Content Creators-Time to Grab the Brass Ring


Alan Brawn

By Alan C. Brawn, CTS, DSCE, DCME, ISF-C

If we look at digital signage writ large, it is safe to say that other than business considerations, content is the topic that initiates the most discussions and brings out the most passion. The topic is almost without boundaries.  With no disrespect to displays and mounts, media players, content management software, and connectivity, it is content that is the driving factor in a network’s failure or success. No pressure here on content creators, right? Not so fast, let’s take a brief look at content, the concept of creativity, and how the DSE 2019 brings forth a unique opportunity to wrap your arms around the totality of the concept.

By definition, digital signage content is the antithesis of one size fits all. For example, content on an advertising-based network is vastly different from an employee facing system or an information-based network. Before you get too comfortable with your own personal digital signage niche (aka vertical), we need to throw in the “magical” element of creativity. Creativity is the act of turning new and imaginative ideas into reality. One expert opines that “Creativity is characterized by the ability to perceive the world in new ways, to find hidden patterns, to make connections between seemingly unrelated phenomena, and to generate solutions.” Digital signage is all about impact and getting noticed. To be sure, creative content gets noticed. Lacking creativity, the subject matter languishes, and the network fails to meet its objectives.

Creativity involves two processes: thinking, then producing. This begs the question can creativity be learned? The short answer is yes. A study by George Land famed author of Grow or Die: The Unifying Principle of Transformation reveals “that we are naturally creative and as we grow-up we learn to be un-creative. Creativity is a skill that can be developed and a process that can be managed. Creativity begins with a foundation of knowledge, learning a discipline, and mastering a way of thinking.” This challenges all of us to learn as much as we can, but this is most important for those involved in content and content creation. It behooves us not only to learn but to understand the rules of the road and focus on new ways of thinking relative to an application in a vertical. This is where the DSE 2019 provides the unique opportunity I spoke about earlier.

We normally think of the tradeshow exhibits as being the big draw for attendees and the DSE 2019 will be no exception. The sheer glitz and glamor will overwhelm all but the most jaded among us. My advice? Relax into it and enjoy the exhibit experience but for those who are involved in content creation, content buying, and digital signage strategy, there are bookend opportunities both before the show starts and after the exhibits close that must be seriously considered.

It begins on Tuesday March 26 before the exhibits open. The Digital Signage Experts Group (DSEG) in association with the Digital Signage Federation (DSF) and the DSE offers the Digital Content and Media Expert (DCME) certification. The DCME discusses the philosophies at the core of visual communication and how content can be used as a tool to create impact and engage the viewer. It shows how properly designed content can enhance the viewer experience and promote a response to the call to action. The DCME discusses how to develop a content strategy and introduces the rules for creating effective content. It demonstrates the physical elements and software tools for content creation and finally how the business aspects and analytics complete the picture of ROI for the end user. This begins the educational journey.

To complete the educational experience, on Friday, March 29, the DSE has designed an in-depth, full-day workshop on digital signage and video wall content creation with a focus on real-world scenarios. Industry experts will share proven tips and critical guidelines throughout the digital content lifecycle from creation and design to piloting, deployment, management and maintenance.  Between facilitated discussions, presentations and small group exercises, you will learn the essential importance of storytelling, strategy and the elusive art of content management.

Keep in mind that digital signage (of all types) is an attention grabber, experience enhancer, and a behavior modification tool. Content is the catalyst that motivates a response to a call to action. It makes it happen. By starting with the DCME certification covering the philosophy, methodology, and rules of content  and content creation and then attending a full day immersion in real world practical experiences, you will be armed with the knowledge at the root of creativity. Can you do it? Yes, you can. Should you do it? Most certainly!


Alan Brawn is a former Chairman of the DSF and Principal of Brawn Consulting.