Recently, Matt and I sat down with Gina Kuck, Business Development for National Accounts at Daktronics, and Jess Bern, Strategic Marketing for On-Premise Business at Daktronics, for a conversation on The Daktronics Experience podcast. The conversation includes how COVID-19 has impacted the use of digital signage by both small and large businesses, the free content Daktronics is providing, what communities are doing to show support during this time and more. Here are some of the main points from our conversation.
Justin: Today we’re talking about how businesses can pivot their message during times of need, and specifically during this current time of uncertainty. How are you seeing our customers providing relevant messaging and remaining connected with their consumers or their community?
Gina: Well what I see customers doing right now is that they are moving away from their retail message to something that revolves around assurance or confidence. So, the playlists I’m seeing are being dialed back from 7-10 messages to more like three, and in some cases one. And I think it’s a smart move. Emotionally, consumers can’t tolerate a bunch of noise right now and they need that comfort and underlying tone of helpfulness.
I saw one of our local businesses that I would say historically are very product and service heavy. The only message that they have on their display right now is, “We’re doing everything we can to be clean.” And I just thought that was an interesting way to give the community confidence that it’s ok to pump gas at their convenience store.
Jess: There was a great example in Sioux Falls, SD, where I live. Our community was holding an event to show appreciation for our healthcare workers and keep the community together, keeping ties with each other while also maintaining social distancing. It was also a fundraiser to help those in need within the community that didn’t have enough food or supplies or the ability to pay their rent. This specific event was called Light Up Sioux Falls and the residents of Sioux Falls were encouraged to go outside of their homes one night at a specific time, turn on their lights and shine a light up into the sky. A helicopter was circling the area and was capturing video and footage of the city as it lit up.
One of our customers showed their support to the community by using their outdoor LED signs and they put up a message related to the event to spread awareness. They lit up their building as well and then they took this beautiful photo that they shared on their Facebook page. It was a cool concept and I think it would be an idea generator for any other communities out there that are looking for events to tie their community together.
Justin: How about you, Gina? Are you seeing our local customers using displays and content in similar ways?
Gina: Locally, in our little community of Brookings, our own hospital reached out to us. The director of marketing was anxious for assistance. She asked if we could create some messaging to share locally so that our citizens knew what to do when entering local health care facilities. They need individuals to call before they come in because they could be putting the health care staff at risk. I said we could certainly help in terms of content with our library, as Jess has mentioned. But I also said, “Why don’t we put one of our demo trailers right in front of your business? Wouldn’t that be more effective for you?” We had grounded our fleet because of what is going on right now. She became emotional because she felt like that was something that was going to create an impact. We pulled the permit and were able to use our displays to help our community and their staff.
Justin: If you have a digital display right now and you are looking for some messaging like this, is there a way they can quickly get messages regarding COVID-19 to put on their displays?
Jess: Yes, definitely. We have a strong team of digital artists here at Daktronics and they’ve been creating content for our customer’s LED signs. That team has built out a great library of content and we are continuing to add messages to that library as we identify additional challenges that our customers are facing. We know business owners are really challenged to keep up with their business right now and they don’t really have time to worry about creating that content for their sign. We want to help them out and help remove that burden by providing this content free of charge.
The restaurant business has changed dramatically, and we recognized that early on, so we’ve been putting together a great package of content for the restaurant industry with messages that highlight their drive-thru, carry out and no-touch delivery service. Another industry that we focused on is health care facilities. These people are obviously on the front lines dealing with the situation and they need to be able to communicate with their patients and keep themselves safe. So, we have created some specific content pieces that fit those needs as well. We also focused on our convenience store industry and content to help with their changing business.
Matt: And this content is free, correct?
Jess: Yes, all of it is 100% free. We have been putting it out there in several places like our Daktronics Business and Community blog and social media. We’re going to be keeping our ears to the ground to understand how we can even better support our customers with additional content in this library as we find our new normal.
Gina: Jess is right, a new normal will be revealed to us over time. As we think about what we can do right now, I think we must be thoughtful on a day to day basis and we have to focus on the things that matter and continue with a spirit of optimism.