Clear Fork Schools Spotlight Retriever Digital Signage

At Retriever Digital Signage, we love seeing the inventive ways our clients leverage their digital signage to be effective communicators. The leadership at Clear Fork Schools uses Retriever to transform communication in their district… and do so much more.

Using Retriever Digital Signage in the Clear Fork school buildings has decreased the amount of wasteful paper reminders and updates, empowered their students, and further developed a culture of appreciation for all achievements and special moments.

By placing digital signage throughout the school building, a student’s eye is drawn to the screen and the message is received, thanks to the visually captivating design of the slides. Moreover, last minute changes are no longer a communications crisis, because digital signage can be updated instantly!

“With the technology that they’re used to, with the iPhones, the computers, the iPads — you name it, they’ve got it — this is just another branch of that technology and they certainly are attracted to it,” shares one of the teachers.

Schools like Clear Fork employing digital signage that equip their students with the ability to program the Retriever slides are providing experience in communications, learning skills valued by a 21st century workforce. The user-friendly interface ensures that anyone with computer proficiency is able to master the Retriever system, along with the freedom to take the interface to the next level with video and graphic design.

“It’s all about the kids, not just the athletes, the whole school, and that’s what’s really neat,” shares Kerri Gottfried, a softball coach for the district. “A lot of kids don’t see their pictures or their names in the paper, but they see their name on there for their birthdays, they see their picture if they’re in a play… it’s a great tool because it covers everyone and it makes them all feel important.”

Teachers and administrators know that promoting a sense of belonging to their students increases student engagement, attendance, performance and decreases behavioral incidents, but finding ways to do that can be a challenge for an already over-extended staff. Digital signage has offered a meaningful tool to celebrate birthdays, achievements in the classroom, extracurricular activities, the arts, athletics… every way you can imagine to celebrate your students, you can utilize digital signage to achieve maximum impact.

Additionally, Clear Fork has partnered with local employers to communicate special promotions, job opportunities, and volunteer opportunities. We love the way that Retriever is connecting the school district with the community.

How are you using your Retriever Digital Signage in a creative way? Reach out and tell us about it, and you might just find yourself as our next Client Spotlight!

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Is It Important to Look Good? Retriever Digital Signage

Culturally, we’re constantly making decisions about what gets our attention. With so many things vying for our attention, we can be choosy, and we choose what appeals to us.

If you have a message you’re trying to communicate, and no one is paying attention, ask yourself whether you’ve delivered it in a way that you would pay attention to it.

The importance of visual appeal affects how we perceive something, how we act in response to something, and how we remember it (Usabilla, 2017). In short, when something is interesting, it holds the viewer’s attention longer, allowing more time for the desired message to communicate.

“Studies of eye-tracking have indicated that people spend more time soaking in the pictures, infographics and visual content on a site than they do reading the text.” Furthermore, the impact of video on a web experience can drive traffic up by 41%! (USA Today, 2017)

You’ve probably experienced the power of visual appeal throughout your work and personal life.

If you’ve ever literally judged a book by its cover, opted to create a chart instead of only delivering a spreadsheet, determined which piece of possible junk mail to open, clicked on a digital ad, or spent even a minute on the internet, you’ve seen the impact of what something visually interesting can do to your level of engagement.

Learning to communicate effectively can be a huge challenge, but we’d love to help you become a better communicator. Click here to register for our next free webinar on the 7 Simple Ways to Dramatically Increase Communication in Your Business, where you’ll walk away with 7 tools to help you communicate more effectively and efficiently.

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Retriever Digital Signage

At DRM Productions, we’re all about helping people communicate more effectively. For 35 years, our business has been in service of helping people and businesses to communicate well, leveraging modern technology in service of great communication.

In fact, Retriever Digital Signage came about as a solution to communication problems our clients were having. Our customers needed to get their messages out in a more effective way than using bulletin boards, static signage, or other forms of print messaging, without having to hire a full-time tech support and graphic design team.

