How do you Maximize & Measure the benefit of your signage?

Living in the world of the 21st century, it seems EVERYTHING is expected to be measurable.

While this is not always true and definitely not always simple – for example, even in 2019, how does one measure the level of LOVE – there are many ways to evaluate and measure the ‘SUCCESS’ of your purchases and investments.

At SignForce we see signage as an investment, and in order to measure the return on investment, we believe that four fundamental questions need to be answered, preferably BEFORE the sign is purchased.

  1. What do you want the sign to achieve?
  2. What is the correct sign for the objective to be achieved?
  3. What is most important to you in measuring the success of your investment :

    (a) the cost of the sign and / or

    (b) the quality of the sign and / or

    (c) the importance of your deadline being met.

  4. How do you intend measuring the success of your signage?

If your sign is located in the middle of an open field, with the only thing competing for the potential reader’s attention is the vehicle instruments, the possible people in the vehicle, the road and nature, and all you want the sign to do is capture attention, measured by the number of vehicles you can get to respond to your signage’s message, then the main focus should be the SIZE and ATTRACTIVENESS of the message.

If on the other hand your sign is located in a shopping mall where, aside from the landlord’s approval, you are competing with a number of LARGE, FLASHY, 3D signs, best you either make something even LARGER, FLASHIER, 3D or alternatively, something TOTALLY DIFFERENT in order to STAND OUT. If your measurement of success of the signage is to get a specific response from the viewer of the sign, then before purchasing the sign, one should look at what about the sign will lead the viewer to respond.

While the above two scenario’s are greatly over simplified, it should already be clear that not all signage is appropriate or necessarily the best signage to achieve a desired objective. This leads to the next set of questions, as to the order of which is most important: (a) the cost of the sign or (b) the quality of the sign or (c) the importance of your deadline being met.

As custom signage is generally made or assembled by hand and thus labor intensive, the three questions above tend to be at odds with one another. If it is a ‘cheap’ sign one is looking for, that will generally mean a compromise on the quality of the sign, so the sign may be able to be produced pretty quickly. Being produced pretty quickly should not be confused with the sign being an ‘off the shelf’ item, and it should generally be understood that the speed of the signs manufacture will generally (but not necessarily always) have an influence on the quality of the sign.

If the deadline is the most important factor, followed by superior quality, then it should be fairly obvious (although it never is) that the cost of the sign is going to be higher, ESPECIALLY when the sign is ordered (in South Africa this includes the order being received, the artwork being approved and the required deposit being paid) at the last minute.

It seems that very few people who do not work with signage on a regular basis tend to understand the manufacturing process(es) that are required to get signs manufactured, decorated and installed, and thus often tend to have the erroneous belief that the wave of a magic wand will get the picture that they have in their mind, and possibly even the picture they have approved on paper, to suddenly appear in full life size. The best advise we at SignForce can give is if you have a specific deadline, and a budget, then make sure you get information on the time required to manufacture your signage, and give the supplier more time than they required, as this way there is less room for error – or surprises.

Measuring the ‘success’ of you signage could be by measuring how many viewers respond to the sign and / or it’s message. It could also be measured by an increase in sales or turnover, or the number of (additional) feet that come into your premises, or how much you paid for a sign that matched or exceeded your expectations.

Conversely the success of your signage could be measured by looking at what the sign cost and whether the sign is the correct sign for the task, whether it is what you expected it to be and whether what you got is what you were sold and how long the sign lasts and the total cost over the life of the signs. This is because in an industry where purchase decisions are generally made on a picture on a piece of paper, where the buyer seldom knows or understands the materials and processes that are used or whether the materials that were used match the materials that were sold.

As a buyer of signage, a purchase where price is ALWAYS a factor, often because the signage is the last item on the agenda which means the budget has long been blown, it is often understandable that what looks like the best sign at the best price is what gets purchased, especially when the buyer believes that all the signs that are being quoted are generic and identical, simply because the paper that holds the ‘picture’ displays the same picture.

It is more often than not important for the buyer to understand that unlike a purchase of a can of beans of a single brand which are all assumed to be almost the same, custom signs differ from manufacturer to manufacturer, with a lot depending on the integrity, design capability and professionalism of the sign maker.

