Powering emotion and experience: A guide to experiential digital signage [+VIDEO]

Why settle for passive, spectator digital signage, when you can deliver a “wow-the-crowd” immersive experience?  

If you’re a solutions architect, or IT Manager tasked with installing digital signage for your business, the chances are that the plans you’ve made are not ambitious enough. Yes, that’s right! According to industry experts, many organisations could already be creating digital signage experiences – that is, experiential signage. They’re missing out, simply because they are not aware of what’s possible – often with the technology they already have!

Matt Neutra, BrightSign Senior Product Marketing Manager and Lead Experience Engineer has decades of experience in the field, having worked with the likes of Bose to create spectacular and immersive digital signage experiences.

According to Neutra, experiential digital signage is now viable – and affordable – to create – even for the most everyday business scenarios, whether that’s office department floors or employee breakrooms and canteens.

Experiential digital signage

So, what exactly is experiential digital signage, and how can it help your business?

According to Neutra, it’s a digital signage experience that you’re a part of, not that you passively look at. It is a space that immerses you in surround sound, with screens to the front of, and all around you. It’s an experience that is purpose-built to match the physical experience and evoke an emotional response.

For Neutra, who does this for a living, the process involves bringing together technology, content and architecture in pursuit of telling a story – of creating a single, cohesive human experience. You can see it everywhere around you. Take, as a high-profile example, the Van Gogh Immersive Experience in London and other cities, which immerses you in the world of the Dutch genius.

Simple and cost-effective

Experiential signage is undoubtedly a transformative digital art, and yet as grandiose as it sounds, it’s surprisingly affordable and practical to create and roll-out. 

In fact, sometimes, you can do big experiential things with just a couple of screens and a content management system (CMS), like Signagelive. With our Real Time Events (RTEs) feature, for instance, the Signagelive platform can be used to schedule the operation of connected devices in the environment. This means that you can use the room’s connected lighting, projectors and speakers to suit the on-screen messaging and bring the content to life. You’re even able to time the connected devices’ operation to coincide with different stages of your on-screen content.

 In an office user case scenario, to highlight important company news as it appears on-screen, you could, for example, use the platform to automatically dim the lights and trigger a tannoy announcement sound via the room’s speakers.

BrightSign Media Players

With the addition of BrightSign Media Players and sensor technologies like Nexmosphere, you can do even more – and at scale. For instance, in the workplace, to support employees, why not create health and wellness zones in the break and recreational areas to set exactly the right relaxing ambience for them?

Calming imagery and videos, or advice on mindfulness could be triggered on-screen every time employees approach the area, and/or the room’s lighting could change shade or colour to help create a relaxing atmosphere. Moreover, with the aid of push buttons, you could help employees search for more information on-screen, and/or select the ambient music they would like to hear via the room’s speakers.

Workplace canteens can also benefit from experiential signage. Interactive “lift and learn” displays are excellent ways to help employees find out more about menu options, enabling them to lift a prop to trigger more information about the dish on-screen.

The potential to transform the workplace experience is already being used to great effect, with some companies even incorporating, as part of the signage experience, the projection of water running down the walls of recreational or waiting room areas.


With BrightSign, players can be synchronised to deliver on-screen news at the same time across every department floor, or, as Neutra points out, even to create an immersive walk-through orchestral experience! The scale and scope of the experience is entirely up to you.

Top tips on adoption

So, what do you need to consider, when planning to adopt experiential signage? Here are some top tips from Neutra.

  • Define the experience

Before you invest anything in the project, understand what it is you’re trying to achieve. What is the story you want to tell, and what emotional response do you want to evoke?

  • Manage the project across 5 domains

Break down the work that needs to be done across five domains – 

  • Product
  • Technology
  • Content
  • Architecture
  • Story

If you neglect any one of these areas, you’re not likely to succeed in creating a digital signage experience. As Neutra points out, everything needs to come together, so that the products and the features (technology) you use seamlessly fit the architectural environment, and the content can be seen and heard.

  • Choose your experiential signage partners wisely

Always be suspicious of any consultant or agency trying to sell you technology, or an all-in-one solution. First and foremost, any partner should be focused, not on the tools, but on how technologies can be used to deliver the story – the experience you want.

It’s a combination of content management, creative and technology solutions that require different areas of expertise. Experienced resellers can often deliver the best advice, and help bring together the various component parts.

  • Question you partners

Don’t be afraid to test your partners’ knowledge, before you agree to use their services. Ask them to tell you about their storytelling/content and technology integration processes.

  • Build a prototype

Put the methodology to the test and build a prototype to prove that you have the knowledge and the content you need to deliver exactly the right experience. 

When you take the right steps to create it, experiential digital signage can be game-changing. For very little investment, it can help you power organic experiences that move and inspire audiences and turn even the most mundane spaces into popular attraction sites.

If you’d like to find out more about experiential digital signage, tune into our latest Digital Signage Explore episode here