The 5 steps to make signs visible

The 5 steps to make signs visible

The 5 main factors that make signs visible are color, contrast, size, distance and noise

Color

Color refers to both the color of the TEXT as well as the color of the backing of the sign – and also includes other possible ‘noise’ that can distract one’s eye balls from the main intended message of the sign – generally YOUR BUSINESSES NAME ad / or what your business does.

Contrast

Contrast refers to the difference between the color of the LOGO or TEXT of the sign as well as the color of the backing behind the sign. It is great to see subtle logo’s, for example a black on black logo with the backing being matt and the logo or text being gloss, or the other way around – when looking at paper or anything at close range. The low contrast does not always work as expected when the logo to text need to be expanded from a small logo on paper to a much larger sign – not necessarily even a massive sign.

For signage, the greater the contrast, the more visible the sign tends to be, especially from a distance, with the greatest visibility being black on yellow.

Size

The further away from the sign one wants the viewer to be able to read the sign, the larger the logo and text – and hence the sign – need to be.

See the previous blog on the SignForce blog (https://signforce.co.za/blog/big-must-sign/) which give an indication of how large your text or logo should be to be clearly visible from different distances.

The general rule is that the larger the sign the easier it is to read from a distance. That said, it is also possible for a sign to be too large for the available space, or for the sign to be too large for it to be easy legible from the available distance or for the sign to be spaced so far off a backing that it looks gaudy.

Distance

As stated above, the further away from the sign the viewers will be that one needs to read the sign, the larger the sign needs to be.

This is amplified when a sign is going to be installed at height.

The higher the sign the larger it needs to be as height tends to be a double whammy when it comes to visibility. It is quite simple to understand that the higher the sign the further it is from the viewer, (think of Pythagoras’s theory), the not so simple part is that the same sign at the same distance that looks large always looks smaller when the sign is installed at height. This writer has no explanation for this phenomena.

Noise

Noise or visual pollution or visual distraction all refer to anything that can challenge a viewer’s attention, distracting the viewer’s eye balls from the intended message – ‘polluting’ their attention. Noise can refer to a complex design that distracts from the intended message or it can mean the font is too sophisticated or too artistic to be read at a glance, or a number of other distractions from the intended message.

At SignForce we focus on getting your message across to your intended audience in a way that will add income to your bottom line – in other words making your sign an investment.

Contact SignForce now to get your signs that work. SignForce is available at info@signforce.co.za or you can call +27 (0)11 440 7525 or you can WhatsApp +27 (0)82 558 6413

Find out more about SignForce by visiting http://www.signforce.co.za


How can you assure your investment in signage is money well spent – or is Signage a grudge purchase?

How can you assure your investment in signage is money well spent – alternatively, is Signage a grudge purchase?

Signage Fails

When signs do not work as planned

Over the past week this writer has been called to two different sites to quote on repairing existing signage. There is little unusual about this.

What is unusual is that both the signs at sites have suffered ‘failures’ due to what we at SignForce would considered reject signs. Poor workmanship, poor quality finishes and thus failing once installed.

In both cases the signs are apparently less than 30 months old.

Now I am aware that at SignForce we make signs that are value for money. This does not mean cheap, and we are seldom going to be the lowest quote. This is something I have been grappling with for many years, especially as I see other companies coming in at prices that we could NEVER compete with. One such example is a quote we gave where the client showed us that he got the sign for less than OUR MATERIAL cost.

So it looks like the client is getting a bargain! That is until one compares what we are providing with what they, based on what this writer has seen this week, may be getting for their spend.

The first sign was poorly finished. When the prospect’s contact showed me the signs he pointed out that the 3D letters were ‘peeling’ – something similar to your skin peeling after you have been sun burned – and it is a great comparison as the sign is in the sun all day, and the ‘skin’ that was peeling was in fact the plastic protective cover that should have been removed BEFORE the sign was installed. It looked like the sign was made with Perspex – a great qualitty acrylic with a 10year outdoor warranty – but not removing the protective cover cheapens the sign while possibly also drastically reducing the life of the material. At SignForce we tend to remove the protective plastic BEFORE the sign leaves the factory, and if the cover is left on, it will be removed before we ask the client is asked to sign off as this devalues the sign in many ways – both practically and aesthetically.

Many of the joints on the 3D elements were visible – something that we at SignForce work to avoid as the joints are generally the weakest part of the fabrication, and also they tend t o have dark spots. Being mindful of where the sign is to be viewed from we at SignForce try keep the joints out of view. This helps extend the life of the sign and makes it more aesthetically appealing.

One of the signs had the electrical cord running over the top of the sign. This is not necessarily a bad thing, however the wire that was found was exposed to the African sun. Anyone who knows anything about the African sun knows it is TRECHEROUS! The wire not being encased in a protective pipe or UV resistant sleeve means that the insulation coating will soon crack which will (it is only a matter of time) lead to fraying and eventually is likely to cause a short – especially if the positive and negative wires touch. This can blow all the LED’s rendering them useless, as well as potentially damaging the transformer, which will result in costly maintenance or possibly even having to re-wire the entire sign.

The prospect pointed out that birds had made a nest behind the sign – this is dangerous for the birds and can easily result in the sign getting damaged. It is also possible that the birds can accidently pull the wires so that some or all illuminated elements in the sign stop working. The sides of the sign should have been closed off before the sign was signed off.

