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Digital Signage In Full Swing Over The Holidays

Digital signage and the holiday retail workforce surge

We are now in the most scrutinized period of retail each year. The “holiday season” is upon us. Just a few years ago this period didn’t start until “Black Friday,” but in today’s world it starts the minute you put away the spider webs and pumpkins of Halloween. And for retail HR and training teams it actually starts as early as September.

That’s when they start hiring the extra staff to handle the holiday business rush. Large retailers (those with more than 100,000 employees) will surge as much as 40 to 50 percent in the hourly associates they employee during the holidays. This is good for the economy and helps a lot of people. But it is full of challenges too.

Think about your own workplace: When a new person starts, they have to learn the systems you use, the practices and policies you follow and where the washroom is located. What if you suddenly had 50 new co-workers all starting the same day?

In addition to the volume of new hires, the typical large retail location has more than 100,000 different product SKUs. Training on policies, systems and the product mix are all important to associate success. This is what our friends in retail are faced with each year.

Most retailers have a conundrum to face — they could give the new hire a large binder of information and direct them to read the information. But in the hourly workforce, you need to pay people when they are doing work-related activities. It is difficult and not practical to send people home to learn and have to track hours. So new hires need to undertake this learning in the store. And forget about giving a millennial new hire a notebook to read. This is not how they learn. They learn by viewing and experiencing. You need to provide a way for these new team members to “watch their way to knowledge.”

I submit that the successful retailers will use this as an opportunity to build engagement within their entire workforce, not just the seasonal hires. The successful retailer will create a practice where new hires are given a place to view information in an “on-demand” fashion. They can take the time they need to watch and re-watch content until they feel they have achieved mastery — then go out on the show floor with a “mentor” and experience what they have learned. By giving the new hire a chance to watch some material in advance, they turn the time with a mentor into a workshop experience rather than just a knowledge transfer. The retailer can provide consistent instruction at all locations by using digital signage to play recorded training videos from the home office. Then the local mentors can work with the new hire to talk about how local variances help achieve greater success. This mentoring relationship will build engagement within the workforce and provide a greater level of energy and improved customer service.

The next time you are in your favorite retailer and one of their associates is helping you find something or helping you check out, ask them about their experience as they joined the team at that store. Judge for yourself whether they are engaged and ready to support a culture of success.

Interview with Brent Nacu: The Links Between HR and Digital Signage

As we enter the second day of the annual HRPA Conference and Trade Show,Brent Nacu, our Director of Business Development, tells the Editor of The HR Gazette why he’s attending the event and his hopes for the coming year.

Brent gives his insights into the growing adoption of new internal communications screen media technologies amongst HR professionals and why Digital Signage is here to stay.

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Editor: Tell us a bit about your career history and how you first came to learn about the HRPA Conference

Brent Nacu: The HRPA Conference is a national leader inside of the Canadian HR Industry. I personally have been in Management for over 10 years and traditionally viewed HR from the outside. It has really been in the last few years as that our company has seen a dramatic shift in who the end users of our Digital Signage programs became. We developed a strong understanding of the relationship between HR and Corporate Communications. I would sit with and train HR Directors, Managers and Coordinators on using Digital Signage and hear the challenges and real world problems they faced in communications. Problems off the top were how to engage Mutli-site communications, Multi -lingual barriers, how to reach shift and hourly-paid employees effectively and maybe the biggest… How an HR Coordinator or Maanager can save 100 hours a year in labour using Digital Signage over more traditional print, walk, send, post strategies.

These experiences and long hours of insight impacted our views and influenced development to creat a user experience that was as easy as possible. The key was about getting our head into the HR space and thinking like an HR professional. I ended up taking HR courses at University and sitting in on our own internal programs. It has produced a well -rounded connection, not only for myself, but for our company in accessing and understanding the best way to partner Communication Technology and HR Strategies.

Editor: What do you want people to know about you? About L Squared? 

Brent Nacu: L Squared has become an industry leader in the Digital Signage space worldwide by creating a platform that was easy to use (drag and drop), reliable and super cost effective. This combination is an innovation in our industry. The innovation has little to do with just having and hiring bright staff, although we have a lot. The innovation was the result of spending time with our customers and listening to their issues and what “would be great to have.” The results were consistent innovation and a trust level with every customer we have. You can’t buy that. It is an internal culture you grow from self actualization, or team actualization in this case that related to our purpose as a business and “Why we do what we do.”

