Media distribution in the workplace. For a lot of readers, just on its own, that phrase conjures up a range of very different images and probably creates mixed feelings, too.
And why is that?
When we talk about media distribution, there is no single defining technology, no one holistic solution, there is no sole owner in the organisation for media distribution, and there are so many different forms of content to be shared both internally and externally that it’s often hard to know where to start.
It can be quite overwhelming.
Understanding Media Distribution
First, you need to consider lots of different technologies: digital messaging, such as signage and dashboards, video on demand; IPTV; and live streaming of activities and events like town hall presentations and training sessions. Then there are the different channels and devices you can reach with this distributed content: conventional TVs, dedicated signage screens, meeting rooms, room booking panels, specialist displays, messaging, desktops, personal devices, portals and even print.
Second, who owns, builds, supports and manages this media distribution system? Before all that, who actually decides what solution your organisation is going to use?
Third, what content are you going to distribute, who is going to see it, and when and where will they see it. And how are you going to create and manage all this content?
In our experience, the organisations who have had the most success in deploying media distribution solutions have really thought through all of these questions very carefully before they start.
And, before you embark on a media distribution project, there are a couple of crystal clear starting assumptions.
There is no single, out of the box technology solution that does it all – if someone tells you that their product does do it all, don’t believe them.
There can be no single owner for media distribution. There are way too many elements to it, so you are better to assign technical owners, operational owners and strategic owners, and set very clear objectives and responsibilities for each group.
Tackling Media Distribution
Most media distribution projects that POMT has been involved with have been driven by an identified need for the organisation to better engage with staff.
So that’s a good place to start.
Establish a working group or project team with key members who will eventually take ownership roles for different parts of the solution – IT, Marketing, HR and other key divisions relevant to your business – and develop the requirements carefully through observation, discussion and solution trials.
Spend some time engaging with your staff, ask them what they want, build up different scenarios, use cases and end user profiles for people in your organisation.
Do some analysis on the different styles and types of content and its purpose. What are some of the key communications that your organisation delivers today? What form does the content take, who is it delivered to and how could it be delivered better?
The good news about the starting assumption – that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for media distribution – means you don’t need to lock yourself into a complete solution on day one; you can take an iterative approach to the technology.
That way, you can test different forms of display technologies; different solutions to manage and distribute content, and give yourself the agility to adopt technologies on the horizon, or deploy solutions that can be used for multiple functions – like your meeting room booking screens also being used to display corporate messaging.
There are some really exciting consumer trends that will be making their way into the workplace, such as proximitymarketing driven by sensor technology and targeted messaging; and new corporate technology applications, such as interactive presentation platforms that can be delivered through each person’s display device of choice; and media delivery solutions that can curate, manage and distribute content from multiple internal and external sources.
Taking this iterative approach, you can gauge the effectiveness of different solutions and content by measuring engagement as you go. A couple of things you could do: analytics on viewer numbers on internal video content, or on the data from office utilisation sensors for numbers of people and time spent in front of digital signage and displays.
Ultimately, the success of a media distribution solution comes down to this.
While it’s really important to keep your content on-brand, aligned to corporate standards and identifiable as your organisation, don’t be repetitive, it doesn’t have to be boring and all look the same! Some of the best examples I’ve seen have taken their cues from advertising, not corporate templates. What are some of the signs that have stopped you in the street?
Test out some of the new messages and imagery that you plan to take to market with your own staff, and see what resonates. Use really striking images so people stop and take notice. A local financial services firm used an ominous photo of a great white to deliver an important message to staff about security. You can also get away with more with an internal audience than you ever could do with an external one – and deliver a really memorable message in the process. I saw a local technology company leveraging hand-drawn graphics to communicate everyday messages with a refreshingly comical twist.
It doesn’t all have to be fun. Functional content works really well in the right context too. Dashboards, performance reports and operational statistics can be incredibly powerful for staff engagement.
The key thing to remember in all of this is delivering the right content to the right people at the right time, and presenting it in the right way for them to consume it.
Unfortunately, it’s just not that simple to get all that right.