The wiring behind the one sign was visible and was exceptionally untidy. Untidy wiring gives the impression of laziness, and as my one mentor, Tony De Gouveia pounded into my head, How yu do anything is how you do EVERYTHING – in other words if the person wiring the sign and the person inspection the sign allowed for shoddy workmanship, the chances are the fabrication will be shoddy and the fixings will be shoddy so the sign’s working capabilities are likely to also be shoddy.

The second sight had a single sign with 3D fabricated letters attached to the face. One letter had moved and SignForce was asked to assist to straighten the letter.

As a side note, we, as human’s, all tend to get caught up in a very particular pattern of thinking. I do believe this is one of the traits of being human and it allows for different people to think differently. I mention this as, as the primary designer for SignForce, this writer sees the fabrication of signs in a particular way. It is (in SignForce’s view) the best way, but is certainly not the only way to make certain signs. That said, when faces with a photo of a failed sign, our first thought is that the sign would have been made according to industry best practice, so the repair would entail certain steps.

In this case because the skew letter was on a backing board spaced off the wall it was assumed that the invisible fixings located at the rear of the letters have come loose and moved. This can happen. It is not common and it can be costly to repair as to repair properly it is recommended that the entire sign be taken down, all fixings be checked and secured and the sign be replaced. When the sign is at height – as this sign is – the costs include lifting equipment – scaffolding or cherry picker or ladders (not always allowed) or rope access – which all (except long ladders) sound almost as costly as they are.

In fact we got a new lesson in signage – well not quite new and definitely not a lesson we would need to learn or would copy – but we did soon find out WHY the sign failed. A little technical background may be helpful here. In years gone by in order to keep costs down some larger fabricated signs would be fixed to the backing board with what we in the industry refer to as L brackets. The bracket is fastened to the backing – wall or whatever – and the fabricated element is fixed to the opposite side of the L. Industry accepted fixings would mean that the sides of the 3D element would be SCREWED to the L bracket. This sign was ONLY attached with double sided tape. While this in itself may not have been an issue, if the business are in such a rush to get the sign out that they are not prepared to coat screws, drill and countersink the acrylic, the chances are they are also not using double sided tape that is made for purpose. That aside, double sided tape can be extremely strong when used for the correct application, however, when mixing materials – acrylic and Aluminium – and placing the sign in direct north east sun in Africa, the chances are that the expansion and contraction of the double sided tape on a regular basis will result in the double sided tape failing, which will result in the 3D element becoming loose, and possibly even falling off the sign. This would not only make the sign look aesthetically unappealing, it would most certainly damage the 3D elements (this one was over 6 meters above the ground) and could possibly damage vehicles or people driving or walking under the sign when it chose to fall.

Back to topic, How can you assure your investment in signage is money well spent – alternatively, is Signage a grudge purchase.

The latter question is more rhetorical as most business’s understand the need for signage, yet many see it as an after thought and are SHOCKED at the cost when they eventually get around to requesting quotes. While we at SignForce view signage as an essential tool in a business’s marketing strategy – we believe a business without a sign is a sign of no business – we can understand that there are business’s and people who feel that signage is not worth the cost. This may be for a number of reasons, some of which may be the high cost of an effective sign, a bad experience with previous signage, not knowing where to go to get signs or not getting signs that do what the client intended the sign to do. This can often be overcome by simply stating what the sign is for when asking for quotes. Also any decent signage sales person will ask this question when interviewing the prospect, as it is dangerous to assume you as the sales person KNOW WHY the prospect wants a sign.

The former question – How can you assure your investment in signage is money well spent – is a little more complex and difficult to answer.

I suppose the short answer is to do one’s homework BEFORE placing the order. This may include talking to past and present clients, looking at the prospective sign companies’ track record – although this may be unfair to excellent new start up’s.

One could also use standard accounting practice of getting at least three quotes. Notice this is standard ACCOUNTING practice which comes with a MASSIVE BUT when referring to signage or any custom designed products. When looking at 3 quotes it must be assumed that ALL companies are using the same material and the same production processes – think of a tin of your favorite canned beans It does not matter which outlet you buy the beans from, you are buying X brand and you trust the brand, so supporting the cheapest outlet saves you money. Because signs are custom made, and material prices vary insanely, it could well be that the lowest cost supplier is using lower cost material. Sadly the opposite is also possible – that the lowest cost supplier is in fact using the highest quality material but has forgotten to include costs of labour or other costs in the quote, or the highest cost supplier may be using the poorest quality materials and making a killing. It is near impossible for the purchaser to know, no matter how astute you are. I guess signage – like many other purchases – require a high level of faith and trust.

One could ask to see sample materials, but once again this is pretty useless if one does not know the technical specifications of materials. If you visit the SignForce factory you will find one or two rolls of ‘cheap’ vinyl. These are for specific client’s and are appropriately marked. Not because we enjoy the process but because we are VERY aware that it is extremely simple to make an error and use the incorrect material when making signs.

If you are in the market for signage that IS an investment, SignForce have been a supplier in the South African (and global) market for over four decades. We take pride in our work and believe our prices are fair so that your investment in signage IS an investment!

Contact SignForce now at info@signforce.co.za or call +27 (0)11 440 7525 or WhatsApp +27 (0)82 558 6413

Find out more about SignForce at http://www.signforce.co.za

SignForce belief in the Value of Mentoring and Training

A SignForce Insight into the Value of Mentoring in the Signage Industry

At SignForce, our belief in the transformative power of mentoring within the signage industry is unwavering. For SignForce, mentoring transcends mere knowledge transfer – it’s about nurturing growth, fostering innovation, and cultivating a supportive community with the ultimate objective being that is or when the current management leave or die, all team members have the necessary skill and training to take over the running of the business – in other words, sustainability – or for all team members to be in a position AT ANY TIME to go on their own and open their own signage business in order to compete with SignForce and take care of their respective families.