Editor: Tell us 3 benefits of attending the HRPA Conference 

Brent Nacu: Let’s see. The first is Industry Insights – learning the combination of challenges, success and innovations that are shifting HR into an Employee Success Centric unit globally. Second is Networking,  the opportunity to meet and connect with companies of all sizes. Its great hearing the insights that a company of 350 employees has versus 35,000. The programs that work, scale and grow. And also the programs and headaches that didn’t work so well.  Thirdly I’d say Business Development – It’s all about the people!  Relationships 101  if you will. But there is a lot of cross-functional developments taking place in the world of software and conference brings out players at every turn.

Editor: What speakers will you be looking to hear from at the conference and why?

Brent Nacu: Nicole Bendaly. Scott Stratte  and  Mike Walsh for starters. They all bring a different perspective to the table. Stratten’s session on culture is the future , Mike Walsh is going to discuss the Cloud and how software will continue revolutionizing HR .Of course Nicole Bendaly. She is both an academic and a CEO. Hard ot find that kind of experience packaged together.

Editor: How useful is the trade show for developing new relationships?

Brent Nacu: The trade-show and sessions are the “meat and potatoes”  of the experience. Although I prefer some vegetables in most of my meals. I get to browse the vendors, meet new faces and get a pulse for the direction we’re headed. The trade show is a must see. It would be like attending the auto show and skipping the cars but listening to panelists. Plus, there is a  lot of chocolate and free pens.

Editor: What’s the connection between Digital Signage and HR?

Brent Nacu: Two words: Centralized Communications. Over the next 10 years, every HR department in the world with over 75 employees will have at least one screen centrally located to push and engage staff with the latest and greatest. The days of posting job opps, anniversaries, birthdays and special announcements on paper is nearly gone. Digital Signage is the communication medium that all HR will drive through on a centralized level. And it can be managed from your desk, phone or house.

Editor: Why do you believe 2015 will be a good year to incorporate Digital Signage into one’s HR strategy?

Brent Nacu: 2015 is a banner year where software and hardware prices are the most affordable ever. You can install and run a brand new screen in your lunchroom or front entrance for around $5.00 to $6.00 per day.  That’s .25 Cents / hour to communicate instantly with staff anything required. That can include Emergency Messaging as well in some cases. The time and energy savings to HR create a very attractive  ROI.

Editor: Why don’t more HR pros already know about using Digital Signage for internal communications? 

Brent Nacu: Simple Answer: HR doesn’t buy or procure turnkey solutions, they let procurement or IT. So even though HR wins, they might not be comfortable with or care about the size of the screen, how the network connects or how it is hosted. The key is not focusing on the brief technical details, but the operation and results. In fact my last training was a few days ago and the HR team outweighed the IT in the room 2:1. HR is getting it. The problem was our industry didn’t target or create the avenue for HR to become the champion. That is changing. Particularly in Corporate settings and Manufacturing.

Editor: What are some of the most common problems Digital Signage solves for HR and can you offer any client examples?

Brent Nacu: Most common solutions Digital Signage address include: immediate and remote uploading of materials. Instead of emailing another location and having multiple HR staff or managers go around posting materials, do it all from one place, at one time. The energy savings in terms of HR time is invaluable.

The next HR Problem it solves is that Digital Signage stores huge amounts of your content. Instead of reproducing a holiday wishes poster, simply re-use the 2014 version for 2015. This works for safety reminders and content that revolves in the HR loop.

Third, and maybe the biggest value is the scheduling ability. Forget taking down posters, forgetting timelines, etc… Digital Signage lets you “Set it and Forget It!” Put up a Word Doc Job Posting fora Regional Sales Manager. Set it for 2 weeks of run time and then it will automatically come down for the date you set. It doesn’t get any better for HR.

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About Brent Nacu:

BRENT_NACUBrent Nacu is a driven, strategic, customer-focused professional with a focus towards developing internal communications strategies within HR teams. Having joined L Squared Digital Signage on the ground floor, Brent has been a key leader in operational development as well as in the long term business strategy and execution of new programs. Recent work with the Ontario HR community includes Brent’s very popular session at last Fall’s Social HR Camp in Toronto.

