Communicating Visually with Employees via Digital Signage

You want to communicate with your employees in a new way. You’ve been doing it for years via company bulletin boards, so you think: why not get a couple of plasma screens and do the same thing digitally?

If that sounds familiar, you have lots of company. The term, "digital signage" has been coined to describe just what you’re thinking about. Basically, anyone who’s used any type of public posting of information in the past is either thinking of or in the process of switching to digital signage. It has many advantages, primarily the ability to get new information in front of people quickly and easily.

But along with that ease of use comes a whole new set of concepts to consider. After all, moving from a bulletin board to a digital display is like moving your advertising from newspaper to TV: the rules are very different.

Let’s take a look at one of these new considerations, that is, message frequency. In the "old days," all you had to do was take that important memo and thumb-tack it to the cork board down the hall. Simple and easy. Maybe your employees would see it, maybe not. By putting it up on a digital bulletin board, your readership will indeed increase. But, just like a TV ad, there are new considerations. For example, displaying your message for 5 minutes probably isn’t long enough, but leaving it up there for 5 weeks is probably too long. So how do you know what the proper timing and intervals are?

The chart above shows the answer to this question. It’s about research done originally for the advertising industry1that shows the relationship between how many times a person sees a message (or advertisement) and how much that person learns about it. At one repetition, the learning is zero. At two repetitions, it gets better, at three even better, and it peaks at four. After that, there’s a rapidly diminishing amount of learning, and after six or seven views, it’s all done.

You can use this research in your in-house communications. What you need to figure out is how long you need to leave a particular communication up on your digital display so your employees will see it about four or five times. This depends on how big your facility is, what the traffic patterns are and where in the facility your display is located. By considering those factors, you can pretty quickly come up with the amount of time you should leave a particular message up on your display for maximum learning effectiveness.

When its time is up, make sure to take it down promptly, because leaving it there will serve no purpose other than to make the display look outdated and boring, thus hindering learning on future pieces you post.