Is Seeing STILL Believing?

Should you believe your eyes?

In the modern world (is it modern?) of 2022 can and should one believe your yes – also know as should you believe what you see?

It is difficult for the writer to disassociate from the war that is raging thousands of miles away across the planet in Ukraine – yet already this war has a huge impact here in South Africa. This impact is on many fronts, financially, politically , emotionally and for many physically.

While we would like to think that the world has advanced in the last 80 years since WWII, this war highlights just how habitual, gullible and emotional us humans can be.

While the writer is not sure that the Russians are any more wrong than the Ukrainians in their political and other opinions, from a simple layman’s perspective, it is the Russians who went into Ukraine, and no matter how pre-emptive their action is intended to be, it seems to be seen as wrong by the vast majority of the western world. As an over simplified example, If I break into your house, unless your house is on fire and I am getting you out, the vast majority of the world would say I am a thief and should not be there.

When I look at both sides and the amount of information – and more specifically DISinformation – that is being produced, it is very difficult for me to not think about the second world war where propaganda was the name of the game and the people were intentionally kept ignorant.

Are we, in the 2022 world of instant communication, where everyone with a hand held device is capable of being an ON SITE reporter, any MORE informed than our forefathers from the 1940’s were? Are we any less ignorant? Are we less likely to believe the propaganda – aka disinformation – than our ancestors were?

It is for these reasons I question whether we as a species are capable of learning, capable of change and whether we are simply habitual, stupid and emotional beings, where our habits and lack of emotional intelligence will lead us to BELIEVING what we WANT TO BELIEVE, especially if we have SEEN IT with our own two eyes. As my darling late grandmother used to say, “if someone took the time to write it it MUST be true.”, NOT!!

It is for this reason that I posed the simple question “Should you believe your eyes?”

We want to believe what we see is true. In fact in many ways I do think that we NEED to believe what we see is true. The sad reality is that a LOT of what we see, especially in the ‘modern’ world of instant, emotive, DISinformation, is NOT true. What we see is so easily doctored, altered, edited, ‘Adobied’, ‘Photoshopped’ or however you want to refer to it, to create an image – whether that is a single sill photo or an entire hours long documentary or movie – that will play with and into our emotions, causing us humans to act in an emotive manner so that we play directly into the hands of the developer / poster of the information.

This manipulation technique is used extensively by amongst others, marketers, politicians, charlatans, snake oil salesmen (and woman if you like – in fact, more often, more women than men, but that is not a point to discuss in this article) – in order to get US (the viewers) to do their bidding, whether that is buy their products, vote them into power or whatever.

The manipulation generally follows the line of showing something that is out of alignment with the viewers sense of being. This causes emotions to rise. Then showing a possible SOLUTION to the raised emotions, and then closing the deal.

A large portion of this manipulation – is achieved through visual stimulus – hence being wary of trusting what you see.

We at SignForce have also seen this use of manipulation in the signage business over the years. While SignForce is sadly far from perfect, we do our best to supply our clients with quality work that exceeds our client’s expectations, and when this does not happen, we go back to rectify.

This striving to achieve is not something you will find on the SignForce website (http://www.signforce.co.za) or on our quote sheets. It is (hopefully) evident when talking to the staff of SignForce, but even then, unless you are looking for this ‘unspoken’ information, it is easy to miss.

The above is not to say that we don’t have many excellent competitors that operate with as high levels of integrity and service excellence, it is only to lay the groundwork to understand that while MANY sign businesses strive to do their best for their clients, there are those that strive more to do the best for themselves than they do for their client’s. This is sadly often at a cost – sometimes VERY HIGH – to the client.

While one can argue that Caveat Emptor – let the buyer beware – ALWAYS applies, it is a sad reality in the purchase of signs and signage that we as humans are so programmed to buy standardized, off the shelf products that provide instant relief, that we apply the same logic to the signs we buy – and the visuals we SEE of said signs.

At SignForce we refer to this as BUYING THE PICTURE.