With a legacy spanning over two decades, SignForce has seamlessly integrated mentoring into the fabric of our operations, underpinning our sustained success and prominence in the market, and we believe is one of the reasons we have a loyal team with all of whom have been in long service with SignForce.

Empowering Innovation and Creativity at SignForce

Mentoring at SignForce extends far beyond the fundamentals of sign design and installation. Mentoring at SignForce represents a commitment to inspire our team members to exceed the conventional boundaries of creativity and technical prowess, instilling a sense of LETS TRY as this is the only way we could innovate and come up with possible method changing prospects. Leveraging SignForce’s rich reservoir of knowledge, we encourage industry novices to devise innovative solutions, ensuring every project not only mirrors our client’s aspirations but also showcases the abilities of our team members – past and current.

Cultivating a Cohesive Professional Network with SignForce

The essence of mentoring and training at SignForce is fundamental to our role of fostering a closely-knit network. At SignForce we champion the potency of caring and robust relationships – spanning all team members, both mentors and mentees, and our esteemed clients. These relationships are essential in bolstering collaboration, equipping SignForce to navigate complex projects with unparalleled confidence and dexterity – both essential to survive in the South African and signage market in general.

Upholding Excellence and Uniformity at SignForce

Excellence and consistency are the cornerstones of SignForce’s established reputation. SignForce’s dedication to mentoring and consistent training is at the foundation in cascading SignForce’s core values across generations of signage makers and users within our ranks. This unwavering dedication upholds SignForce’s high standards and also magnifies our commitment to delivering the most extraordinary customer experiences we can. Through mentoring and constant training SignForce ensures that every sign we create, from its initial concept to the final installation, serves as a testament to unmatched quality, embodying SignForce’s legacy of excellence. At SignForce we take pride of our work as there are very few experiences that in-still pride like the feeling that comes from driving past a sign that has withstood and successfully passed the test of time.

The Indelible Impact of Mentoring at SignForce

In essence, the significance of mentoring and training is core to SignForce’s ethos and values. Mentoring and training are a critical component of SignForce’s blueprint for success, nurturing a culture of growth, innovation, our unwavering sense of unity and our drive to ensure sustainability.

When you are looking to have your brand stand out, contact SignForce immediately on info@signforce.co.za or call +27 (0)11 440 7525 or WhatsApp +27 (0)82 558 6413

Find out more about SignForce by visiting http://www.signforce.co.za

Choosing a signage supplier

Free Standing Signs that work

Choosing a signage supplier

How Can SignForce Help You With Signage?

Navigating the world of signage can be challenging, but at SignForce, we’re here to guide you through every step. Whether you’re a new business looking to make a bold first impression or an established brand aiming to refresh your image, understanding how signage can help is crucial. In this blog post, we’ll explore how SignForce assists you in creating impactful signage that aligns with your business goals and needs.

Understanding Your Vision

The first step in any signage journey is understanding your vision.

What message do you want to convey?

Who is your target audience?

How do you want your brand to be perceived?

What do you want YOUR sign to achieve?

At SignForce, we begin by listening.

Our team of experts will discuss your objectives, brand identity, and design preferences to ensure your signage aligns perfectly with your business ethos and your desired outcomes.

Design and Customization

At SignForce, we believe that every sign sign investment mus be a piece of art that reflects your brand’s unique identity. Our design process is collaborative and iterative. With state-of-the-art design tools and a keen eye for aesthetics, we create custom signage that makes your brand stand out. Whether it’s a vibrant storefront sign, an electronic billboard, an elegant office plaque, or dynamic vehicle branding, we tailor every aspect of your visual communication to your specific requirements.

Quality Materials and Craftsmanship

The longevity and impact of your sign heavily depend on craftsmanship and the materials used. At SignForce, we use only high-quality materials that ensure durability so your sign will have a long life together with visual appeal. Our skilled craftsmen combine traditional techniques with modern technology to produce signs that are not stunning and also withstand the test of time.

Compliance and Installation

Navigating the regulations around signage can be complex. SignForce takes the hassle out of this process. We ensure that all our signs comply with local zoning laws and regulations. Our installation team is highly experienced, ensuring that your sign is safely and strategically placed for maximum visibility and impact.

Ongoing Support and Maintenance

Our relationship with you doesn’t end once your sign is installed. SignForce offers ongoing support and maintenance to ensure your signage continues to shine brightly. Whether it’s a simple clean-up or more complex repairs, we are just a call away.

Why Choose SignForce?

Expertise and Experience: With over two decades in the business linked with a deep understanding of marketing, we understand the nuances of effective signage.

Custom Solutions: SignForce provide advice and tailored solutions that reflect your brand’s unique story.

Quality Assurance: High-quality materials and craftsmanship guarantee a lasting impression.

End-to-End Service: From conception to installation and maintenance, we handle it all making your experience hassle free.

Your sign is often the first point of contact with your physical audience, making your signage a crucial element of your marketing strategy. At SignForce, we do more than just create signs; we craft powerful communication tools that elevate your brand. Let SignForce help you make a statement that resonates with your audience and stands the test of time. Reach out to us today, and let’s bring your vision to life!


