When your retail center is nearly 100% leased, where do you go for additional revenue streams? Ted Turner knows: Get control of the TVs. Whoever controls the TV monitors in a retail center controls the next important source of revenue. You know that Digital Revolution we've all heard so much about? It's here - and your window of opportunity is your TV screen.
What better medium is there to communicate to your guests in almost real time? What other method allows you to target specific messages to guests in your centers? I'm not talking about your typical mall TV installation; generally these are visual pollution at best and a nuisance most of the time.
The revolution is in the creation of Relevant Media, a term I coined to represent media that's thoughtfully planned, professionally executed and targeted right at you and your tenant's branding stories.
Relevant Media is not an endless stream of music video, advertisements or TV news (who wants to see dead bodies and explosions while they're holiday shopping?). We have already seen attempts at this type of programming and its rapid failure. Rather, Relevant Media tells a story.
The world needs stories, lots and lots of stories. We need to feel good about who we are, the choices we make and our surroundings. We need a psychological connection to those we do business with and to each other.
Here are some ideas for the effective use of TV:
1. Create music videos for your shopping centers that lend an identity and consistency throughout all your locations.
2. Create an ownership frame that identifies all media, similar to the way cable stations use a transparent logo in the lower right cornerof the screen.
3. Anchor your center to the local community by obtaining and displaying information about community and charity events. Or broadcast congratulatory messages about successful community achievements, such as local school athletic competitions, local academic achievements, the Dean's List, academic decathlons, spelling bees, science fairs and 4-H competitions.
4. Develop a nationwide competition for short-form videos (animated logos and/or interstitials) to be played on your center's monitors. Here you tap into the future graphic artists of the world and display their winning entries on your network.
5. Conduct both live and pre-recorded man-on-the-street interviews and vignettes featuring a likable host, who appears randomly to interview guests, promote new products at tenant stores, announce special sales, etc. By shopping at your retail center, guests may have an opportunity to see themselves on TV!
6. Create interactive games and competitions that can be played by visiting tenant shops and/or interacting with linked wayfinding kiosks located throughout the center.
All this, and more, is possible because of the low cost of digital media equipment, combined with the power of the Internet. When done properly, Relevant Media is not just kinetic eye candy, but becomes relative and meaningful to your guests - and, more importantly, watchable.
Because of the Digital Revolution, we can now provide Relevant Media. Digital video systems allow your media to: stay fresh because it can be updated anytime from anywhere; be controlled site specifically from anywhere, in real time; be customized by event, season, day of week or time of day; be interactive, when appropriate; be localized to different markets.
To achieve the results that Relative Media can bring, you must no longer treat video technology in your retail center as a cost, nor delegate its operation to anyone other than your chief marketing staff. How these systems are installed and operated are as important as launching a new advertising campaign. Your guest experience depends on a recognizable level of quality.
There is a revolution afoot. As the Internet becomes a more acceptable and convenient way to shop, brick-and-mortar retailers must look for a means to get the consumer away from the computer and into the mall. Using digital media in fresh ways is one way to ensure your longevity into the new millennium.