The digital signage industry has matured enormously in the past few years. Networks have become more reliable, robust, and capable of distributing any type of high quality content. As a result, network operators are moving away from the more technical elements of digital signage to focus on the viewer experience. This trend has also crossed over to faith organizations as they seek to better engage parishioners via immersive digital signage. By emphasizing the creation of captivating, high quality content, houses of worship can foster a stronger identity within their communities, better interact with their parishioners, and more effectively address the needs of particular congregant groups. Within the realm of digital signage, this process relates to branding, audience targeting, and conveying information in an entertaining and engaging manner.
In the past, the topic of branding conjured images of company logos, radio jingles, and slick marketing decorum. However, today's branding efforts are geared [more] toward providing organizations and communities with an identitya vision, and a distinct personality that viewers can relate to. Today's houses of worship can participate in this opportunity by fostering consistent editorial messaging that reflects the over-arching themes the [ministry] wishes to convey. Supporting this concept, the look and feel on the screens creates an emotional connection with members. For instance, elements related to a church's architecture, interior design, and pastor messaging all influence how congregants perceive the church experience. Within digital signage, branding is further influenced by color schemas, screen layout, program pacing, and the quantity and quality of information displayed. To facilitate this process, faith organizations may want to consider content creation solutions that leverage the HTML 5 standard, allowing them to [easily] create media-rich content channels that can be published to both onsite screens and mobile devices. Other suggestions include working with individuals with professional design experience to help create channel layouts, which ensure that content is consistently well presented.
Leveraging good content
Additional aspects that influence how a church is perceived via digital signage include the use of video vs. still-only content, and whether communities decide to provide production-quality content rather than amateur videos. The problem is that high-quality content is expensive to create, manage, and distribute. To compound matters, content must be regularly updated to remain fresh in viewers' minds. Without adequate planning early in the network's development, the costs of content can easily spiral out of control. To mitigate these costs, producers can make their signage networks more efficient by carefully planning the signage workflow. This includes researching audience demographics, learning about viewing habits, and identifying which content works best for different scenarios.
The next requirement is consistency. By implementing distribution rules with a content management system, houses of worship can curate programming to ensure that the most appropriate and entertaining content is broadcast to the right screen, at the right time, to the right group of people.
This can include distributing timely, relevant content to specific groups or reaching offsite congregants via smartphones, tablets, and home computers. Social media can also be incorporated, creating real-time discussions that are relevant, timely, and interactive. To fully leverage interactivity, houses of worship should consider the advantages of launching channels of content that encourage touch, gesture, or device control. By inviting viewers to interact with content in a creative and novel manner, network operators help ensure that their messages are reaching congregants and that viewers are spending more time utilizing the network.
In short, administrators for house of worship signage solutions should start thinking more like television programming executives than signage technicians. By treating digital signage systems like mini news networks, faith organizations can leverage content to better interact with their audience, thus creating a more engaging church-going experience for every member of the congregation.