Communicate Well: Brand Voice DRM Productions

For a small business, sometimes getting any content out is nothing short of a miracle. After all, you spend your days thinking about your clients before yourselves and next thing you know, months have passed and your own marketing has been neglected.

Perhaps you’re lucky enough to have an in-house marketing professional or an agency telling your story so that you can focus on your line of business. But, if you’re like many business owners, you have probably felt out of sync with your messaging at one point or another.

Developing a consistent brand voice that represents you well is key to an effective communications strategy. Simply put, a brand voice is how your company expresses itself. A thoughtful strategy on brand voice can unify a marketing department of hundreds and at the same time can direct your Vice President of Everything to ensure your business is always represented well.

Some things to consider when developing your brand voice are your style, your tone, and the type of content you’ll be putting out. Take into account who your target audience is and what will appeal to them. For example, if you’re a 20-something entrepreneur who’s trying to reach senior citizens, you’ll need to adjust your brand voice to ensure that you’re building trust with your target audience. This may mean eliminating slang, a bit of formality, and an understanding of your target audience’s use of the internet.

When you think about style in brand voice, once you’ve identified your target, consider:

  • What level of vocabulary will you use? (Are you reaching experts in a field or new parents?)
  • Should you use slang?
  • Should you allow cursing?
  • Should you use contractions?
  • Determine the ideal length of sentences and paragraphs. Is this a scholarly article or a blog post?
  • How substantial should your content be?

Tone is the attitude of your writing. People always pick up on the tone of a piece, even if it’s as short as a digital sign. When you consider tone, think about these things:

  • How formal/informal should your tone be to reach your desired audience?
  • What undertones do you want to send out (enthusiasm? expertise? trust?) and in what ways would you like to do that?
  • What feeling do you want to evoke in your reader?
  • Will you use humor, and in what ways?

These are just a few considerations for developing a brand voice, but if you can answer all of these questions for your business you’ll be well on your way to managing a cohesive brand voice on all channels of communication.

And, if this feels a little daunting, let our experts help. Since communication is our business, we can help you develop and launch an expert strategy. Get in touch and allow us to guide you.

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Multitasker

We’ve all had weeks where we felt like we just couldn’t get a thing done. Between too many meetings, the never-ending inbox, and the ever-increasing to do list, “maximizing productivity” can sound a little bit like discovering a leprechaun.

Luckily, it’s not as mystical as it seems, but increasing your weekly output can happen when you prioritize a few great habits for the 21st century workplace. Here are our top 3 tips for maximizing productivity, even if it seems impossible:

Schedule Ahead

Schedule Ahead

For companies and professionals who have been at this awhile, the landscape of digital marketing can seem more than daunting. A 21st century communications strategy requires daily output, sometimes multiple times a day. These little interruptions (tweet!) can derail (post!) your entire (gram!) workday if you’re not careful. Luckily, most digital tools allow you to schedule ahead as far in advance as you like, and you should. On our Retriever Digital Signage interface, we have created this feature as well – so do all your signs for a month in a few minutes when you have time, and then focus on the work that matters.

Quit Multitasking

multitasking

What we once considered a fine skill has turned into a lack of focus in the 21st century. Multitasking divides your attention and is a killer for productivity. When you’re working on a project, let that be the only window open on your screen. Close your email and focus on the task at hand. It will go faster, you’ll do a better job at it, and the same emails will be there when you get that job done.

Work in 90-minute Intervals

Take Breaks

Ever hear of the law of diminishing returns? It’s true of your productivity too. That all-nighter might get the job done, but it won’t be your best work and you will likely spend more time on it than you would if you set boundaries around your project time. So, set a timer and at the end of 90 minutes take a break, get some fresh air or take a brief walk around your workspace, and then check those notifications you’ve silenced for the past 90 minutes.  After about 15-30 minutes, jump back into that project, or start a new one with fresh eyes.

Our team can help you maximize productivity with our easy digital signage solution. Email us at contact@retrieverdigitalsignage.com or call 419-525-2127 and we’ll get to work.

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Nobody’s perfect, and we’ve made these errors too. But, in the digital age, poor grammar is an instant chip on your credibility. Bookmark this and reference back when you’re unsure!