Brent is passionate about making life fun, and getting the most out of the people around him. He inspires thought leadership and critical thinking that elevates and engage others. When he’s not studying for his HRPA accreditations, Brent likes to use his spare time to support numerous community organizations including the Danielle Nacu Scholarship Fund, Share the Road, MDI, and the Ontario Safe Cycling Coalition.

First published in The HR Gazette

Our Big Five Predictions for Digital Signage in 2015

Wow! Its 2015 already?! Well let’s go fellow Digital Signage enthusiasts!

2015 is going to be a big year for the industry. L Squared is pleased to say that we’re involved in some of the biggest projects coming out of North America in the coming months. Spoilers.. more to come on that later.

For now let’s take an overview of what could happen in Digital Signage this year. Here are our top 5 predictions:

1. Digital Signage finally becomes a mainstay of the ‘standard digital marketing mix’

2015 will be the year that Digital Signage comes out of the shadows and fits firmly at the heart of integrated marketing campaigns.

Better Digital Signage CMS technology and more intelligent content scheduling has laid the foundations for this year to see general adoption of digital signage along side other forms of advertising and the more established marketing channels such as social and email.

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2. HR gets involved:

As Marketing bosses bring Digital Signage into budgets, so too will HR. We’d predict that it will still be a while until HR really embraces the internal communications power which the channel offers but events like socialhrcamp are already paving the way for Digital Signage to fill an important employee engagement gap.

3. iBeacons and NFC proliferate

iBeacons and NFC are technologies that are sparking tests, concepts and consternation among digital signage network operators and software providers. In 2015, Apple will unlock its NFC chip, opening up a wave of adoption. iBeacon tests will spread quickly.

Both approaches will endure, but with differing use cases. There does not appear to be a clear path to integration with digital signage for the push technology, iBeacon.

We predict that, for now, the pull technology of NFC, bolstered by payment systems, will have more relevance to digital signage as there are logical integration points.

4. Content rationalization steps forward

The coming trend in content will be automated tools for autocorrecting content encoding to optimize playout on digital signs or other platforms.

HTML has won the battle for the hearts and minds of both content producers and software providers. We’ll see tools, like L Squared’s Hub, which make assets useful across mediums (responsive) in an automated way.

5. Digital Signage A.K.A Public Video

There’s been a lot of noise recently about rebranding our technology as “Public Video”.

Will the DPAA, (formerly OVAB), become the PVAA? Our prediction is that the term ‘Digital Signage’, even if its not to the liking of some Sales and Branding types, is probably here to stay but who knows! The sector is growing and diversifying so quickly that we may well be called L Squared Public Video by the time we make predictions for 2016. We hope not as it would mean a logo redesign 🙂

 

L Squared Brings Digital Signage to Toronto HR Community

Gajendra Ratnavel and Brent Nacu presented an awesome session today at SocialHRCamp Toronto.

The session – focused on leveraging screen technologies to enhance and optimize internal communications – attracted lots of engaged attendees keen to understand more about the advances within Digital Signage in the past two-three years.

Brent Nacu led the session and offered an entertaining and humorous style.  Brent discussed the power of the communication channel for employee engagement and employer branding.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday Special

Get Up To 40% Off Selected Digital Signage Products And Services

Contact L Squared

Black Friday is here and L Squared has some amazing special offers on screens and digital signage content management software licenses.

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Can’t talk now but want to secure the Cyber Monday rates? No problem!

Complete the form below, by 4pm on Cyber Monday, December 1, 2014 and you’ll still be eligible for another seven days! In that time, we’ll call you to discuss your Digital Signage needs. 

  • Your Title Here




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Activity Log: Managing Digital Signage Communications at Multiple Points

L Squared Digital Signage provides turnkey services to companies of all sizes and structures.

Some L Squared clients use the applications we offer within complex organizational structures with cross-departmental content management roles. Typical client examples would include universities and retail chains. 

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In organizations like these, many different people tend to have access to the Hub – our Digital Signage CMS. In addition to being able to limit access at a granular level, the Audit Security Log system records all actions performed, by who and when.

