What is your process from storyboarding to production of digital signage content?
To ensure effective delivery of digital signage content, establishing a proper workflow and process is critical. Here are six key steps we use at Shikatani Lacroix:
Define Content Objectives:
For any type of creative content to be effective, it must first have clearly defined objectives that need to be achieved. This usually involves collaborating with our client to help them define and prioritize their business objectives for the content.
Here, we discover things like:
- Who is the intended target audience? Identify persona(s)
- What is the purpose during exposure to the content?
- How long will they be exposed to the content?
- How often will each target be exposed to the content?
- What other noise or distractions are there surrounding content location?
- What is the desired outcome or CTA after the target views content?
Review Available Brand and Source Materials:
Before commencing any form of creative, we first must become fluently versed in our client’s brand image, presence and essence and differentiating proposition. Any content that is created for a brand should help consistently convey these attributes while helping to achieve the content specific objectives. To do this, we review brand standards, existing marketing collaterals and other media executions the brand has in market or will have in market during the time the content is created. We then see what available assets or source materials may be able to be leveraged in the creation of custom digital signage content. We also begin to determine some extended digital signage content standards to extend the other established standards as needed to ensure consistency while allowing our unique medium to be most effectively tailored to.
Establish Solid Branded Content Strategy:
Once we have defined objectives, know the brand, have adapted digital standards and have assessed our available sources, we can begin to define a content strategy.
Good design never begins with creative. It begins with careful planning and strategy. During this phase, we look at two ends of the spectrum, which are what are the intended target customer’s needs and priorities? Then, what are our client’s or the company’s needs and priorities? Sometimes these differ, and it is important to weigh both and see where they meet in the middle. The content must then work in unison with three key communication factors that help make up part of an ideal omni-experience:
- Message (what are we trying to say and how?)
- Process (what is the method or choreography involved in the delivery?)
- Structure (what surrounds the content vehicle, physical location and vehicle?)
Once we define all of these aspects, a roadmap or blueprint for what the content must do and how is then established. Then, the content can progress to a high level creative stage.
High Level Creative – Storyboard:
Before spending hours designing final creative, preparing a high level creative outline that conveys some key messages and provides a high level view of the intended content is recommended if the budgets allow for it. Gaining early buy-in from the client at this point helps to focus the creative effort and maximize efficiencies in delivering content that is less prone to changes. After securing this early buy-in, proceed to a storyboard stage that illustrates the main sequences in the content, key messages that will be delivered, visuals that will be shown and tactics of the animation or transition tactics are depicted in a framed storyboard with notes. Internal creative QA and detailed QC is conducted.
Our second client approval stage now takes place.
Final Creative Stage:
Once storyboards are approved, creative can proceed to the final stage of preparation. This involves creating full HD or UHD creative components and designs that will make their way to the motion graphics, CG experts, developers etc., depending on the type of content being created. Here, any imagery, graphics or copy will get finalized, optimized and exported to move along to the next stage. Final internal creative QA and QC is conducted.
Once creative is ready, our developers and animators begin bringing the creative to life. For one way digital signage, our animation team begins preparing the key sequences in the content and assembling the motion graphic files. For interactive signage, our developers who would have also participated in the information architecture stages will begin prototyping initial builds of the interactive piece. Then, full development takes flight. At either of these two stages, another client review/approval stage takes place. This may be via online web previews or in person. Once this review takes place, revisions and enhancements and final production takes place.
Content Publish and Delivery:
Once the final content is created, we optimize the delivery format and publish the files to the intended delivery point: online, over the cloud, via app distribution, over closed network, play-listed to network, etc.
Whenever possible, if the published location is reachable, our creative and technical leads visit the location to ensure proper delivery and quality assurance are conducted on-site. This is our final check-point to ensure the content is performing as expected. We also conduct some location analysis to see how people are reacting to the content, and conduct some simple performance audits, which may help to refine the content and improve the next iteration. In larger deployments, proper user testing, metrics analysis and effectiveness are conducted.