The dangers of using the 'K' word
I just wanted to take a moment to expound a little bit on a piece in my last blog challenging that the term "kiosk" is a much too general and outdated word used to describe the newer generation of interactive digital signage that is growing in the world today. Writing that blog got me thinking about experiences over the years, and I've realized that I have never met anyone who has anything completely positive to say about their digital kiosk networks. I've found that the word kiosk has been used in association with so many failed kiosk projects that it's almost counter productive to mention the word when talking to potential clients.
In many cases, mentioning the word kiosk to a potential client opens the floodgates of complaints as the client can often regale you with endless tales of horrible digital kiosk implementations. Over the years, I have unfortunately heard about more kiosk projects that have failed than succeeded. For some projects the hardware never works properly; others cost too much money to be sustainable. Each if these failed attempts leaves nothing but bitterness and skepticism. And so over time the word kiosk has become more of a stigma than a descriptive marketing tool.
I was just meeting with a potential client to do a demo of our interactive Google maps technology, and he gave me a brief history of his experience with kiosks. One company brought in an interactive wayfinding kiosk free of charge that was designed to make money from advertising. The ad revenue never came, and the kiosk company went out of business leaving the kiosk to collect dust and gradually become outdated. A second and third company ended up coming into to replace the previous company but both suffered from many bugs and ended up closing as well. And so the problem now is not that people aren't impressed with a nice technologically innovative presentation from a kiosk provider, it's that the client has been impressed two to three times over by similar demos promising innovation and headache free operation only to be fooled. There's that saying "fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me." Well what happens when the third and fourth time rolls around? Using the word kiosk, while being a succinct word to describe a product can subconsciously put the client into a mindset of "failure."
For those of us in the kiosk industry I think it is going to be impossible to avoid running into this situation. For me personally I don't avoid the term if it's brought up, but I try not to insert it too much into conversations either. I'm curious though: has anyone done any kind of test to see if they get more positive reactions using only terms other than the word kiosk?
Topics: Kiosk Branding
Michael Ionescu Since 2004, Ionescu has built a proprietary software/hardware package for state tourism and hotels. Ionescu believes successful kiosk networks are built upon ongoing collaboration between the client and provider to develop flexible systems that clients and users are happy with for years. www