If you or your business are in the market for signage – regardless of the size of the sign and the size of the job – SignForce is available to assist.

Contact SignForce now on info@signforce.co.za or call +27 (0)11 440 7525 or WhatsaApp +27 (0)82 558 6413

Find out more about SignForce by visiting http://www.signforce.co.za

SignForce’s reputation

 

SignForce

What you see is what you get with SignForce

How SignForce built our Reputation

In the competitive world of signage, having a stellar reputation isn’t just beneficial—it’s essential. At SignForce we have always been – and are – aware that our reputation is the collective perception of our business, formed by the quality our work, customer service, and the overall experience that we at SignForce provide, remembering that we are ALWAYS dealing with PEOPLE. SignForce’s reputation is the intangible yet powerful force that sets SignForce apart in a market flooded with choices.

Understanding Reputation: At SignForce we have built our reputation on providing ADVICE on SIGNAGE and MARKETING, with our focus being on ensuring that ANY money spent on signage MUST BE AN INVESTMENT. At its core, SignForce’s reputation is about being acknowledged for excellence, reliability, and our ability to positively influence our clients’ businesses – we get the feet through your door!

SignForce’s reputation has been built through consistent delivery of high-quality signs, innovative design solutions, and exceptional customer experiences over more than two decades under the current management. We would love to say we don’t make mistakes but that would be a lie. What we can say with 100% honesty and great pride is that our ‘mess up’ rate is significantly less than 4.3% and in all our years we have only had three jobs that we had to walk away from because we could not make good.

SignForce’s strong reputation means that when our existing client’s need signage services, SignForce is the first sign business that comes to mind.

Building a Reputable Status: Achieving SignForce’s reputable status has been and still is a journey involving continuous improvement and dedication. Building and maintaining SignForce’s reputation requires a keen focus on excellence in every aspect of our signage business – be it design, material quality, or customer service. Consistency is crucial – SignForce want our clients to know they can rely on us for top-notch work every time.

Equally important is how we at SignForce make our clients feel – appreciated, understood, valued, and SATISFIED. At SignForce we believe that positive experiences lead to positive word-of-mouth, which is invaluable in helping to build our reputation.

Long term Perspective: At SignForce we adopt a LONG TERM approach, unlike Keynesian theory in which it is stated that in the long term we are all dead so nothing matters.

At SignForce we believe out long term view is vital in building and sustaining our reputation – as well as the reputation of our customers – or as we see them, our business partners.

This long term perspective emphasizes consistent quality and engagement over time, rather than quick, short-term gains. For SignForce this means investing in quality materials, innovative design capabilities, a strong, experienced team and building strong, lasting relationships with our clients. At SignForce our goal is to create a cycle where quality work leads to customer satisfaction, which in turn drives our customers growth and hence greater demand and further business opportunities for SignForce as well.

Practical steps to choosing a signage partner:

Any potential buyer of signage is advised to follow the following steps in order to give them the best chance of having a successful, smooth experience when ordering their signs.

Where possible the buyer should evaluate the current standing of your potential signage partner – possibly talking to existing current clients, with the intention to get an understanding of where the your potential signage supplier stands in terms of reputation, ability to fulfil your job and meet your signage requirements. It may also be helpful to gather feedback and check reviews.

In order to ensure a SUCCESSFUL signage process it is imperative that the buyer is able to DEFINE your requirements – clearly define how you want your business to be perceived and define what, to you and your business, would be define as a SUCCESSFUL implementation of signage. Having clearly defined expectations is probably the safest way to confirm that your chosen signage supplier can and will deliver on and to your requirements.

One question you can ask is do the values and attributes of the proposed signage supplier align with our brand.

If you or your business are in the market for signage – regardless of the size of the sign and the size of the job – SignForce is available to assist.

Contact SignForce now on info@signforce.co.za or call +27 (0)11 440 7525 or WhatsaApp +27 (0)82 558 6413

Find out more about SignForce by visiting http://www.signforce.co.za

What is a CLIENT or CUSTOMER – and when is a ‘client’ neither a client nor a customer?

Printed Sandblast Effect Vinyl

Impressive Printed Sandblast Entrance Sign

What is a CLIENT or CUSTOMER – and when is a ‘client’ neither a client nor a customer?

As one walks into a Stew Leonads physical stores (https://www.stewleonards.com/) there is a large rock at the entrance which states the store’s policy. It reads, RULE 1: The CUSTOMER is ALWAYS RIGHT. Rule 2. If the customer is ever wrong read RULE 1.

This is an amazing policy and a great focus on superb customer service, especially for the retail market. (For those of you who have never been to the store it an EXPERIENCE of note).

But is the saying true and valid for businesses that are not retail based? I suppose the truest answer is YES and NO. Yes, as it is a great target for customer service, and NO because since customers are also human, there are times when they too will NOT be right.

As a designer, manufacturer and installer of bespoke, customized signage, SignForce is NOT a retail distributor, and while we strive to follow the policy of Stew Leonards, there are times when we have to question if the policy that seems to work so well for the retail distributor can work equally well for a manufacturer that also falls into the category of service provider of signage.

A simple Google search (http://www.google.com) of the word CUSTOMER says the following:

customer, noun, a person who buys goods or services from a shop or business.

On the other hand Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Customer) defines a customer as:

In sales, commerce and economics, a customer is the recipient of a good, service, product or an idea, obtained from a seller, vendor or supplier via a financial transaction or an exchange for money or some other valuable consideration.

