Digital Merchandising: ‘Way Beyond Branch Signs And Displays’

Brian Nutt, the CEO of Codigo, one of the financial industry’s leading digital merchandising companies, talks about ROI, video walls, iPads, mobile and the future of branch signage.

Primary geographic markets? Codigo serves customers in 49 states, Guam, and Jamaica

Number of employees: 20

Key staff:

  • Brian Nutt, President/CEO – Brian provides excellent day-to-day leadership and guidance for the entire company. With a background in sales and marketing, he uses his skills to implement and oversee the product and sales vision for Codigo.
  • Chris O’Bryan, VP of Operations – Chris oversees the day-to-day operations and processes for Codigo. Managing a wide range of tasks including Customer Support, HR, IT, and many others, Chris’ technological and managerial background has helped Codigo streamline many internal processes.
  • Brandon Bass, Creative Director – Brandon manages a wide range of creative projects such as the Codigo brand and marketing, customer content design, and product design.
  • Cash Rowland, National Sales Manager – Cash’s primary responsibility is to acquire and maintain long term customer relationships by accessing the needs and wants of the industry and recommending which Codigo products and services best fit the situation.
  • Matt Deaton, Associate Marketing Manager – Matt’s focus is on the planning and implementation of Codigo’s marketing strategy. His analytical skills allow him to manage and leverage Codigo’s CRM data and processes to present high-impact marketing messages to customers and the industry.

How has digital signage — and Codigo — evolved over the years?

“Today, Codigo distributes content to over 2,500 displays deployed at more than 300 financial institutions.”

All answers provided by Brian Nutt, Founder & CEO of Codigo: Codigo was originally established as Captive Indoor Media back in 2003. Two years later, we released the first version of our web-based digital signage software, Codigo. We took Codigo on the road to a few financial association tradeshows and received overwhelming positive feedback from marketing personnel. We grew from there, and at a quick pace.

Today, Codigo distributes content to over 2,500 displays deployed at more than 300 financial institutions. We’re affiliated with several trade organizations including the American Bankers Association, the Credit Union National Association, and the Marketing Association of Credit Unions just to name a few. We owe a great deal of our success to the financial industry. Beyond the financial industry, we also have projects in healthcare, hospitality, quick serve restaurants, manufacturing, corporate headquarters, education and retail.

In 2009, the company released a new version of its digital signage software – Codigo 3.0, with new features that took creating, scheduling, and delivering content to a whole new level. Features like the ‘Content Vault,’ which gives users hundreds of files specific to the financial industry right at their fingertips. And there’s ‘Go Media,’ which allows users to customize files from the Content Vault the way they wanted without needing to leave a web browser. Interface changes like the simple ‘drag and drop’ scheduling feature made organizing content files and building shows a piece of cake.

In 2011, we took the Codigo system our users already knew and added a management tool for on-hold phone message systems. The addition of the on-hold messaging feature, Codigo Voice, meant we were no longer just a “digital signage company.” It’s more broad than that. Today, we see ourselves as specializing in getting “a message” to “a device” — way beyond just branch displays.

We are currently developing a brand new version of our software — Codigo 4.0, where we combine all of our products into one online hub where users can manage marketing content across a wide range of devices. We believe that today’s marketer is faced with a plethora of daily duties. By consolidating the tools they use to manage their projects, we can help to simplify their lives.

With new products and a new version of Codigo coming, we felt the original name, ‘Captive Indoor Media,’ no longer represented who were and where we were going. That’s why, in September of 2012, we changed the company name to Codigo.

Content creation — especially video — can be tough for smaller banks and credit unions. What content tools does Codigo have?

BN: In our current version, Codigo 3.0, our users have a choice as to how they want to create their content. First, they can choose from thousands of customizable ads we have already pre-made for them in the Content Vault. The Content Vault is sortable by category making it easy for our users to find a content design that fits their needs. Then, they can choose to either edit that content design in our proprietary content editing tool, GoMedia, or they can export the content and edit it using a third party tool.

