When it comes to effective communication in condos, it’s remarkable that in these modern times, it’s still such a huge issue. Then again, it’s the modern times and the vast array of media choices out there that can make communication in condos a real challenge. Here are the top 3 reasons why:
1. No Elevator (or lobby) Screen
The digital signage industry is now well over a quarter century old, and while it is a multi-billion dollar industry in its own right, its adoption by the condo industry has been rather slow, to say the least. I still see cork bulletin boards all over the place. Yet digital displays are everywhere. The world’s top brands use them to capture the attention of mall shoppers; airports have been updating flight info on them for years; schools and subway systems transmit vast amounts of info to a fast moving audience on a daily basis.
For a condo, the benefits are pretty clear – digital screens allow more than one notice to be displayed in a loop, so you aren’t limited to telling residents about just one thing at a time. Notices can be scheduled months in advance, and when connected to the internet, it’s done remotely in a snap. But the biggest advantage is that it’s the only medium that most condo residents see every day – twice. Not everyone opens their emails (depends on whether it’s “selfie” or “healthy”) but most people ride the elevator every day.
So why is the condo industry such a laggard when it comes to digital screens? Well for one thing, there is an expense to putting them in, and condo board directors need to see a return on that investment which isn’t always obvious. More on that in a bit. Second, the property management toolbox relies heavily on email communication. Very easy to feel like you’ve “blasted” out some newsflashes, but if your open rate is only 20%, that’s not helpful when you need to get folks to move their cars in time for garage cleaning or sort the recycling better before losing garbage collection privileges.
Simply put, a digital elevator screen is the very best first step toward successful condo communication. HINT: Elevators are the best location, even in short buildings, because you can view a lot of information in even the shortest 10-20 second ride. Beware of the “lobby trap” – unless your condo building is in an urban location with lots of foot traffic, a lobby screen may never get seen as most residents can go months without ever setting foot in the lobby. Onto the second reason why your communication isn’t working…
2. Screens with Ads
In a day and age where many people are putting notes in their mailboxes instructing letter carriers to stop delivering junk mail (ads!) it amazes me to see some condo corporations installing screens and deliberately bombarding residents with the very thing they are trying to get Canada Post to stop. At DigiNotice we opted to go ad-free, thanks in large part to a friend of mine who made it crystal clear that under no circumstances would she be tolerant of advertising plastered all over her home. (You can read more about that here.) Anyway, some board directors think that the few bucks a local pizza shop might send their way is worth it, but the flip side is that it can wind up alienating an entire audience as they deliberately ignore that which annoys them. There are better ways to see a return on the digital investment, and that leads us to the third reason…
3. Bad Content
Whether it’s on a digital screen or bulletin board, content that doesn’t engage your residents is a huge reason for ineffective condo communication. To see a return on your elevator screen investment, it’s critical to prioritize your goals. Do you want to create a “fun” zone in the elevator, where residents can look at sports, news and weather, or do you want to educate those residents about all aspects of condo living? HINT: Education equals ROI. “Fun” is none.
Next, you need to make sure what is to be seen, can actually be seen! Teeny tiny text is not suitable on a cork bulletin board, and that does not change just because you upgrade to digital. If your communication strategy includes uploading the same old pdf or Word documents that you’ve been using for years (to no avail because people don’t read them) then you really might want to save your money. Seriously, one of the biggest wastes of money is to install elevator screens and then not adapt your content to suit them.
Digital signage deserves to be properly fed and that means the right message, at the right time, designed the right way. When you do it right, you can teach your audience to save thousands of litres of water a day, stop tossing things from their balconies, reach quorum at the AGM, properly sort their recyclables, stop jamming the chute, develop a culture of respect and safety, prevent false emergency alarms; the list goes on. All that time and money saved? That’s called return on investment! Check out this great case study. HINT: All that content planning, designing and scheduling should be managed by the property manager, not done by the property manager. That’s code for “let DigiNotice help!”
Till next time….
DigiNotice creates highly targeted notices that solve specific issues in your condo building. Condo communication that works, saves money and pays for itself.