In this writers opinion the Wikipedia is the better definition as it does not limit a customer to an INDIVIDUAL – the vast majority of customers, especially in SignForce’s business of supplying signage of all sorts, are businesses and corporates or institutions, NOT individuals.

What BOTH definition’s imply – or flat out explicitly state – is that a customer enters into a FINANCIAL TRANSACTION – meaning the customer receives something of value to said customer from the supplier who will receive FINANCIAL GAIN (read that as MONEY) for the goods supplied, so when a supposed customer does not pay for the goods, are they still a customer, or rather a liability and an expense?

I cannot speak for the world outside South Africa – but at the time of writing South Africa is a failed state (although many ill informed politicians and their cronies and ilk will argue otherwise) run by a poorly organized mafia (with no respect) known as the anc.

The once disciplined, moral and effective freedom fighters – or terrorists depending on one’s position (remember they are the two sides of the same coin) – did well to displace the apartheid government and have since failed dismally to show any morals or back bone or integrity or will or ability to build a nation – rant over.

The point being made is as a failed and further failing state – South Africa under the anc is doing all it can to follow the economic downfall of Zimbabwe and Venezuela, meaning doing business in South Africa is becoming increasingly difficult and costs of materials in South Africa, even when converted at US$ 1 to R20, are still prohibitive, making it extremely difficult for South African businesses to compete in the international market.

In 2023 many signage products can be acquired from China (no surprise) or America or Europe or the middle east (all big surprise) at lower cost than the can be made in South Africa .

As a South African based business this is scary as it makes a country, even with an atrocious exchange rate less competitive and will most likely only lead to greater job losses and more imports. A recipe for continued economic destruction.

When one is operating in such an environment – dare one say a war zone – this is sadly true as there are currently more violent deaths per day in South Africa (as a result of crime) than there are in most war zones in the world. This writer is not a statistician so please feel free to fact check my comments – one needs to ensure that ALL work time is compensated for, which once again comes back to wolves disguised as customers who are more than happy to prey on businesses that believe that turnover is more important than profit.

Part and parcel of the writers experience of of the signage industry over more than two decades is for people to ask for the world – based on an idea – and then over time refine the ideas until they come to a place where they are happy with what they see – both in vision and in associated cost.

As a signage supplier the typical South African attitude of I can do it myself, better and cheaper, comes at a huge cost in time (and often money). This includes prospects who are not yet customers requesting multiple ‘minor’ changes in design, revision in quote, etc., as even every ‘minor’ change requires a rework that can take hours. As such a quote that may take three to five changes can take longer to produce than the production of the signage, and this is all expected to be done at the signage suppliers cost.

So now assume there have been three changes to a quote and the graphic, and the client then decides that either they do not have the budget or they shop around using your intellectual property (IP) to get ‘competitive quotes’ – (remember they have not paid for your time that you are entitled to charge for) this is a topic of an entire book, not only a blog, and surprise surprise, they can get it CHEAPER.

When this occurs is the CUSTOMER or CLIENT still a customer or client as they are not paying for any of the sign suppliers input – both time and intellectual property (IP) – or are they an expense and liability that needs to be dropped for good – or in the thinking of this writer, charged for time if ever they approach the supplier again with the carrot (or promise) of potential future business?

Another question is at what point does the signage supplier disengage with ‘customers’ with all commitments of the supplier falling away. If a customer is with-holding final payment (we assume no business will be prepared to work without receiving an up front deposit) because some possible ‘snags’ are not being addressed, is it to be assumed that the signage supplier MUST make good and then fight on to get payment or should the client pay in full to fulfil their part of the financial transaction and then hope the supplier will make good?

Why is it that the often smallest cog in the value chain is expected to cover ALL the costs of prospect’s multiple mind changes and revisions, and is expected to not charge for their IP and time?

Sometime people we consider to be customers need to be fired so we can focus on PAYING customers who do not expect suppliers to work for free.

This writer is asking anyone WHO believes they may have answers to the various questions and issues to please contact the writer who will gladly take anyone who can give practical ideas for a cup of coffee in order to generate new ideas on how an industry which is seen so poorly so as to be on a par with second hand car sales, can educate clients sufficiently for them to get a grasp of value that they receive from their professionally made business signage.

SignForce is a full service signage supplier

If you are in the market for signage that will get feet into your business contact SignForce now on info@signforce.co.za or call +27 (0)11 440 7525 or WhatsApp +27 (0)82 558 6413

Find out more about the services SignForce offer by visiting http://www.signforce.co.za

Seven Important Benefits of Non-uniform Signage

non-uniform signs that work

Non uniform sign that catches attention and promotes your business

 

Seven Important Benefits of Non-Uniform Signage

Many – if not most – of us human animals tend to appreciate and enjoy visual stimulus being “uniform”.

I am not referring to people who are OCD and everything HAS to be PERFECT, but even for those of us that are quite chilled and un-phased, seeing a painting hanging skew, or a sign that just doesn’t ‘look’ and ‘feel’ right can be anything from a slight irritant to extremely off-putting and upsetting.

The thing is sometimes we as marketers can and SHOULD take full advantage of these predicatable and almost universal traits, as often, that feeling of discomfort helps a viewer look again and again and again – either in an attempt to see what is WRONG, or to find closure and not have to look again or to wonder what other ‘ERRORS’ can be found or to try and figure what FOOL could get the signage SO WRONG!

The reality is that there are a number of benefits to non-uniform signage. In fact any marketing material that can get the viewer to look again and again, especially when the medium is static, has definitely helped improve the client’s investment when measured by engagement for consistent views or time per view.