GoMedia is Codigo’s built-in content editor that allows users to select a pre-designed layout and customize it to fit their brand. Using GoMedia, users can easily change the file’s copy and imagery, allowing them to drop in their logos, compliance bugs, backgrounds, etc. Once the user has their files customized the way they want, they simply drag and drop their files into any custom sequence of their choosing. We refer to this sequence as a show. From here, users can select at what dates, times, and locations they want the show to appear. GoMedia has been a huge benefit for smaller small banks and credit unions that do not have the resources to create content in house or with a partnering ad agency.

In the next version, we look to expand this concept into other products such as on-hold messaging, kiosk interface management, and a more robust content editing tool. We’re also going to give the user the ability to schedule when content files will expire from a show automatically.

With Codigo 4.0, the ultimate goal is to give users complete control over their content creation. By tapping the power of HTML5, users will be able to edit designs and build content completely within the Codigo web portal.

The Codigo Interface – Content Vault

Are there plans to turn Codigo into a singular utility banks and credit unions use to manage and schedule all of their marketing content? Basically a comprehensive digital marketing management system?

BN: Absolutely, that’s exactly what we are working toward. Our goal is to hand users a single login to access a suite of tools they can use to create a positive effect on retail behavior of their consumer. We want to provide users with a singular online portal they can use to distribute any content to any device. Whether that device is a TV, phone system, speakers for overhead music, a mobile phone, computer, tablet, or kiosk will be entirely up to the user.

“We want to provide users with a singular online portal they can use to distribute any content to any device.”

Our solution will be entirely scalable. Users will be able to choose what services they want or don’t want, but whatever they choose, our system will provide them with the tools to customize their message and deliver it to the right people at the right time in the right place.

The Codigo Interface – Managing & Scheduling Content

ROI is always a prickly topic in the marketing world. How can financial marketers track the effectiveness of digital merchandising?

BN: ROI is definitely a tricky topic, especially for something like digital signage and particularly in the financial space. It’s very difficult to say that someone decided to apply for a mortgage or open a CD account based on an ad they saw on a digital screen in a branch. There’s just so many other factors that go into a decision like that.

We like to advise our financial customers to look at “return” in a different manner. Because of the difficulty in measuring an exact dollar amount of ROI, we feel a more realistic measurement is their return on objective (ROO). What does a financial institution want to accomplish with a system like Codigo? Maybe it’s increase awareness of a new product/service. Or maybe they want people to sign up for a community event. These objectives are something that can be easily measured.

“We’re looking features such as facial recognition software to analyze the age and gender of a person looking at the screen, how long they look at the screen and what they are looking at.”

When designing content, the first thing that should be considered is ‘what is my goal for this content?’ If it’s to ‘increase awareness’ then a user must then consider how to measure. With something like this, a user could use a promo code, QR code, or call-to-action than can easily be measured by branch employees or web analytic program, like “Ask your teller about our new interest baring checking accounts and mention this code to receive [X].” Or “Sign up for our park clean-up day and mention this ad to receive a free t-shirt.” Measuring ROO begins with content design and ends with a definitive call-to-action that can be easily measured on the back end.

Codigo does have reporting features that allow a user to see how many times an individual piece of content was displayed during a period of time at a specific location. Using this data a user can cross-reference the times a call-to-action occurred and make conclusions based on actual data.

In version 4.0, we’re looking at adding reporting features such as facial recognition software that analyze the age and gender of a person looking at the screen, how long they look at the screen, what they are looking at, how they interact, and other key data. This feature will really help users to have a clear concise look into how their system is performing.

What about managed marketing through the mobile channel?

BN: Codigo will have a Near Field Communication (NFC) marketing tool that allows users to schedule a multitude of message formats to mobile devices. This feature will allow the user to manage their subscriber list and any interaction with a recipient. The reporting feature will allow a user to see who has responded to a message by unsubscribing or fulfilling a call-to-action. Although this feature will not be available until a later release, it is something we have been working on for quite some time.

