Making Digital Signage Work for You

black and white image of various digital signs
By Mark Chrzanowski

5 minutes

Handing off the headache of content creation and management has been an excellent solution for Polam FCU.

As the financial services industry becomes more complex and competitive, keeping members informed, educated and entertained becomes increasingly critical. Countertop flyers, brochure racks, and paper posters hung on walls or windows may no longer be the most effective way to communicate with your current and potential members. Paper doesn’t always receive a lot of attention these days, quickly becomes stale and isn’t very cost-effective. The more information a credit union needs to communicate, the more paper marketing materials make a branch cluttered, disorganized and unattractive.  
These days, members expect something other than traditional paper marketing, especially those members who live on their phones and view digital displays as an extension of that medium. According to my research, which included the DBSI 2018 Digital Benchmarking Survey, people who are exposed to digital signage are better informed, have higher recall rates for the messaging, and are more easily motivated to engage in conversations about products and services. Digital signage can be a way to eliminate paper brochures and grab members’ attention. (Here’s an image of our digital brochure rack.)

Let’s say that you’ve made the decision to deploy digital signage. Next comes the hard part: defining your strategy, vision and success factors, figuring out who is going to create and manage the content, and deciding how you will keep it fresh and relevant.
Flat, lifeless digital content that looks like it was created with random clipart or images pulled from the internet can send the wrong message and render your investment useless. Stale and orphaned messages can confuse and frustrate your members or, worse yet, make them question their faith in your institution.
For most credit unions, using an outsourced digital signage solution is a good option. You want to focus on meeting your members’ financial needs and goals, and not stress about creating and managing your digital content. You want the displays to be working for you, and not the other way around. In fact, many CU leaders probably don’t even want to know in fine detail how their digital signs work, you just expect them to enhance your image, delivering your message while bringing value and purpose to your investment. 
Creating content in-house can be a very daunting and expensive undertaking. Generally speaking, knowledgeable and experienced talent is expensive, and then you still need to consider software, hardware and sources for stock graphics and video, which can become financially prohibitive for in-house endeavors. If you decide you want video, it’s time to beef up the budget.
Developing and managing your own content can be difficult and risky. Are you up-to-date with compliance standards and disclosures? Do you have the creative skills to make the message captivating? Do you know how to make the messaging fit with your strategic plan and how to make sure members see it as helpful and not as noise? And do you have the staff to manage content creation and a plan for what happens when they are sick or otherwise away from the office?

Lastly, there is the task of managing your content. Sounds like a simple task, but this too can quickly become a headache. Defining a content playlist, keeping up with activation and expiration dates for promotions, and planning for future events are all things you need to track and manage. 

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In my credit union’s main office, we have four types of digital signs.

  1. As members enter the building, a 55-inch free-standing kiosk sign is mounted on castors so it can be moved close to the window after hours and be clearly visible to passersby.
  2. The second is a 75-inch wall-mounted display next to the teller counter. It is immediately visible as members enter the lobby and also can be seen the teller counter and main lobby.
  3. The third is in my office, visible to members with whom I meet.
  4. And the last is the digital brochure rack, which is positioned so the members see it on their way out and can grab a brochure to take home if they like.

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At my credit union the design strategy was that signage would always there for the members, whether they were coming, sitting or going.  
Finding the right partner for your digital signage is not as easy as it might seem. I was only able to find one that met all my needs: Outlynx Media Inc., Concord, California. Outlynx Media offers a fully managed solution specifically for credit unions that has beautifully mastered video and graphics content for all the products and services I offer to my members. 

Outlynx Media strives to ensure content complies with regulatory requirements (by following 2018 Advertising Compliance Guide from ProBank, which covers fundamental federal banking advertising regulatory requirements, best practices in the areas of lending, deposits, non‐deposit, and investment products). The CU also has the option to provide its approved disclosures with all content or a separate location or display with all disclosures. During our last National Credit Union Administration examination, the regulators did not have any corrective comments about our signage. In fact, they were pleased and impressed that we were using this type of communication with our members.

Best of all, I don’t have to manage it. The solution also includes content for all the federal holiday announcements and special days to remember like Mother’s Day. 
Digital signage is no longer a novelty or an extravagant marketing tool—it has become a mainstream solution for effective communication with your membership and a powerful marketing ally. Choosing the right provider is key to a successful implementation that brings real value, brand awareness, and solidifies the relationship with your members. 

For my credit union, this was a game-changer and a conversation-starter with members. Since installing the digital signage, we have seen a 369% increase in car loans, a 233% change in card valet enrollments (lets members control and manage their debit and credit cards from their smartphones), and a 109% increase in our UChoose rewards program. I call that a win.cues icon
CUES member Mark Chrzanowski is CEO of $72 million Polam Federal Credit Union, Redwood City, California.

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