Seven of the most important, seldom considered benefits of non-uniform signage are:

  1. Increased visibility – Non-uniform signage can be more visible than uniform signage, especially in highly areas highly populated with signage. Non-uniform signage can thus help attract more customers to your business

  1. Cost-effective – Non-uniform signage can be a cost-effective form of marketing for businesses that have limited marketing funds because they can make their professional sign get more views simply because of it’s placement.

  2. Increased reach – Non-uniform signage can increase the reach of marketing campaigns due to increased visibility. Think of a television or social media advert. Chances are the one’s you remember the most either made you laugh or irritated you.

  3. Easily catches attention – A non-uniform sign can easily catch the attention of target customers and passerby. There is a saying that there is no such thing as negative publicity. While this si debatable – think of politicians worldwide – from a business perspective the higher one’s visibility, the greater the chance of being front of mind and hence the greater the chance the customer will remember, relate to and feel comfortable with your brand.

  4. Differentiates from competitors – Non-uniform signage can promote brand identity by using unique designs and colors that are not commonly found on other signs. This helps make your brand stand out from the competition AND is also a great step in brand identification and creating greater awareness of your brand.

  5. Customizable and Increases customer engagement – Non-uniform signs can be customized to your specific businesses brand or unique campaign which can and does increase customer engagement by providing a unique experience that is not found elsewhere.

  6. Promotes creativity – Non-uniform signage promotes creativity by allowing businesses to use unique designs and colors that are not found on other signs, and subconsciously lets your prospects and customers know you are available and open to different ideas.

SignForce is in the business of making custom signs. We design signs that WORK! Work can depend a lot on your specific requirements, which is why not all signs are the same and our customized sign designs do not have a one size fits all approach.

SignForce has been in the signage market for over three decades, and have built our reputation on giving the best possible signage advice and producing quality signs.

Contact SignForce now on info@signforce.co.za or WhatsaApp +27 (0)82 558 6413 or call +27 (0)11 440 7525

Find out more about SignForce by visiting http://www.signforce.co.za

Where is the VALUE in your SIGNAGE?

Illuminated Signs

Custom, old fashioned, illuminated signs

Where is the VALUE in your SIGNAGE?

Ever stopped to contemplate where the VALUE in your SIGN is?

What about your sign makes it an INVESTMENT versus an EXPERNSE?

I was recently reminded that as people we tend to focus on (1) NOW, and (2) diminish ourselves. Stated differently, when we focus on NOW we tend to focus on where we are CURRENLY in a specific place, we project that we will ALWAYS be in the same place – literally – even if we know we will physically be in a different place tomorrow. A different way of stating we DIMINISH OURSELVES is that we tend to elevate others and put ourselves down. A simple example of this is forgetting the skills we have – to change a light bulb, fix a car, post on the internet – whatever – because we believe that if I CAN DO IT, ANYONE CAN DON IT. This is not true. Every one of us has at least ONE specific skill that very few other people will have. Also, too often we BELIEVE the AMRKETING that is presented to us – so we BELIEVE that everyone else has a better life, something we don’t – so we don’t see how we can add value to anyone else.

You may be wondering WHAT all this has to do with SIGNAGE – so let me explain.

When you purchase a sign, you may believe you are ONLY getting the physical sign that gets delivered and or installed, because that is what you SEE. However, in reality the delivered END PRODUCT is exactly that – the END PRODUCT. The END product is what comes after EVERYTHING before the end product – all the design, the planning, the manufacturing without which the end product would either not exist or not be as it is.

Why should this interest you, and more to the point, why should you be be concerned about the process as much as the end product?

Have you ever heard about a Friday Alpha Romeo, or a Monday Alpha, or a Mercedes, or a Rolls Royce? Why do all of these names ring a bell? They all ring a bell because people see them, because they have PERCEIVED value and because of the PERCEIVED STATUS attached to each of the named products.

What about DeLorean, Bahia, Badedas, South African Airways and South African Railways. If you have not heard of these businesses it may be that you are not in South Africa, or it could be because they are all BUST, BROKE and going out of business, many due to lack of qualified management, but some because the products they sold were not up to scratch or they were not competitive in a world where competition is everywhere.

The latter list tended to focus only on the END RESULT, but did not give sufficient attention to the PROCESS, the list of little steps that are needed for the end product to exist.

For signage one of the PROCESS elements is the sales person, the person who makes the suggestions as to what type of signage you require to MEET YOUR SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS. If the business sign you order and receive is almost free but does NOT achieve your objective – whatever your objective is, it does not matter what the sign cost, it can be considered an EXPENSE as it cost you money but is not generating the money you hoped it would generate – in which case the sign or signs would qualify as an INVESTMENT.

At SignForce we have over two decades of experience in signage, keeping abreast of the local and international trends as well as what materials are available, not only in our primary market in South Africa, but also internationally.

Another benefit of working with SignForce is the years of MARKETING experience that we have acquired over the years in the signage business. But that is not all. The main sales people at SignForce also have years of marketing experience that comes from studying marketing and practical psychology, AND putting those studies into practice.

When you come to SignForce for SIGNAGE you are privy to our years of experience in making and psychology which is why we can design and produce signs that WORK and can thus be considered INVESTMENTS.

Now one concern we do have at SignForce is that we are often perceived as being expensive. This may be because a competitor may be able to produce a sign at a lower cost than we can. The issue is the INFORMATION CAPITAL that comes with the signs that SignForce design and manufacture, because, while signage is a simple industry, it is only simple for simple signs, and when it is not simple it is very quick to become overwhelmingly complicated.