Commonly-Made Grammar Errors

  1. Your/You’re – “Your” is a possessive pronoun, as in “your car” or “your desk“. “You’re” is a contraction of “you are“. For example: “You’re screwing up your writing by using ‘your’ when you mean ‘you are.’”
  2. There/Their/They’re – “There” is a location. “Their” is something that a group possesses – “their team.” “They’re” is a contraction of “they are“. You may need to slow down your typing to talk this one out to be sure you’ve chosen the right word!
  3. Historic/Historical – “Historic” means an important event that is happening right now, or will happen such as “Tom’s market announces a historic sale on custom fruit baskets this weekend.”Historical” is something that happened in the past.
  4. Lay/Lie – Lay requires a direct object and lie does not. You lie down on the sofa (no direct object), but you lay the book down on the table (the book is the direct object). This is in the present tense, where you are talking about doing something now: you lie down on the sofa, and you lay down a book.
  5. Fewer/Less – If you can count it, use “fewer” to describe. If you cannot, use “less“. Kari has less incentive to come in early since the office cappuccino machine is down.
  6. Apostrophe – You only use an apostrophe in for contractions (i.e. don’t, can’t, isn’t, etc.) or to show possession. Never to show a plural – we see this often in talking about a family – they’re the Damrons not the Damron’s.
  7. Loose/Lose – Please proof carefully for this one. If your hold on grammar is to loose, you might lose clients because you appear unprofessional.
  8. Affect/Effect – “Affect” is a verb, as in: “Your ability to communicate clearly will affect your clients.”Effect” is primarily a noun, as in: “The effect of poor communication has been well documented in the demise of relationships.”
  9. Then/Than – As a general rule, “than” should be used when making a comparison such a: “This is bigger than that.” “Then” applies to all other instances as it has a variety of meanings including “in addition to” and “at a point in time.”
  10. Its/It’s – “Its” is a possessive pronoun as in: “That dog dropped its toy for you throw again.” “It’s” is a contraction of “it is” or “it has”, so try saying your sentence out loud using “it is” before you add that apostrophe!
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Choose Your Typeface Carefully

So, you have your Retrievers up and running and you’re already noticing that people actually know about the things you’ve been communicating – win! Ready to take it to the next level? Here are our pro-tips for signage that communicates effectively:

Choose Your Typeface Carefully

1. Choose your Typeface Wisely – Your message needs to be readable, so select a typeface or font that it can be easily read from a distance without straining the eyes. We like sans serif fonts like Arial, Helvetica and Verdana because they are easy to read with a uniform stroke and stand out well against backgrounds.

2. Size matters - Make sure that the size of your font is appropriately readable for all of your screens and their placements. If you’re not sure, send your sign to your smallest screen or the one mounted the farthest away from the eyes, and see if you can read it easily or need to strain to see it.

3. Less is way, way more – One oft-broken rule we see from our Retriever customers is over-crowding their signs with too much text. We know, there’s a lot you need to communicate, but just like Twitter has a character limit, pretend your Retriever’s do too. To test your message, stand in front of your screen and close your eyes, then open for 3 seconds. If you can’t read and understand the whole message, shrink it.

4. Choose colors carefully – A perfectly crafted message is pointless if you haven’t chosen contrasting colors that are easy for anyone to read. Some of your guests are colorblind, and everyone struggles to see similar hues placed together. We think that white text against a dark or saturated color is always a winning strategy!

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Happy Human Resources Manager Kristen Steele

We know, you love wasting your time. When you put together a poster, you want it to get lost among fifty others and never be seen. Right?

Yeah. We know. When you have things you’re required to post for your employees, the really important, time-sensitive stuff just gets lost in the mix. But, there’s a better way.

Great Human Resources managers are learning that digital signage is the answer to the cluttered bulletin board! 21st century brains are programmed to look at screens, so stop trying to beat them with your corkboard, join them!

Break Room with Retriever Digital Signage

While your employees are in the break room, they could be learning about your upcoming company picnic, your quarterly goals, the achievements of their co-workers, local news… the options are limitless. What’s amazing is, the content is easy to come up with because it’s what you’re already creating it – you’re just translating it to your signage to make sure it’s not lost in the mix.

kristensteele“In an organization where I’m trying to communicate to employees, one of the worst things in the world is the dreaded ‘message board.’ Message boards are messy, clunky, they look terrible. You can keep them for labor laws, employment law posters, and the things you need to have posted, but there’s no need to try to coordinate the next employee luncheon that way. Digital signage streamlines things and makes it much nicer looking,” shares Kristin Steele, Director of Marketing and Publisher Relations for Bookmasters

One of the greatest features of digital signage is that you can manage all of your signs from your computer, quickly and simply. The Retriever interface is simple to use and you can quickly make changes, send an urgent message out, or duplicate slides to every sign. When you streamline your communication through digital signage, you can spend your day on your job’s primary function instead of repeating yourself over and over.

Are you a Human Resources manager who’s looking for a better way? Let us help. Reach out to us by emailing contact@retrieverdigitalsignage.com or calling 419-525-2127.

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Retriever Digital Signage at Bookmasters

Human Resources directors know that when your employees feel like they are seen, heard, and valued, a business thrives. We live in the age of the “selfie,” the “personal profile,” the “doubleshot grande iced soy mocha latte,” an age when individualism is everything. But, how do you emphasize the individuals in your big company while taking care of all your other job functions?