Buying the picture refers to if you see the picture of the proposed signage from supplier one, and you see the picture of the proposed signage from supplier two and you see the picture of the proposed signage from supplier three, and they all look pretty similar, if not identical, it is simple to (incorrectly!) believe that proposed sign one at cost of X is the same as proposed sign two at the cost of 1/2X is the same as proposed sign three at 2X. Using this logic, it is easy to believe that proposed signage one is the median, and thus the most ‘reasonably’ safe purchase – or investment – while proposed signage two may be considered “CHEAP” and proposed signage three is seen as “EXPENSIVE” – while, in reality, proposed signage one may in fact be the worst option and proposed signage three the best option, DEPENDING ON THE MATERIALS USED AND THE METHOD OF CONSTRUCTION and the client service and possible guarantees offered. But HOW do we as buyers know what questions to ask? This will be a topic for a further discussion.

If you are in the market for any signs that make you or your business visible, are prepared to pay fair prices and are looking for peace of mind that a company that has been around for over two decades and is know to ‘make good’ when we mess up, then SignForce could be the signage business you want to partner up with for all your signage – aka custom visual communications.

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

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

Is LUCK necessary to make a Business Successful?

What does it take for a business to be a success? (or survive?)

Gary Player, the famous golfer, is also famous for saying something like “being successful requires a measure of luck”, and “the more I practice the luckier I seem to get!”

While this comment was specifically made about Gary Player’s golf career, I was wondering if it applies to every aspect of a successful business as well.

Life has taught me that a LOT of success in business comes from doing the same repetitive, ‘boring” things over and over and over and over and over and over again. This is because it is the “boring”, “repetitive” actions that are needed to keep a business functioning. Things like accounting, marketing, selling and doing the work!

A great man named Dennis Kaplan once said that every person who is successful has to do the work (similar to what Gary Player says as this becomes practice which can lead to ‘luck’), work hard, focus and also needs an element of LUCK.

It is the LUCK part that intrigues me most. In the context of a sport, luck can easily be attributed to hours of practice and training, as this practice and training hones the muscles, hones one’s reflexes and makes one better at the action that is being repeated.

There is also a level of mental focus that is required. If one looks at the top sports people, it is often their mental attitude – and fortitude – that separates number 1 from number 100. This is one reason the field of Sports Psychology dos so well.

So how do these factors apply to business?

Is it LUCK that a particular client finds a specific supplier? If we focus on marketing efforts, then LUCK could possibly be one’s ability to get into the prospect’s line of sight, or keep one’s business front of mind. But is this really luck? If it is luck it could be interpreted that the business with the biggest budget will ALWAYS win as they have the ability to keep one front of mind. BUT is this true for all businesses?

Could it be LUCK that a specific prospect finds your business, contacts your business and then decides to go ahead with your business to do the job? This one is specifically questionable when one does not necessarily have much influence over the decision process.

For an example lets look at a business like SignForce.

We can market all we can, as we have control over this.

Once we have marketed we have no control over the prospect clicking on, calling or emailing SignForce. This step I would put down to luck.

Once the prospect DOES contact SignForce we then have some control over the next step which is seeing the client (if necessary), advising the prospective client and quoting the prospect.

The next step is once again out of SignForce’s hands, as this step depends on the client’s budget, the competitive quotes the prospect received (we always assume every prospect gets the standard three quotes which is considered good governance) and what quality the prospect is prepared to settle for, assuming that (as is standard) all three competing companies have quoted on the SAME sign(s). The last one is a little challenging as history has shown that there are MANY ways to quote on the same signs, but they all have different pro’s and con’s, many of which the prospect would have no clue about, simply because they would need to be sign specialists to know about all sign materials and their pro’s and con’s.

If the prospect does decide to work with SignForce all steps going forward ARE in the hands of SignForce so this is where practice (and hence no longer luck) comes in, as the more we do the work to the client’s approval – this involves quality, life span, delivery as per agreed deadline and many other factors – the more likely SignForce is to get additional work from the client.

Of course one issue with the signage business is that unless the client is expanding, the repeat cycle of business is between five and seven years. This means a sign business needs to continuously market in order to fill the five to seven years, and then some.

At SignForce we know we don’t know it all. We do practice a lot, and we tend to get better the more we practice, which is one reason people could explain why SignForce has been in business under the same management for over 20 years.

If you are in the market for signs – anything that makes you and your business visible – SignForce has been around assisting businesses to be visible for over 20 years, andd we will gladly assist your business as well.