As the world changes, so does communication. Eyes are simply more drawn to screens than static signage in the digital world. If you want to get your message across, the first thing that you have to do is catch someone’s attention. We created Retriever as a solution that is visually appealing and content-rich, auto-updating with fresh and interesting content so that it is eye-catching and engaging for anyone within view.

The reality is, there are many solutions to the communication problems you might be having, but we’ve done our best to make sure that Retriever is the most feature-rich and user friendly option on the market. That said, as you consider your options you might be asking yourself what the alternatives are.

So, we thought it would be helpful to break down some of the key features of signage solutions on the market for you in this downloadable comparison chart. If you’re weighing your options, click the button below.

Check Out the Signage Comparison Chart

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The Biggest Challenge Facing Small Business Owners Retriever Digital Signage

As small business owners ourselves, we get it – ensuring that your customers and employees are happy with your business while maintaining an appropriate amount of growth and a healthy ROI can be a constant balancing act.

Small business owners wear a number of hats and may function in a number of roles on their org chart, so making the claim that there’s one singular challenge facing all small business owners is painting with broad strokes, to be certain.

However, we see our clients and our peers facing the same issues regardless of industry, business size, or experience. The biggest challenge facing all small business owners is communication.

After all, owners have to communicate effectively with their employees and their customers, as well as teach their team to do the same while still focusing on the business, the product, and the work that’s on their plate. Effective communication and processes around excellent communication is paramount – and poor communication is likely wasting a lot of time and money.

We’ve all been there: we’ve been in a staff meeting and rolled out a new process, and everyone paid attention and nodded and then went into the week and nothing changed. It can feel like your communication is falling on deaf ears!

So, you send out a company-wide email, and you say it again at the next staff meeting. The repetition and the frustration wastes more time and eventually one of two things happen: you give up or you spend even more time trying to implement change.

Eventually, the new process becomes a habit and you move onto the next thing, but shouldn’t one meeting be enough to effect change?

In theory: sure, it should. But the reality is that repetition is the mother of all studies, meaning, your people – employees or customers! – need to hear something repeated on average seven times before they’re ready to make a change.

Your time is valuable and you shouldn’t have to spend it repeating yourself, even if that’s what the people around you need. There should be a way to automate these new initiatives and streamline your communications so that you can use your time doing the things that made you want to own a business in the first place.

We actually created a webinar to help you streamline your communications, and we’d love to share it with you for free. In it, you’ll learn about seven tools that will dramatically improve your communications internally, saving you time and money. Register for the next session here. 

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Client Spotlight: Richland County Dog Shelter Retriever Digital Signage

The Richland County Dog Shelter has been able to leverage one of the best features of their Retriever Digital Signage to get the word out about the good work they’re doing.

Because the Richland County Dog Shelter is in a community where many businesses have deployed Retriever Digital Signage, they have been able to partner with local businesses to share slides and better reach the community beyond their doors, ensuring that every pet is able to find a family.

“It’s important that we have many outlets to reach out to the community. One of the top ways for us to be successful is to use the Retriever system. It’s a way that we can get the dogs here into the community that has provided us a lot of success, shares Dave Jordan, the Richland County Dog Warden.”

Partnering with local businesses that have a higher volume of traffic, like Mechanics Bank and Dunkin Jewelers, the Richland County Dog Shelter is able to get their message out to more people than they could reach on their own.

The shelter sends slides such as a “Pet of the Week” slide to area businesses, featuring a photo of an adorable animal in need of a home, to the businesses they’ve partnered with, which takes only a moment to be included in those business’s Retriever playlists, and is at no cost to either the Richland County Dog Shelter or the businesses they’re partnered with.

There are significant benefits to the businesses who partner with the shelter, as well. By incorporating community-oriented slides into the playlist, it keeps the playlists fresh and relevant, retaining viewer engagement more actively and ultimately getting their messages across more effectively too!

Additionally, businesses are able to showcase their core values through their community partnerships and share that with their customers, who may also hold some of the same interests and values. In partnerships like these, everyone wins – especially the animals!

