Building the digital future with nostalgia, power of storyDigital Signage Today

2022-10-15 00:14:00 By : Mr. Baron Yu

In the fast-paced world of digital signage and technology, it seems a little paradoxical to talk about nostalgia and the power of story, but one Belgian firm is on a mission to leverage both tools in crafting the future of digital advertising and displays. Kurt Dupont is the founder of Belgium-based PresentationPoint.

Kurt Dupont is the founder of PresentationPoint, based in Belgium. Provided by Kurt Dupont.

Oct. 11, 2022 | by Daniel Brown — Editor, Networld Media Group

Q: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your work so that we can introduce you to our readers?

A: I am Kurt Dupont, founder of PresentationPoint. PresentationPoint has been active in the digital signage field since 1998 when we started by providing database systems and information screens for airports. Since our beginning, we have expanded with a range of digital signage and data-enabled presentation software products. Today, we have over 10,000 clients including NASA, NATO, SpaceX, Airbus, BASF, Bank of America and many others.

Q: Digital Signage Today is interested in the international scene as we move into the new year. We understand you are based in Belgium. Can you tell us a little bit about the DOOH and digital signage markets in the EU in general and Belgium in particular, especially current trends and what we should be watching for in the coming year?

A: Traditional signage in Europe is being replaced by digital signage at a phenomenal rate primarily because digital signage can show so much more in the same space and is easy and inexpensive to change. And being able to add motion, video and sound is a major evolution in signage's ability to draw attention.

The trend in Belgium and more in general for Europe is that more and more companies are using digital signage towards employees for in-house communication and motivation. This market, next to signage in retail, is growing rapidly.

Q: Now that pandemic seems to be better under control, DOOH is enjoying fairly healthy growth trends and predictions. Do you seen DOOH growing, and what are some new trends in the post-lockdown marketplace?

A: Many companies understandingly paused their planned DOOH and other advertising spending for a variety of reasons such as fewer people traveling, consumer uncertainty, and the difficulty of getting people's attention during the pandemic and political unrest.

Now that the pandemic seems under control, I believe that businesses will be looking for ways to bring their brands to consumer's attention again and I believe DOOH will be a big part of this.

Q: DOOH isn't just about the famous digital billboards in Times Square. It's huge at airports, train stations and other transport hubs. Just how big is digital communication in the transport space, and what's the future of this side of the industry?

A: The transport space is one of those perfect spots that not only has great potential for digital signage but absolutely needs digital signage! Travelers need to know what gates their plane, train or other conveyance is leaving from and at what time. Key safety information is much easier to provide in digital signage format instead of printed signs.

And nearly everyone traveling needs to find food and drink, so digital signage food and beverage advertising works fantastically with this "captive audience." And most food places now use digital menu boards to show their food and beverage options, advertise and inform.

Q: Tell us a little bit about the power of retro and nostalgia in digital advertising and communication. It seems like a paradox, but why are they so powerful today, and do you think this is something that marketers and businesses need to lean into?

A: As our world gets busier and we are overwhelmed with the barrage of modern life, we naturally long for a simpler, happier time. But it often isn't a real, past time we are nostalgic for; rather it is a mental construct of this simpler happier time we long for. We remember our favorite things from that era while conveniently forgetting the scars, issues and problems of these times. But nostalgia is a powerful emotion and one that can be useful for certain brands and campaigns.

Q: Where does the use of nostalgia work well, and where can it backfire?

A: Nostalgia use in campaigns can work well in two instances. One, where the use of nostalgia is a natural fit for the brand, and two, where the target audience has a strong nostalgic longing that can fit the brand story you are telling.

Nostalgia can backfire if you don't pick the right nostalgic approach for your target audience (something nostalgic for a 50 year old may not attract a 30 year old at all) or if it doesn't feel natural for the brand — if it feels like an artificial fit where you are trying to fit a round peg into a square hole.

As a more specific example, you might link your product to an old product well-known for its ruggedness and find it backfires when your new, plastic version of the product lacks the same durability.

Q: Is this something advertisers should lean into more?

A: I would say yes if it is a good fit for your target audience, brand and your brand story.

Q: Is it a paradox that nostalgia can be so powerful in a high-tech environment like DOOH?

A: In a way, yes. Many people use the latest technology to emulate computers and games from their childhood, even when newer computers and games have so much more capability. A modern e-book reader can make it easier to preserve and distribute public domain older books from William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Mary Shelley and others. High technology makes it easier for us to create nostalgic campaigns by using iconic imagery, music, and storytelling.

Q: What is one of your personal favorites when it comes to nostalgic communications that you have seen?

A: Well, of course, my first answer is going to be Split-Flap TV. This is our reinvention of the old split-flap boards that used to be in every airport and train station. We use modern technology to simulate the split-flap looks, sounds, messaging and nostalgic charm on any TV screen while forgoing the cost and maintenance issues of using electromechanical physical modules to flip the letters on the traditional version of these boards.

Q: DST feels that it is worth investing attention outside of some of the traditional areas of focus (North America, Eurozone) and minding the rapid growth in emerging markets, notably Asia Pacific. Do you see this growth continuing, and where do you see the global future of the industry going?

A: North America has always liked to think of itself as a technology leader, but Asia Pacific has often led the way. Japan, for example, have long been leaders in high-speed trains, smartphones, robots and digital signage. And, of course, most technology is being built in Asia.

In general, Asia is technology-friendly, innovative and a great potential growth area for digital signage.

Q: More personally, we sometimes like to ask our friends in the industry: What got you into the business, and what keeps you coming back day after day?

A: I originally started to create a solution to a problem, and I have enjoyed helping clients solve their problems and creating additional solutions ever since.

Q: What are you most excited about in the near future of DOOH and digital signage?

A: I am really excited about DOOH's growth potential and the ever-increasing capabilities of digital signage. Live data is something that I think is an emerging trend in digital signage and this is why our DataPoint and Split-Flap TV software is data-enabled and focused to accommodate our client's needs here. I think the Internet of Things (IoT) is going to be much bigger than imagined and we are developing greater capability in this area.

Q: What do you feel is the biggest mistake digital communicators are making today, and how can businesses avoid it?

A: Focusing too much on selling and forgetting the power of storytelling.

Q: If you had one piece of advice for businesses, marketers and digital communicators as we see a period of unprecedented change and growth, what would it be?

A: Monitor what others are doing in their successful digital signage campaigns, and apply the success principles to your own brand and campaign. We maintain a case studies area on our website for this purpose so our clients can see other campaigns that worked.

Q: Rounding things out, the world of DOOH and digital signage are evolving almost faster than one person can keep track of, so we like to ask if you have any other observations, suggestions or pieces of advice for our readers as we go into another dynamic year which will no doubt be stuffed to the gills with new technologies and other surprises?

A:Learn: Subscribe to the leading news feeds in the digital signage industry, and follow them on social media.

Ask: Instead of starting from a standstill, ask your software providers for suggestions on your campaigns and ask them for examples and case studies of how others are using the software. Then build upon these ideas and case studies.

Test and fail often: You have to try campaigns to see how they work. Create multiple campaigns and split-test them. Learn from the failures and build better campaigns.

Daniel Brown is the editor of Digital Signage Today. He is an accomplished technology writer whose experience includes creating knowledge base content for a major university’s computing services department. His previous experience also includes IT project management, technical support and education. He can usually be found in a coffee shop near a large pile of books.

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