At SignForce we strive to keep the system SIMPLE for YOU, our client.

If you are looking for signage that works, SignForce is the signage business to work with.

Contact SignForce now on info@signforce.co.za or call +27 (0)11 440 7525 or WhatsApp +27 (0)82 558 6413

Find out more about SignForce by visiting http://www.signforce.co.za

What are you ‘buying’ when you choose a sign company?

What are you ‘buying into’ when you choose a sign company?

SignForce 'invisible' sign

Partially Invisible Sign  – do you notice how the top left seems unattached?

It seems the standard method used to purchase a sign (and many other high ticket items) is to decide what you want, or at least have a rough idea of what you want or are looking for, or what you want to achieve. This applies to signs as much as it does to purchasing appliances, cars or televisions, all considered high ticket purchases.

Well that is only partly true. While cars and the other listed purchases (especially in South Africa) are definitely almost always seen as high ticket items – even for entry level models, signs and SIGNAGE are very often seen as a cheap after thought – that is, until quotes are received.

But I am digressing so back to the standard method of purchase.

  1. Have an idea of what you are looking for

  2. Hopefully have an idea of what you want your purchase to achieve (I know this sounds obvious, as you purchase a fridge to keep your food fresher for longer, DUH, but not everyone knows or understands WHY they purchase a sign.)

  3. Look on Google for a possible keyword – lets use signage or pylons or cut out letter signs.

  4. Wait – generally less than 1 second – for Google to give you a list of suppliers you can contact. ** This is where the fun begins and will require it’s own paragraph

  5. Call, WhatsApp or email the suppliers listed on Google to give them an idea of what you are looking for and ask for a price.

  6. Copy and paste the same message to all the possible suppliers listed on the first page *** of Google. Not sure where to mention this but are you aware that the top and bottom (of every page) few sites listed or ‘recommended’ by Google are paid sites – what Google refers to as sponsored – also known as paid adverts. This is only a FYI comment but is worth noting as there are possible additional benefits and costs linked to businesses that do and do not use sponsored adverts.

  7. Wait for feedback from the potential suppliers you emailed or called, or follow up the email with a call to make the potential sign supplier aware that there is an incoming email.

  8. Get quotes from the potential suppliers who respond to your request for a quote

  9. Assess the cost from each supplier making the assumption that ALL quotes are for the same ‘thing’ ****, especially as you sent the same request to all potential suppliers.

  10. Choose a supplier based on cost and possibly on a picture they have provided. *****

  11. Delete all correspondence from the alternative suppliers

** When you get the list of possible, potential suppliers, you are doing a wide range, generic search. Your search has no specifics and doesn’t necessarily tell you much about the businesses you are approaching. A cursory search of the proposed supplier’s website should give you a little more information, but please always remember that we live in a world of INFORMATION, and not all information is necessarily true, so a general rule is to do a little more digging (formally known as due diligence), make a call and see what response and ‘feel’ you get.

*** How often do you search beyond page 1 of any Google search? How often do you look at the number of responses Google provides – and the time it took to get the list. For example, a simple search of cut out letters took 0.6 seconds – well under 1 second – to provide a list of 2,120,000,000 web sites that MAY provide a good match for the simple search. This is an overwhelming number and is why almost every business strives and pushes to be on page 1 of the world’s largest business directory – Google!

The challenge comes in that for this specific search only 2 of the listings on the front page MAY fulfil my requirements. As such I tweek the search to CUT OUT LETTER SIGNS. This search took 0.4 seconds and provided a list of 925,000,000 possible sites. A great reduction of over 1 billion sites, The refined search has made it simpler to find what I am looking for and thus made it very simple to find at least one supplier on page 1 that should meet my requirements, so why go to page 2? The reason is due to the limited retail territoryavailable on page 1. Only a limited number of potential suppliers can be listed on page 1 (or every page) so there is a high likelihood that good suppliers may also be found on pages that are past page 1.

**** making the assumption that ALL quotes are for the same ‘thing’”

When you contact multiple potential suppliers you will most likely assume that because they are listed on Google that they are capable of doing the job. What you have no idea of is if there is any additional service or benefit you can get from any of the suppliers. In order to find out if the suppliers can provide any additional ‘services’, a number of questions need to be asked. History shows asking these questions while TALKING to a person tends to give great benefit.

***** If you are making the decision of which supplier to use based purely on PRICE (and a possible picture) you may be doing yourself a great disservice, as you may be expecting to get the same quality and same sign from all the potential suppliers, but you would be shocked to learn how many different possible interpretations there can be for the same sign brief, and as such you may not be getting the full benefit of any or all the suppliers.

A case in point is a recent request by one of SignForce’s longest standing and largest clients. The request seemed a little strange at the outset, but made sense later on when all the elements fell together. The request was for photo’s of premises, information about staff, a list of machines on the premises and a few other VERY PERTINENT questions. It turns out our client’s client was requesting the information, possibly as a means of doing part of a due diligence. The other points that may be lost when only looking at cost is quality and cost of material to be used, expected lifespan of the signage, type and quality of paint and if the sign that you have requested is in fact the BEST sign to achieve your intended outcome. At SignForce we have the benefit of a number of years of experience (as well as the formal qualifications) to provide input regarding your marketing strategy and what signs would best suite your needs. This information is not charged for, although our signs may sometimes ‘cost’ more than a competitor, but the added value is definitely there to be taken advantage of.

