Using in-store TV for brand identity not a great approach

July 25, 2007 by Dave Haynes

The Hub magazine is a bit of an ideas exchange and forum for people in the marketing community. There’s a new piece in it this month that looks at how best to establish brand identity in a retail setting, and its basis was a survey of professional marketers.

The result: packaging design is tops, and stuff like in-store TV and in-store radio were down near the bottom.


Before you get the razor blade out, consider that the results only make sense. Using big LCD screens, or even shelf-edge screens, to establish brand identity doesn’t make a whole pile of sense in visually busy retail settings and on screens that may have all kinds of other messages on them, as well.

The article’s author, retail branding consultant Jason Press, suggests: “The world would indeed be a happier place if everybody simplified their packages and there were fewer messages being thrown at shoppers at retail.”

I’m no marketing guru, but it strikes me that where digital screens in retail works for brands is in driving impulse and  awareness, and in reinforcing the value.

I remember talking to some Kodak guys, in the waning days of film, about using digital screens to drive sales in chain drug stores. They said Kodak had this great creative out in broadcast and print, stuff that made people feel using Kodak was something special. But when consumers went in stores they forgot all that and bought on price. But by having screens reinforcing that key messaging, they felt buyers would modify their buying behavior.

Digital signage has its role in retail, but it can’t be the answer to all of a retailer’s challenges. Though Lord knows there are people out there selling it as such. 

  1. Steve Yetsko says:

    Put thr razor blade away!!!! I think the reason “in-store TV”(digital displays) is so low on the list as compared to tradional displays (which come in second on the list) is that the Book has yet to be written on how to most effectively use this new medium. Even the phrase “in-store TV” is illustrative. For years Jeff Porter of Scala has been screaming in the wilderness that Digital Signage (aka In-store media, place based media, narrow casting, dynamic digital media, OOH media etc.) is NOT TV, It’s not internet, it’s not billboards, it’s something “new”. Repurposing TV content for use In Store has seldom been done successfully, because people view Digital Signage in store VERY differently than they watch TV at home. (I have empirical data to back that statement.)

    That doesn’t mean that It’s ineffective. Quite to the contrary. We just need to better understand how to use it. We need to start building an understanding of what can attract, engage, and motivate viewers of this new media. That, IMHO, is what will move this industry up on the list.

  2. Rob Gorrie says:

    there’s a professor I’d like you to meet who, based on his own study, would contradict that. See my blog post here: In Store Retail Study focused on BUYERS

    Retail is known to be very slow to change and by definition and necessity, they are risk averse. If you surveyed a lot of people who “consult” or design in the space, yeah I think they’ll all tell you to stick to what they know….the old “I hate change” attitude

    The study I reference above was done with 192 Senior Level Brand Marketers (Owners of Product in retail). It would seem to me that there’s a bit of a conflict between what Brands want to BUY vs what the experts want to SELL them.

    Funny that

  3. Steve’s comments are dead-on other than the fact that no one’s written a book on the topic. My firm just published one ( and we wrote it for the very reasons that he points out. As an industry, we have not created winning case studies with in-store digital signage because we are often building programs from a media lens rather than a store/shopper solutions lens. With DS–and all media–if it’s not doing something useful and worthy of paying attention to it…why WOULD anyone care? It comes down to the fact that “it’s not the gun, it’s the bullet.” If we activate these tools strategically and impactfully, they will indeed become hugely influential in-store.

    Rob’s comment above is correct but not across all retailers. As consultants in the thick of these projects directly with retailers, some DO get the true opportunity and are indeed building digital store media programs that will change the industry’s perception of the potential of this new media. But, most don’t. Not to worry, as the leaders will set the standard for the followers….

  4. Rob Gorrie says:

    Fully true Laura – healthy generalization.

    Can you point out some examples of those you know who are making strides/are leaders in this area?

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