New Digital Communication Tools for Managers and Employees

Historically, organizations have focused their technology investment around “systems of record,” such as ERP, BI, and CRM to handle foundational business requirements. Today, this investment is moving towards “systems of engagement” with customers, employees and partners.

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These systems help organizations to attract, engage and interact with employees and customers. You will walk away with a concrete plan to begin to strengthen your company’s corporate communications right away!

1pm EDT, Wednesday Nov 5, 2014

This L Squared webinar is your opportunity to ensure that everyone at your company understands how digital signs, kiosks, wayfinding and posters are providing companies with powerful new ways to present content and drive results:

  • Engage and educate employees with real time, interactive digital displays
  • Improve corporate communications
  • Enhance employee morale
  • Promote health and safety initiatives
  • Provide an effective system for emergency messaging
  • Entertain clients waiting in your lobby

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Getting Social: Connecting Digital Signage with Social Media Marketing

Organizations are finding increasing numbers of ways to use digital solutions to effectively reach their target markets.

The technology available today allows HR, Ops and Marketing to connect multiple displays to dynamic content, mobile devices and social media adverts.

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This helps companies use digital signage to inform, influence, reinforce branding, provide direction and yield many business benefits, as a part of wider Marcomms strategy.

There are now lots of ways which allow for the easy integration of social media with Digital Signage. This ‘merging of new marketing channels’ means endless possibilities to create and spread marketing messages and corporate updates and to reach more people than ever before!

For example, using a digital display, a company can promote its Facebook presence and encourage viewers to “Like” its page -“ and provide a special incentive such as a coupon or other offer to encourage engagement.

Other social media widgets like Twitter feeds can be displayed on screen and help keep viewers in touch with breaking news and offers. This engagement helps a company present a contemporary, high-tech feel and better connect with customers.

 

Digital Signage Campaigns: 3 Big Mistakes to Avoid

We’re always trawling the web looking for new great content to share with our burgeoning list of readers. Here’s an awesome post by Scott Bell in digitalsignageconnection.com:

When it comes to the success of a campaign, the right content is critical. Having the right content can create buzz and generate a return, while the wrong content can make a campaign fall flat.

In my experience, campaigns tend to fall flat if the content: 1) isn’t clear and concise, 2) isn’t relevant to the audience, or 3) isn’t promoting a compelling offering.

1. Being too wordy creates clutter on digital signage and the entire message can easily get lost.

Remember that digital signage isn’t like having a print publication in your hand; your message must be absorbed in a matter of seconds, so oftentimes, less is more. I’ve seen far too many campaign ads that read too much like an article.

2. Running a campaign for a winter fur store to an 18-35 demographic may not generate the best results for your campaign.

Make sure your message is relevant and is reaching the right audience.

3. Not running a compelling offering (if you are trying to get consumers to your store with a sale) means you’re running the risk of not getting someone’s attention.

At Bell Media, our experience with text campaigns has shown that without a strong offering, consumers aren’t willing to take action. I believe that consumers are so accustomed to receiving a 10- to 20-percent discount on all goods that advertising a sale with this level of discount isn’t compelling enough to create action. Create a compelling offering and your campaign has a higher likelihood of getting noticed.

As you create your next campaign, take into consideration developing a clear and concise message that reaches the right audience. And if your desire is to get consumers to your store, develop an incentive that’s strong enough to help them take action.

Read the full article here: http://www.digitalsignageconnection.com

About the Author:

Scott Bell is founder and CEO of Alabama-based Bell Media, which currently owns and operates approximately 60 digital and traditional outdoor billboards and 200 indoor digital advertising screens located in local restaurants. Having graduated from Auburn University in 2007 with a B.S. in business administration, he is an entrepreneurial out-of-home media executive. Over the past six years, he has led Bell Media’s vision and growth in outdoor and indoor media development, new product implementation and team leadership, proving his ability to drive growth and profits through the diversity of product lines, financial management and strategic thinking. A member of the DSE Advisory Board Out-of-Home Network Council, Bell provided this getting started tip in response to DSE’s Ask the Board question for June 9, 2014: “What are the main reasons digital signage/digital out-of-home campaigns fail?” For additional tips from DSE’s advisory board, click here.