The key is an effective, engaging communications strategy. Let’s be real: no one’s paying attention to the birthday list you’ve tacked to your office’s cluttered bulletin board. When your messages are getting lost in the mix, it’s easy for your team to feel like just another cog in the wheel.

Retriever Digital Signage at Bookmasters

Employing an engaging digital signage strategy in your workplace gives your Human Resources team the ability to be in dozens of places at once, without ever leaving their desk. Outstanding HR departments are employing their Retriever Digital Signs to celebrate birthdays, personal successes, and business goals every day in a way that’s visually stimulating and far more effective at capturing the attention of their team.

Did your team just hit a milestone? Did a major client just change an order? Or perhaps someone left their lights on in the employee parking lot. Whatever the time-sensitive update may be, digital signs are perfect for making announcements instantly, since it only takes a few moments at your computer to send an urgent message to your entire fleet of digital signs.

“I don’t think it even took a couple of weeks [with the signs up in our facility] before people were already emailing me, and coming by my office, and calling me and saying, ‘Hey, you know so-and-so had this happen in their personal life, like their kids won some really great award or something great happened in the community and they were featured by a local organization,'” shares Kristen Steele, Director of Marketing and Public Relations at Bookmasters in Ashland, Ohio.

Keep it simple, and give our team the chance to take your human resources to the next level by emailing us at contact@retrieverdigitalsignage.com or calling 419-525-2127.

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You’ve already got your digital signage up and running and you know what you’re doing. Here are some tips to take your signage from good to great!

1. Proof-read

the art of writting

The meaning of a sign with grammatical errors and misspellings instantly changes from the message you intended to “we don’t know what we’re doing.” In the age of fake news and spam emails, the importance of correct spelling goes way beyond your high school English class – it’s an instant determination of credibility. If grammar and spelling isn’t your forte, find a proof-reader to glance over your signs before they publish and deploy the message you intended!

2. Employ video

via GIPHY

As you move throughout the world, notice where your eye is drawn. Moving lights and colors catch your attention – and the data is there to back it up. Video is more eye-catching and engaging to the human brain. Whether you have produced videos to run on your digital signage or not, we have numerous video features that will turn even a static image into a visually engaging sign.

 

Color Palette

3. Tie in your brand color scheme

Brand is so much more than just a logo, the color scheme of a website, and the colors of your new staff polo shirts. Brand is about identity – it’s about aesthetically communicating what your company is all about. Sports teams really understand this: when a stadium is filled with your team’s colors, there’s an unspoken sense of community and pride that emerges simply because of the visual unity. By simply integrating your brand color palette throughout your digital signage, your brand identity strengthens with virtually zero effort.

 

mouse-1345876_12804. Less is more

Your digital sign isn’t your brochure or your website, it doesn’t need to have all of the information. Instead, think of your sign as a touchpoint that sends a clear, concise message. Don’t clutter your sign with too much information, instead strategically choose brief messaging that will be easily read in a few seconds.

5. Variety

1280px-Variety_is_the_spice_of_lifeIt’s the spice of life, right? Employing a mix of informative, interesting, and promotional content on your digital signage will keep your customers engaged for a longer period of time. Utilize one of our trivia slides, or local news headlines, or share some of your social media content using our integration tools, for starters.

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As small business owners, we know what it feels like to wear all the hats. Small business owners are at once the CEO/CFO/COO/VP of Marketing/Secretary and more. It’s critical for a jack-of-all-trades that whatever they do to promote their business is easy, fast, and effective so that they can spend their time on other things.

We created the Retriever Digital Signage to be so easy to use that your dog could create your signs (well, if he can spell). When you login to edit your signs, there are no questions about where to navigate – all your signs are listed in nice, large font-size along the left side of the dashboard.

Retriever Digital Signage Dashboard

Retriever Digital Signage Dashboard

We’re constantly adding new pre-built slides and templates into the system, but we don’t want you to have to dig for that, so we make it easy for you to peruse when you login.

Once you select the screen you’re working on, the building couldn’t be more simple. Simply add, move, or edit a slide in a few moments using our clean and straight-forward interface.

Screen Shot 2017-04-19 at 11.05.49 AM

Once you select the slide you want to use, you can run it as-is, or edit the “Slide Details” to customize as much or as little as you like.

Screen Shot 2017-04-19 at 11.16.24 AM

 

You don’t have to wonder whether your changes have been saved, because your work area shows you exactly what your slide will look like without even needing to refresh.

 

Screen Shot 2017-04-19 at 11.18.06 AM

 

Have a slow day or a summer intern? You can schedule all of your signage for the year if you want! Schedule exactly when you want your signage to publish and unpublish, as many times as you like. That way you don’t have to babysit your signage, it’s just done!

