“Your Baby is Ugly”–A Cure for Content Hideousness

Posted by on Feb 20, 2014 in Advertising, Digital Signage Software, Insight

It’s hard to tell someone their baby is ugly. People become defensive, especially when their children are concerned. It’s tough too because there’s only so much you can do for an ugly baby…or is there? ugly baby

In digital signage, people can become easily offended, especially if they’ve invested significant time and resource into their sign’s content. Content is most often the ringleader in lack of conversion, interest and low return on investment. Informing a creator that their baby is ugly–while often met with “cold crusties”–is often what is most needed. First, the problem needs illuminated and then–hopefully–resolved.

If your baby is ugly, you’ll start again from scratch. Don’t be afraid to throw out the baby with the bathwater. If it’s bad, get rid of it. Start over. Hire a new design firm. The software might be free, but that doesn’t mean you should be too cheap to spend a little coin on the content. If that means ditching the old legacy rotating PowerPoint presentation, then so be it.

I took the family to the swimming pool the other day to a great facility just north of Seattle. I had never been to this particular pool before, but I was impressed by their digital signage. My interest is always piqued when I see some signage installed. They had two signs running that I could see. One in the front lobby area and another in a large hallway. The content on both displays was strikingly different. The content on the main, larger display was stunning. The second smaller display looked like a PPTX presentation with a bad hair day. It was bad. I asked the receptionist and she said they paid for the content on the first display and decided to skimp on screen #2. It was evident.

Just as a side, after further digging I noticed they were running our system–something I’m seeing more and more of as many folks take advantage of the broad tools at a killer price point [for those other industry folks out there–don’t be offended by the occasional promotional plug]. I would have taken a picture, but I had left my phone in the car. We were there to go swimming after all.

The fact that they were using our solution also made the following point obvious:

It doesn’t matter what software you’re using. No amount of software will compensate for a terrible content strategy.

Quite frankly, the best cure for the common content dearth is to find a dynamic content expert–someone with a keen eye and knack for proper design elements. You also need someone to act as an “ugly” alarm–the person who’ll unabashedly tell you when your baby is ugly and provide guidance and insight on what to do to fix it–the latter being key. Most love to tell you your process is wrong, your baby is ugly or your content is bad. It’s the real consultants that can help you in righting the ship by providing actually concrete solutions to your “ugly baby” conundrum.

I will provide a caveat to all of this. There are certain situations where the most bone-crushing content creation is not needed. There are–on occasion–instances where content can be as simple as a rotating loop of simple JPEG images. In that case, enterprise software and a robust digital signage media player won’t be necessary. For everything else, it’s best to do it right or not do it all. Unfortunately, the same can’t and shouldn’t be said if you truly do have ugly children.


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