sound like we are describing how to write a novel or film script? Good. Because it should, as it is – more or less – the exact same process.

Storytelling - Storyboard

One more thing. Short is not always sweet. A common misconception is that with digital signage you must keep things as brief as possible. Nope. In reality, just as your audience can get hooked by a lengthy TV ad, they can get hooked by a digital signage campaign which tells a story in order to reinforce your message. Just make sure you get point #2 right.

What else?

If you follow all of the above steps, you will be on the right track to creating effective storytelling using digital signage. And boosting your revenues, profit and brand equity in the process.

Still, there’s something else worth remembering. Your digital signage solution is not just a nice to have. That’s why you should always measure results. Especially if you’re aiming to use it to tell stories. You can boost ROI by including advertising space on your screens, and/or measure foot traffic in the areas where you put up your displays and draw comparisons.

Crack through the clutter

Now, we’re the first to admit it’s much easier to say all of the above than do it. But to sum up, your mission as a retailer is simple. You need to conquer the clutter that exists all around your customers. Especially in this modern age of tech we live in. Digital signage can be your emergency hammer to break that clutter glass and unlock untapped revenue and brand value.

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