Kristi Lord, Marketing Director for Mechanics Bank understands this, which is why she’s partnered with the dog shelter. “You’re helping the community, you’re helping organizations in the community, you’re helping animals, you’re helping families… it’s overall a very positive, great message to send as a business.”

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Express Gratitude Retriever Digital Signage

The greatest asset of any business is the people who work there, but it’s easy to lose track of opportunities to show your team how much they matter in the day-to-day hustle and bustle.

While expressing gratitude and appreciation to your team feels like a soft HR concept, it actually has a significant impact on a business’ bottom line.

Expressing gratitude to your team will both improve your workplace culture and can help you retain your great employees long term. In fact, according to Forbes in a recent study, 66% of employees expressed they would leave their job if they didn’t feel appreciated. (That number jumps to 76% if your workforce is primarily millennials).

So, how do you express gratitude to your team in a way that is effective and sustainable in your day-to-day business?

Here are just a few ideas that you can put to work for you right away:

Celebrate Small (& Big) Victories

When your team members have a win at work or at home, celebrate it! Did someone complete a complicated training program?  Make a record sale? Did someone compete in a race? Meet a goal weight? Did their child make honor roll?

Put into place a system for acknowledging the wins and letting their friends submit acknowledgments on their behalf, and sharing that with the whole team.

Your Retriever Digital Signage is a great tool for sharing these wins with the whole team in a super visible way that will not only inspire people to congratulate each other, but will also remind them to share other successes with your HR department.

Personal Notes/Emails

Words of encouragement, especially written ones, can serve as a needed reminder of appreciation both when they’re received and on the hard, long days. By writing down a personal note to someone, the words on the page carry a greater significance and permanence that can boost an employee’s confidence and remind them of their valued place on your team. Well worth the few minutes it takes to write a note!

Surprise Them

Few things put a smile on the face of your team like a welcome surprise. Surprises have the benefit of being unexpected, which means that no one feels entitled to them. Moreover, a surprise “out of the blue” staff appreciation can be incredibly meaningful for your team.

Just be sure it’s something the whole team can enjoy, repeatable scalable for the future, otherwise future surprises might pale in comparison to the time that everyone got a free car.

Some great surprises that are great for boosting a team’s morale that might work for your office include a catered lunch (just be sure to provide for your food restrictions as well), gift cards, a surprise paid half day off, chair massages, or live music in the lunch room.

Simply Say “Thank You”

Sometimes all it takes is a heartfelt “thank you.” Sure, people shouldn’t have to be thanked for doing their job, but gratitude is always appreciated and helps to motivate your team and give them a deeper sense of belonging as a part of your staff.

You can say thank you at a staff meeting, in your Retriever playlist, on a company email, or individually – however you decide, just remember that without a great staff, your business wouldn’t be able to do anything successfully! That’s something to feel grateful about.

If you’re looking for some more ways to create a culture of belonging on your team, we believe it all starts with excellent communication… so much so that we wrote a book about it! You can download it here, for free:
Download our Communications Guide

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Whether you’re the head of marketing for your company or a small business owner wearing multiple hats, successful marketing requires a thoughtful and organized workflow to ensure that all your T’s are crossed and I’s are dotted.

Of all elements of your business, marketing can be particularly fluid. Sure, you may have a solid marketing plan and promotional schedule, and you may even have a great project management system, but marketing is a constantly changing beast because it deals with the fluid variables of market conditions, competition, customer preferences and behaviors, among other things.

Which means that as a marketer you need great systems in place to effectively get the message out to your audience so that amidst the chaos of the constantly changing environment, you are working smarter, not harder.

We have a few tips that will get you on track to a smarter workflow – which, in turn, will put you on track for better results with less effort. With no further ado:

Schedule Ahead What Can Be Scheduled

When you’re trying to promote something to your customers, it’s important to be nimble and able to pivot quickly and easily as you track the performance of your marketing campaigns. In order to be flexible and available for change, it’s remarkably helpful to get out of your own way and avoid the temptation to procrastinate.