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

Find out more about how SignForce can help make your business visible by visiting our website at http://www.signforce.co.za

Is it possible to always swim UPSTREAM?

Is it possible to survive while bucking a trend.

Conversely, is it possible to survive by following popular opinion?

Having a discussion with a fellow contractor it seems that the popular view on signage is for many people to go for the cheapest option.

This is VERY understandable, as money currently seems to be tight for almost EVERYONE.

The difficulty with accepting the cheapest quote is you may land up getting exactly what you pay for – as in you may find that the sign that you get at a bargain price in fact doesn’t last very long which will mean that you may land up paying twice for the cheap signs to last as long as the guaranteed signs. But enough of a ramble, this is not the intention of this blog.

The current trend is POPULAR. Do what the masses ask for – or demand.

The difficulty with following the popular trend is that the prices are often set by what the BUYER believes is reasonable. This subjective opinion is based on the buyers FEELINGS, but has absolutely nothing to do with COSTS.

Now for longevity or sustainability of a business, one cannot sell below cost, as if one does, you are only going to go broke at the pace of your loss – the smaller the loss, the longer it will take to go bust.

General practice for costing generally entails calculating the COST of all inputs – material, labour and whatever INPUT costs there are, add your mark-up and you get your selling price. There are obviously cost variations depending on one’s personal circumstances.

If a sign business is not quoting this way they are not covering all costs, and if all costs are not covered, how do they survive in the long term?

So what is a business to do? Follow the trend and slowly drown and go out of business, or feel as though you are always swimming against the stream and get the tit bits that come through by sticking to time tested quoting methods and marketing like mad?

If you are in the market for signs that will make your business visible, are prepared to pair fair value and want the security of knowing the business you deal with has been around for a while (over 20 years) and is intending to be around for many more, contact SignForce 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 our website at http://www.signforce.co.za

Hoe to REVIEW SignForce.co.za on Google Business

How to place a GOOGLE BUSINESS REVIEW for SignForce.co.za

Like almost every modern business SignForce do our best to market our sign business and signage services in every possible way.

One way that we find very beneficial is for prospects and clients to rate SignForce on Google Business.

Because Google reviews are so important to our marketing effort – and, being human, we often forget to ask clients to rate SignForce, when we do remember to ask for Google Reviews one of our biggest challenges is when tech dinosaurs ask HOW do we rate SignForce.

After much research and many tries – it is not as simple from a developers perspective because, once again being human, we look for the easiest way to do repetitive work, which means cookies on our machines tend to direct us to the back end of the Google Business site, which is not helpful for clients and prospects.

Aside from Google Reviews being a helpful search tool for prospective clients looking for SignForce – or any supplier of almost any product almost anywhere in the world – Google Reviews also help businesses like SignForce because the largely unsolicited reviews are definitely unbiased, and help prospective clients see the good and bad – mostly fair – reviews of SignForce. It does bare some ugly truths about the failings of SignForce, but we at SignForce are of the opinion that these negative reviews can only help us make, sometimes unrecognized, corrections to how we operate.

If you are willing to assist SignForce with our marketing, or have had such a bad experience that you are willing to take the time to comment publicly, the following are the steps to rate SignForce.

Step 1: Search for SignForce on Google

Step 2: In the right of your business search results, click the button / icon / text Review or Write Review

Step 3: You should then get a page with 5 stars and the next page you can enter a comment if you wish.

Alternatively, if you are more tech savvy, are logged into your Google account OR know all the details in order to log into your Google account, you can click on the following link and it should work.

https://search.google.com/local/writereview?placeid=ChIJIUcQdcxylR4RLwxpFXf-EiA

If or when you are in the market for signs or require advice on signage, contact SignForce on either info@signforce.co.za or call +27 (0)82 558 6413 or WhatsApp +27 (0)82 558 6413

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

Signage – not a business of life and death – UNTIL IT IS!

Ripped Banner

Banner sign

Signage – not a business of life and death – UNTIL IT IS!

The image above is of a banner sign that has weathered to the point where it is disintegrating leaving the ‘bar’ exposed.

One advantage of being in the signage business is that unlike doctors, we don’t have to be on call 24 hours a day as we are NOT in the business of LIFE AND DEATH.