 

Retriever Digital Signage Scheduling

 

 

 

Once your slides are the way you want them, it’s easy as pie to duplicate them to other screens. Select the screen you want to display the slide on and roll your mouse over the positions to see what’s currently on that slide.

Retriever Digital Signage Duplication

 

All of this management can be done in a few minutes, and you can move on to more important things, while you tell your story and promote your business effectively with brightly colored video and images to your customers.

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Screen Shot 2017-04-03 at 11.10.58 AM

No money in the marketing budget to hire a graphic designer? No worries! You can create eye-catching and beautiful signage simply, even if graphic design isn’t your thing. Here are three tips for amping up your graphic design for your Retriever screens:

1. Less is more

Less is more

 

Remember, your digital signs don’t have to be the encyclopedia – their job is to communicate a message and start a conversation with a customer. The average person’s attention span is 8 seconds, so overwhelming them with information will just tune them out. Try to limit the amount of text and information you’re putting on a slide to the most important points.

2. Keep them engaged with moving images

via GIPHY

Moving backgrounds, zooming in, a curtain reveal – take your pick! We have numerous options that allow elements of the slide to move in the Retriever software, subconsciously engaging your customers while they passively view your signage to ensure your message hits home.

3. Off-set text with a solid color background

Screen Shot 2017-04-03 at 11.10.58 AM

Created in 10 Seconds on the Retriever Work Area

You don’t want your customers to have to make any effort to read your signage – the text should jump off the screen at them! Choose an image and overlay text in a way that’s readable and contrasting in color: light on dark, dark on light. Pro tip: light text on dark is easier to read on a screen than dark text on a light background.

Your one-man-shop can have the output of a full staff with the right tools. If you’d like to learn more about Retriever Digital Signage, contact us via email at contact@retrieverdigitalsignage.com or by phone at 419-525-2127 and our experts will give you a hand.

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Retriever Slide Editing

In the past decade, a wealth of new advertising tools have exploded into our culture, and that’s a good thing… mostly. Marketing professionals can barely bat their eyes without having a new tool roll out, a new channel, a new option. It’s an amazing time to be a marketer, but also a bit dizzying. Many of the most effective tools are also the most complex to use, and require an incredible amount of man hours to manage.

That’s why it’s so important to us to make sure that digital signage is super-effective and wildly easy to use. After all, you don’t need to get one more certification or go through one more webinar. Your time is valuable and keeping it simple is just smart.

Here’s a glimpse at how easy it is to create a slide, schedule it, and duplicate it among all your screens:

Retriever Digital Signage Work Area

Retriever Digital Signage Work Area

There’s no guesswork involved in figuring what’s currently running on your digital sign, and in what order. Slides that are on the right side of the work area are running, and slides that are on the left are not, making it easy to shuffle things in and out, move them around, or delete them altogether.

Retriever Digital Signage Slide Categories

Retriever Digital Signage Slide Categories

If you’re a graphic designer, it’s easy to upload a completed slide by simply choosing the “Pictures” slide category – but since we know that most businesses don’t have that luxury, we’ve made graphic design simple by creating a long list of slide templates. Choose your favorite!

Retriever Slide Editing

Retriever Slide Editing

Upload your favorite image and customize your text, simply, without ever leaving the work area. Everything is on one screen, you don’t need to learn any jargon, it’s straight-forward and ready to go.

Retriever Slide Customization

Retriever Slide Customization

Keep an eye on your final product by simply glancing above the work area for a real-time update. And, stay on brand with hex code customizable colors for any slide!

Screen Shot 2017-04-03 at 10.12.47 AM

Time is money, and if you’re a smart marketer (and you obviously are if you’ve read this far!) you are probably scheduling your signs in advance so you don’t have to give it a second thought. You can schedule your slides to publish and unpublish however it works best for you! Bonus, it’s easy to tell at a glance if your slide has been scheduled by simply glancing at the center arrow: if it’s a clock with an arrow towards the right, you’re scheduled to publish – an arrow to the left means you’re scheduled to unpublish.

Duplicate Your Retriever Slide

Duplicate Your Retriever Slide

Once you’re happy with your slide, there’s no need to go through the effort of recreation for every screen you use, simply click the duplicate button and choose the slide position and screens you want. And, there’s no guesswork involved in slide positions – we’ll give you a preview of the slide position when you rollover the choices.

Marketing in the 21st century requires more of marketers than ever before, and Retriever Digital Signage makes certain that your brains don’t have to give a second thought to make sure your digital signage is eye-catching and effective. If you’d like to learn more, contact us via email at contact@retrieverdigitalsignage.com or by phone at 419-525-2127 and our experts can help to make digital signage the easiest marketing tool you use.

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