It is for this reason that when a buyer of signage gets multiple quotes, and they are all ‘saying’ the same thing, but the prices have a great variance (in my personal opinion more than 30%), the buyer should be asking for samples of materials and probably asking for references. It is quite possible that the buyer is about to get a bargain of note, because there are many sign businesses who unfortunately, for their own good and long term success, do not quite understand pricing and margins, so the buyer could well get a bargain. On the other hand the buyer may believe that they are getting something they are not.

If you are intending to buy signs, and are interested in having consultants on what signs may best suite your needs, we at SignForce are available – simply call +27 (0) 11 440 7524 / 5 and ask to talk to Arnold or email arnold@signforce.co.za with the subject PLEASE CONSULT.

Secret #Signage

This post was sent as a newsletter on 27 May 2019. While it is already outdated – especially in light of South Africa’s poor performance on the international stage, the concept can still provide food for thought.

Sponsors are now, even at this late hour, threatening to pull out unless independent sign professionals act as sign umpires and declare the CWC signage free of ‘secret signage‘ or visual interference.

Whilst ‘secret signs‘ seems an oxymoron, ambush marketing is taking totally new direction with this new technique. Signage at events like the CWC form a large and important part of a sponsors investment in visual communications. So the possibility of having this offset by an ambush marketer is creating havoc behind the scenes..

The real nub of the problem is that the ambush signage can be done by a small ninja group who can do this in a very short space of time – even inside the sign company’s, or sponsor company’s, premises.

This ambush message will show up on fixed signage – particularly those large billboards that form an integral part of the stadium landscape. The technique has been to overprint the sign with a fluorescent ink that only shows up on the TV camera’s – in exactly the same way as the white cricket ball is treated to give it more visibility. The technology that was painstakingly developed for the white ball to solve the on screen visibility problems has now been hijacked. We are not yet sure what the revealed message will be – or was supposed to be – but you be assured that some sponsors are now very anxious. Stand by for some exciting viewing!

Calls have been made for all involved signage companies to stand by a new code of conduct that will ensure that they secure the signs from manufacturing floor through to installation.

You will be pleased to know that SignForce is a founder signatory to this new protocol. This was an easy decision for us, as we have always taken the greatest care of our work – from conception to installation.

Of course the above is just a spoof, but you never know . . .

Standing by to do some ‘innovative’ signage for you soon.

Regards

Thanks for reading, hope to see you soon.
The SignForce Team

http://www.signforce.co.za

contact us on info@signforce.co.za

Tel: + 27 (0) 11 440 7524 / 5

5 points that make a #sign successful. Part 1

The success of a sign is generally a VERY SUBJECTIVE measurement, and will have a lot to do with exactly WHY the sign was originally commissioned, and WHAT the intent of the commissioner was at the time the sign was commissioned.

If the #sign was commissioned to let passers by know that YOU are located in a particular location, and the sign generates sufficient interest or attention to get [sufficient] people to walk in, the sign could be considered a success.

If on the other hand the #sign was intended to make a specific statement, one that was intended to say ask for a ladies hand in marriage, could one say the sign was UNSUCCESSFUL if the lady turns down the proposal?

From a #signage perspective, generally, for a sign to be successful it should:

  1. Stand out from it’s environment
  2. Be easy to read
  3. Be easy to understand
  4. Be clear, and
  5. Be BOLD

If your sign has all five points, it is bound to succeed in it’s objective.

For SUCCESSFUL signs visit http://www.signforce.co.za or contact #SignForce at +27 (0)11 440 7524 / 5 or email to info@signforce.co.za

SignForce is based in Johannesburg, South Africa, and ork throughout Southern Africa.

How BIG must my sign be?

How LARGE MUST my sign be? What size sign will best convey my message? From how far will people be able to read my sign?

These are questions we often get asked. As a joke, we tend to advise clients that, as a rule of thumb, (a) the bigger the better and (b) the sign should be as large as your budget allows. (Please note this IS a joke and while it is valid for outdoor signs, is not always best for intimate signs, where too big becomes gaudy.)

In truth, if a sign NEEDS to be visible from a specific distance – because it is located on the side of the road or it will only be viewed from moving vehicles or the sign is some distance from the point where it will be read (to name three of many scenario’s), then there are some rough scientific calculations that can be used to calculate the height the text needs to be in order for the text to be visible from a specific distance, as well as from a distance at speed. Please remember, at best, these calculations are rough guide, as they do not take into account ALL factors that affect visibility, especially height above the viewer.