Generally, signs are not so important that a missed deadline will result in people dying or something similarly negative. Signs go up, they are part of a marketing campaign, they live, and people move on.

This is GENMERALLY the case, but not necessarily the case when one is building (or working with) PYLONS, BILLBOARDS or AT HEIGHT work.

Why can PYLONS, BILLBOARDS or AT HEIGHT work be life threatening.

Lets start with Pylons and Billboards. Both HIGH, HEAVY steel structures. Lets imagine a 14 meter tall pylon. 14 meters equates to just under five stories. Now imagine if that had to fall down. It would cause some SERIOUS damage, either to property or life. It is for this reason PYLONS and BILLBOARDS can be considered matters of life and death.

AT HEIGHT work refers to signs that are HIGH. Imagine a sign that is 10 stories up, or one that is 30 stories up, or even a sign that is 2 stories up. What COULD happen if a sign – or a piece of one – at that height falls.

Signs need to be insured and maintained, and certain signs need to be replaced at regular intervals. Some are six monthly, some five to seven yearly.

The one constant is that when a sign deteriorates, it will do so slowly and then like an avalanche, once it gains sufficient momentum, it will happen VERY FAST.

It is when signs deteriorate that suddenly, signage becomes a matter of life and death.

If you have signs that are aging and in need of removal, maintenance and / or repair, SignForce can assist.

Contact SignForce now on +27 (0)11 440 7525 or email info@signforce.co.za

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

 

Is there any coloration between SIGNAGE and MAGIC?

Signs, like magic, is all  about the Illusion!

Sandblast vinyl - with or without patterns

Lets start with a disclaimer. The only magic I know is a simple card trick I was taught when I was about 3 years old – so I cannot talk about magic with ANY authority whatsoever, other than as a ‘man-on-the-street / witness.

That said, like magic – slight of hand and illusion – simple #signage can sometimes be a lot more than it seems.

Take for example the window in the attached picture. This is possibly the simplest ‘special’ effect in an office that can make a disproportionately huge difference in the way an office looks and feels as well as it’s functionality.

The sandblast effect vinyl used on this internal office window allows in a good measure of natural light, allowing the office to remain ‘light’ while at the same time giving the occupant more privacy when in the office.

The photo here is of a floor to ceiling window that separates the private office from the larger, open plan office. Because of where and how the vinyl is applied to the glass, the large pane has been transformed to a fully functional white board for the open plan office, making the space a practical and functional space to meet, plan and display!

Like magic, a simple sandblast effect film on the glass makes sandblast effect vinyl a VERY cost efficient way to make internal glass more multi-functional.

SignForce has been around for over a fifth of a century and are always willing to consult and guide you to show you how simple, cost effective signage techniques can help you make your offices as user friendly and practical as possible. We are not interior designers, so we stick to simple advice, but we can help.

For further information please contact us on info@signforce.co.za or call us on +27 (0)11 440 7524 / 5

Using sandblast vinyl can make a office more private, create white boards and keep offices light -all done in a clean manner, on site.

Can SignForce illuminated signs aid area security?

SignForce illuminated signs and possible area security

Having just watched an episode of #ReturningTheFavor on FaceBook I was reminded of how crime often feels like a universal issue. In the town of Engelwood in the USA more than 2,000 shootings were reported in 2018.

Now SignForce South Africa is far from Engelwood, (in fact our main office is in Johannesburg, South Africa), many of thousands of kilometers away. That said, there are similar issues occurring in pockets around South Africa, some being so bad, especially around Cape Town, that the army has been called in to maintain some semblance of security.

The issue of crime and some of it’s causes (amongst them being political nonsense, lack of jobs and the lack of well illuminated area’s) got me thinking about how #signs, and specifically signs manufactured by SignForce, assist more than the business that has paid for the sign, but also the surrounding community by illuminating often very dark area’s.

At SignForce we generally follow the rule that MORE IS BETTER, so more light is better!, as it lights up the sign, making the message BRIGHT, LOUD and CLEAR, while at the same time providing ambient light (and it’s accompanying security) to the immediate area.

If you are interested in attracting more attention to your business, and at the same time helping you community by bringing some light to any dark area’s, we at SignForce are here to assist, so feel free to contact us on +27 (0)11 440 7525 or email us at info@signforce.co.za