Procrastination is human nature, but you never regret working ahead, particularly for things that are unlikely to change.

For example, we encourage our Retriever customers to schedule their holiday slides as well as any recurring promotions or announcements ahead for the year so that they automatically inject fresh content into their playlists and automatically unpublish irrelevant content, without additional effort.

Don’t Believe the Loudest Voice

While it’s incredibly important to be on your toes as a marketer and pay attention to your market conditions and campaign performance, it can be incredibly easy to focus on the wrong things. One negative voice telling you something critical can skew your entire perception of your business, your marketing efforts, and your customers’ actual perceptions.

So, rather than wasting time trying to adjust to one loud, critical voice, spend your time instead analyzing data that reflects a broad base of your customers – not just the one most critical person. In an age where every digital platform is encouraging people to review your business, remember that the most likely person to leave a review is someone with a gripe – not your happy and loyal customers.

Moreover, everyone believes that they are representing your entire customer base, but you can’t trust their opinions: you have to look at the data. So, look at campaign performance on digital campaigns and benchmark it; conduct market research; survey your customers with an incentive; follow up with your clients about their knowledge of your business; and look at results. Then, spend your time adjusting to the data, not the one loud voice in your ear.

Communicate Effectively

More time and money is wasted by businesses who need to improve their internal & external communications processes. Poor communication is at the heart of misunderstandings, excessive meetings, frustrations, and conflict for your business. Whether it’s a matter of assuming everyone heard you the first time, missing people on an email list, or having simply too many details to coordinate to get your message across, poor communication will eat up your work week.

We actually have way more than few tips for strengthening your communication skills, and we’d love to share them for you! We’ve created this webinar with 7 great strategies to take your communication to the next level, and you can get free access here.

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Transform Your Workplace Culture Retriever DIgital Signage

When your company started, undoubtedly there were passionate, optimistic and visionary people who led the charge with an idea big enough that it could make a difference, and be profitable.

As the years go on, though, the idealism of those first few years fade as you face the reality of the challenges all businesses face. For many businesses, the culture can grow stale and some bad habits can take root.

One of the biggest contributing factors to a negative workplace culture we see is poor communication. The core values which defined the very life of your business become no more than a poster on the wall, because what really matters to the business isn’t being communicated effectively.

Communication is so important to the health of your company that, in most instances, healthy communication processes can fix nearly any problem.

Think about your last workplace conflict: if you boil it down, did it all come down to poor communication? Did one employee make an assumption, or have a false expectation, or a misunderstanding of another? Did someone feel undervalued, unappreciated, or sidelined? Communication is at the center of most workplace conflict.

Your business is likely seeing the symptoms of poor communication in many ways: are you having a hard time retaining staff? Does onboarding new staff take longer than you think it should? Is it hard to enact new policies and procedures?

At Retriever Digital Signage, we have been afforded the opportunity to become communications experts, working for 35 years with our clients to help them communicate more effectively.

We’ve actually put together a webinar to help you streamline your internal communications processes and we’d love to give you free access. Just click here to sign up!

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Geauga County Public Library Retriever Digital Signage

Our clients are constantly finding creative ways to put their Retriever Digital Signage to good use, and the Geauga County Public Library is no exception!

Serving 55,000 cardholders in their county-wide system, the librarians at the GCPL are tasked with finding methods of communication that work for everyone across multiple branches of their library system.

“Anytime I walked into any location, I saw stacks of paper and bookmarks everywhere, and I thought, ‘There’s got to be an easier way,'” recalls Lori Weber, Marketing Manager for the Geauga County Public Library.

“You can’t hit everybody where they are all the time. They might have missed something in the newsletter. They might not be on Facebook, they might not be on Twitter,” says Weber

The library uses their Retriever Digital Signage to promote upcoming events, closures, announcements, and library news, as well as pulling in the weather and social feeds. Each day, the library recommends a book on their social media channels, which automatically pulls into their Retriever playlist.