Where do iPads fit into the modern branch experience?

iPads could even be used at the point of sale for customer/member signatures, withdrawals, deposits, account balances, and more.

BN: Tellers can use them to show and explain products/services, which could replace the clutter of printed brochures. They can be used as standalone kiosks where customers/members can physically interact with the brand. iPads could even be used at the point of sale for customer/member signatures, withdrawals, deposits, account balances, and more.

Codigo has already developed an iPad kiosk solution that allows financial instructions to create custom kiosk interfaces that can be tailored for any objective. Customers have an option as to how they would like the kiosk to stand – whether it’s on the teller desk or on the floor, Codigo can brand the casing any way they want. The best feature about the iPad kiosk is its portability. Our clients can simply take the iPad out of the casing and take it with them anywhere. The interface will not change as long as it’s connected to the internet, so financial institutions can bring it with them to tradeshows, community events, or any other external function.

We also had high demand for an inexpensive yet feature-enriched kiosk system. The high equipment cost involved with a typical touchscreen kiosk led us to look for an alternative solution for our customers. By combining the intuitive power of the Apple iPad with our award-winning in-house design team, we developed an easily customizable, feature-rich, and affordable kiosk solution.

What about video walls? Are they effective retail merchandising tools?

“If you want to install a video wall, you must have the budget to create the content for it.”

BN: Video walls can be a very effective retail merchandising tool… when used properly. Many times, I’ve seen a video wall in a retail space and the content is outdated, or the video wall itself is obnoxious and distracting. What some people fail to realize when they install a video wall is the complexity behind the content design. When you try to stretch content over 4, 8, even 16 screens, it’s easy to notice if the content was not designed to fit such a large resolution. If you want to install a video wall, you must have the budget to create the content for it. Secondly: location, location, location! A video wall is best used to attract the attention of a lot of people in a big area, so I’d advise not to install one in a smaller retail space. Although it sounds strange, the best installations of video walls in financial institutions are generally found in windows facing out — digital window merchandising displays.

What are the biggest mistakes you see retail financial institutions make with their video content (strategy, execution)?

BN: The most common mistake I see made by financial institutions is overlooking what their ultimate objective is by installing a system.

I hear people say ‘my boss wants me to look into digital merchandising, can you send me pricing?’ more than you would think. I cringe when I’m asked this question. It all starts with a goal, and without it there’s no measuring stick for success or failure. A goal stretches across everything: screen placement, content design and results.

If someone tells me ‘we’re looking into digital signage because we want an efficient method to communicate with customers/members at the teller lines’, I know exactly where screens should go, how to design the content, and how we’re going to measure success.

If a financial institution has a defined goal before they even begin to search for a vendor, they are already setting themselves up for success because the rest of the questions will answer themselves. It’s just picking the answers that best support that goal.

What trends are redefining digital marketing in retail financial channels? What does the future hold?

BN: Don’t get me wrong — I’m not saying the branch is obsolete — but I am saying that financial marketers will need to find a way to make branch visits a favorable option for consuemrs. They will need to give consumers a reason to come to the branch… and not just to sign paperwork.

I see financial retail spaces already beginning to move toward a low overhead, high-tech banking centers, and I believe we’ll continue to see this trend for a while. Branches will take on smaller overall footprints and technology will be leveraged to facilitate employee communication regardless of location. This trend excites me because brick-and-mortar banking centers will become more focused on the critical needs of consumers while lowering overall staffing costs for the institution, and hopefully delivering services at a lower cost.

Because of the low overhead, high-tech trend, I think Codigo is set up for great success. All of Codigo’s current products and services are a great fit for the financial retail space now, but will be even more so as this trend becomes the norm. And because of our great relationship with the financial industry and their collaboration in our product development, we will continue to introduce the products they need to keep up with market trends.

This article was originally published on . All content © 2024 by The Financial Brand and may not be reproduced by any means without permission.