Which brings us back to the question of what you are buying when you choose a sign company.

It goes without saying you expect the company to produce a sign. You may expect them to design and install the sign as well. It is possible that you know exactly what you need and how it should be made in order to get the most beneficial results from your signage, but it is highly unlikely that you would know as much about signs, their benefits and cots and the best placement to maximize your investment, as the sign producer, especially one who has years of experience, and possibly some formal qualifications in the field.

Trusting your signage manufacturer means you believe they have some knowledge you don’t have. In addition you are not only looking for a sign, but if the signage business is a decent one, they will make sure that your purchase is an investment so that your sign helps to generate more income than it costs. In order for this to happen it means that you also value the experience of your supplier, you value the expertise of your supplier and you are quite right to expect a level of after sales service. The question from the sign suppliers perspective is what is the commercial value of these additional – add on – benefits, and what, if anything, Is my client prepared to pay for these benefits.

At SignForce the senior management have a depth of knowledge and experience in signage – as can be expected after more than 20 years in signage – but also have a depth of knowledge in marketing, visibility, design and project management, which means that when you use SignForce you are investing in a team that will gladly take on and supervise your signage project with the intention of making you look good, ensuring you signs work and your deadlines are met.

Contact SignForce now on info@sgnforce.co.za or call 27 (0)11 440 7525 or WhatsApp +27 (0)82 558 6413 for all your signage requirements as well as for advice on signage and what signage will work best for your unique business.

Find out more about SignForce by visiting http://www.signforce.co.za

Why should EVERY business brand their VEHICLE or FLEET?

If ever there was a marketing no brain-er it has to be vehicle branding, regardless of whether your business has a singly bicycle or a massive, extensive fleet.

If ever the adage A BUSINESS WITHOUT A SIGN IS A SIGN OF NO BUSINESS was apt, it must be when it comes to vehicle branding.

For obvious reasons a visible vehicle helps promote one’s business, brand or service.

On the less obvious side – and depending on the product or service – branded vehicles tend to be less likely to be stolen and drivers of branded vehicles tend to be more aware that they are being watched so they have incentive to be more polite drivers.

Vehicle branding is also important because it helps to create an identity for the business which may not seem very important, but it helps existing clients identify with the business and feel pride when they see THEIR supplier is doing his rounds.

Vehicle branding can also deter theft. A specific case in point was one of the first fleets SignForce ever branded. The client started with three vehicles but then decided that the cost to do the remainder of the fleet was prohibitive so they stopped at the done vehicles. Every few months they would get quotes to complete the fleet branding but invariably decided the funds could be better used elsewhere. It was about three years after the first vehicles that the call came in to please complete the branding, no quote required.

This was too good to be true as there were now nine additional vehicles but unfortunately due to the currency fluctuations the cost per vehicle had almost tripled. Yes, the cost had risen threefold yet this time the cost was not an issue.

When asked what caused the change of heart, the following story unfolded.

The company had been going through some tough times hence the redirecting of the branding budget. Recently they had received a call from one of their largest clients who was FUMING and threatening to take his business to the competitor – there were only two suppliers in the market – because the company were in breach of their exclusivity agreement and were supplying the client’s competition.

The company professed innocence and assured the customer that that was not the case. He was steadfast and told the supplier that he could see their vehicle offloading at the competitor. The customer was told this was impossible as the competition were NOT the company’s client. The customer then told them it was definitely their vehicle as it was branded and he also gave them the registration plates.

What followed was an investigation and sting operation (with the client’s cooperation) which resulted in the firing of almost a third of the company’s workforce.

The theft had been going on undetected for years as there was collusion between a number of internal staff. They had always used the unmarked vehicles but on the day the customer called the criminal ring’s client had needed an urgent delivery and they gave no thought to the fact the vehicle was branded. This is why the cost was not an issue. When compared to the years of theft and the possibility of losing their major client, the cost of branding was less than negligible.

Vehicle branding helps differentiate your business from from your competition, establishing a connection with existing and even prospective customers.

Vehicle branding can be used to increase brand awareness and brand recognition, build customer loyalty through pride and visibility and create a positive image for the brand.

Vehicle branding can also be used to communicate features and benefits of the business as vehicles can be used as silent sales persons at the same time they can be used as mobile billboards whose cost per view decreases with every trip the vehicle makes.

Vehicle branding can also be used to create a sense of urgency and create a memorable experience for customers, all while assisting prospective customers to make an informed decision about your business and brand. When prospective customers (and existing customers) see your vehicle multiple times, they seldom comprehend that it may be a single vehicle, so the repeated viewing of a single vehicle (something similar to standing in front of multiple mirrors in a store change room) can give the viewer the feeling that your business and fleet is much larger than it may actually be.

Why should a business brand their fleet of vehicles?

A branded fleet of vehicles is a cost effective way for a business to create a professional appearance, increased visibility, and promote their brand, business or service.

Good vehicle branding also sends a strong message that the business takes pride in its appearance and professionalism.

Branded vehicles help build trust and create a difficult to measure emotional connection with customers and potential customers. Additionally, branded vehicles create an opportunity for increased exposure and can be used as a platform for advertising.

To get your vehicle – from your bicycle to your horse and trailer – branded, contact SignForce now on info@signforce.co.za or Whatsapp +27 (0)82 558 6413 or call +27 (0)11 440 7525

Find out more about how SignForce can serve you by visiting http://www.signforce.co.za