“We’re a visually driven culture, and used to looking at screens,” shares Patrick Culliton, Marketing Specialist for the Geauga County Public Library.

If you’re looking for creative ways to keep your patrons engaged, the Geauga County Public Library is setting a great example!

We’d love to help you discover fresh and innovative ways to utilize your digital signage too. Click here to contact us and we’d be happy to have a conversation!

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The Biggest Communication Problem You Have and How to Fix It Retriever Digital Signage

For more than three decades, our company has partnered with our clients to help them communicate more effectively. When new communication tools are introduced, we figure them out so our clients don’t have to.

In fact, that’s how we got our start: we learned to create video spots for local businesses when video became an option for businesses. Along the way, we’ve become a communication hub, and that’s how the Retriever Digital Signage came about.

Our customers needed a better way to communicate with their customers and employees that would be more effective than static signage or cluttered bulletin boards. So, we created a simple to use, web-based software that delivered beautiful and dynamic digital signage without a learning curve for the user.

Along the way, we’ve become communication experts, and there are some pitfalls that we see more often than others. When our clients have problems, in many cases, ineffective communication is at the center of the problem.

One problem emerges more than any other, though, and you’re likely guilty of this common issue. That problem is assuming others know what you know.

This assumption is at the crux of most communication issues, and plays out in a myriad of ways. Here are a couple of scenarios that might seem familiar:

Scenario #1:

Your bank has been trying to sell more home equity lines of credit, but is struggling to get customers to bite. Sure, there have been a few, but you’re just not hitting the numbers you expected for the rate you’re offering.

To solve this problem, you offer incentives to your bankers for selling the product, advertise heavily. You see a slight increase but not a significant return. You press the staff more to upsell, and nothing works.

The real problem is not your staff or your advertising, it’s your assumption that the customer understands. In this scenario, you’re assuming all of your customers know what a home equity line of credit is, how it can benefit them, and how competitive your rate is. Your communication isn’t effective because your communication isn’t meeting the desired recipient at their current level of knowledge and taking them to the point of understanding. 

The fix: Start the conversation with the problem first – on your digital signage while they wait, publish slides that help the customer to understand their problem and learn more: “Is it time for all new windows? A new roof? New flooring? You might be able to afford it now. Ask us how.”

When your customer is at the teller window, instead of saying, “Did you know you qualify for a home equity line of credit?” try, “Are you familiar with how a home equity line of credit works? I see here that you qualify.” Send them away with a pamphlet informing and showcasing your competitive rates.


Scenario #2: 

You’ve recently changed the way your company tracks time. You announced the change in your weekly staff meeting and you did a run-through of the new process. Should be good to go, right?

Except, only a few of the staff members are doing this correctly- . So you send out a company-wide message and remind them of the change. Only two more people fix the issue.

You’re frustrated and unsure of what else to do to get everyone on the same page, and begin to feel angry with your team.

The problem in this scenario is not unwillingness, it’s the assumption that your team understands after one tutorial in a team meetingAfter all, if you’re rolling out a new time tracking process, you’ve had more time in the system than anyone else, which means your depth of understanding and ability to navigate it is well beyond those on your team.

Effective communication requires repetition – that’s why our digital signage repeats the slides in a looping playlist. The more you see something, the more likely you are to learn it.

The fix: Following your staff meeting, send out a link to a video tutorial identical to what you showed your team. You could even record your screen in the meeting! Then, take screenshots of that recording, and make a quick explainer slide to put on your digital signage. From there, if there’s anyone who still doesn’t understand, you can open up your calendar with appointment slots to go over it one on one as needed.


When you approach any communication breakdown, ask yourself first: what am I assuming my audience understands? Am I certain they understand those things? If I assume they don’t understand, what would I tell them to bring them to understanding? How can I say those things?

We believe in effective communication, and we’d love to further support your pursuit of improving your own business’s communication. That’s why we’re giving away this free eBook to help. Get it here: Download our Communications Guide

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