Franchising Today - Summer 2016 - 7
a similar experience to consumers no
matter where they shop or experience
interaction with the brand.
This experience is applied to the
vehicles franchises use to communicate with their constituents. In
restaurants, these tools include digital menu boards, digital promotion
boards, social media channels, mobile
devices, interactive kiosks and Bluetooth apps. The integration of digital
signs with social media, apps and mobile devices is also coming to fruition.
While some franchises were once
content to text customers coupons
for free drinks, they are now trying
to engage those potential brand ambassadors in more meaningful ways
by asking them survey questions,
such as "How did you like your meal?"
"Would you recommend us to a family member or friend?" "Would you
tweet about your experience?"
A generation of millennials, born
to socialize and collaborate, expects
instant gratification from and interaction with franchises they like. This
is the selfie, text-savvy generation
that communicates without actually
speaking to one another. The phenomenon has not been lost on brands.
Franchised restaurants want in on
the action through social messaging,
signage in dining rooms and digital
menu boards. They want to engage
with these customers more by promoting interaction with their brands.
Some restaurants, for example, are
deploying low-frequency Bluetooth
technology, which DisplaySearch
says is gaining market traction rapidly. When a franchise's app is engaged
on a phone, it pushes brand ads and
other pertinent information to those
consumers throughout the brick-andmortar location. Instead of requiring
patrons to use near-field communication to tap their devices to other
If deployed improperly, digital signage
can flood customers with information
about menu items and special offers.
devices, the action occurs seamlessly
through the app.
Major-league baseball stadiums
recently deployed a low-frequency Bluetooth technology to deliver
meal and beverage options to fans -
with specific locations in the venues
themselves - all in an effort to drive
stronger interaction between brands
How does a brand drive greater interaction with consumers?
Passively with digital menu
boards and other screens;
Actively with self-service kiosks;
Suggestively with promotional
boards and screens;
Inclusively with technologies such
as low-frequency Bluetooth; and
Consistently by communicating
across all channels.
All the communication vehicles need
to be working holistically to increase
dwell times and drive sales. Franchises are starting to catch up to what
retailers have known for a while: oneway communication no longer cuts it.
At the start of the digital signage revolution, brands placed all the empha-
sis on ROI without thinking through
the broader ROO required to deliver
the ROI. Now they are realizing that
"soft" objectives can deliver meaningful, nonfinancial results.
Dunkin Donuts, for example, makes
it a point to regularly update consumers and keep customers engaged. That's
not a financial goal, but one that has
ramifications for its financial results.
The longer customers remain engaged,
the more time they spend in the store,
and the more money they spend. The
goal is to maintain customer focus.
Once the objectives are achieved,
the ROI falls into place. Without a
strong understanding of the objectives for a digital signage deployment,
there is no way to measure and understand the financial impact this new
asset will bring to the organization.
The next era of digital signage is
simple - getting back to basics: creating engaging content, connecting
with customers and focusing on a
franchise's goals. When those three
things are made a priority, the future
indeed will be bright.
Richard Ventura is vice president of
business development and solutions for NEC
Display Solutions (www.necdisplay.com). He
can be reached at email@example.com.