The table below has been adapted from information taken from signsnow.com. For more in depth calculations, especially for measuring legible distance while driving, please visit https://www.usscfoundation.org/USSCSignLegiRulesThumb.pdf

It is important to remember that the table below refers to LETTER height ONLY. This means that if you have multiple lines of text or multiple words or either of these combined with a logo, the SIZE of THE SIGN will change, with the dependent factor being the DISTANCE at which the TEXT must be legible.

legible sign distance

For assistance for any signs, especially when you need to calculate sign size in order to make the sign legible, please call #SignForce on + 27 (0) 11 440 7524 / 5 or email arnold@signforce.co.za

How will the SUN affect the life of my sign?

Digital print; large signs, pylons, billboards

How drastic is the effect of the African sun on a digital print

20130507_090940

Does the SUN truly affect the life of a sign?

The short answer is YES.

The two attached photo’s are of a sign in Johannesburg. This is not one of SignForce’s customers, but it is a brilliant sign to demonstrate the drastic effect the sun can have on a sign.

Some background.  The sign was installed about two years ago, and is a full colour digital print. I do not know what printer was used, although for this article that is not relevant, as although different printers may have different life expectancy’s, it can be assumed that both prints were printed on the same machine, so they should have the same life expectancy.

The ‘white’ face is north facing, and the ‘yellow’ face is west facing. The big difference is that the north facing sign gets full sun the whole day and the west facing sign, while it gets the strong ‘western’ sun, only gets sun exposure for about four hours a day.

The results of colour fade are evident in the difference in colour of the two faces of the sign.

In Southern Africa a digital print is only expected to last a maximum of three years, with the life expectancy being dependent on:

  1. The colours that are used – reds and lighter colours will fade quicker,
  2. The printer being used – at SignForce we mostly use a Roland VP540 with original inks that are shown to last better than most in the harsh African sun, and
  3. The position of the sign, including daily length of time the sun will be exposed to the sun.

Although it may not always be a financially viable option, when a sign has no half-tones (that is no shadings) and if the design is uncomplicated, the life expectancy of the sign may sometimes be increased by using cut vinyl that has a life expectancy of between five and seven years. As mentioned, it may not always be financially viable as even with inflation linked increased printing costs, it may be more cost effective for the sign to be reprinted every 30 to 42 months, with a fresh face and possibly even a fresh design improving the signs return on investment.

For further information on the digital printing, or if you are in the market for professional looking signs at “FAIR VLAUE”, or if you would like advice on how best to project your business’s image while considering any funds you spend on marketing and signs as an investment, contact the writer now at arnold@signforce.co.za or david@signforce.co.za and use the subject line: ADVICE PLEASE.

Why does my business need a sign?

Why does my business need a sign?

I have been asked this question on more than one occasion, and my standard answer has been the old adage, “A business without a sign is a sign of no business!”

While this adage is old to us sign people, it is non-the-less as valid today as it was when it was first uttered many years ago.

While it is true that not EVERY business will need a sign – if you are an internet based consultancy, with absolutely no live visitors, how would a sign benefit you?

On the other hand, I have recently been approached by an internet based marketing firm – they are so focused on the internet that they refuse to get a telephone of any sort (all correspondence being via email or on their website) – to make them a sign as their suppliers and shippers are having difficulty finding them. This is a business that only sells to on-sellers, and has absolutely no dealings with the public, yet even they feel they need a sign.

Since signs are among the oldest forms of marketing, they are a firmly established means of communication a number of points about your business.

A sign is considered to be ‘good’ when it clearly displays where you are doing business and / or tells the reader WHAT it is you do. At the same time, almost every sign sends the subliminal message about HOW you as a business, do business – a dirty sign gives the impression you are not concerned about taking care of the finer points. Imagine a fast food outlet where the sign is going black with dirt. How FAST will you walk into that store, especially if the competitor next door has a bright, clean sign?

Signs can also be seen as a symbol of success.  The larger and more sophisticated the sign, the viewer will ‘respect’ your success as a business.

For more information as to how signs can help your business view this video. http://youtu.be/054rkBBfSSE

For signs and sign related advise contact SignForce now and one of our dedicated and experienced team will gladly assist you.

david@signforce.co.za   +27 (0)82 654 5495

arnold@signforce.co.za  +27 (0) 82 558 6413

http://www.signforce.co.za

Tel: +27 11 444 3331

Would you employ this person?

Who represents you and your business

Would you trust this sales person with your future?

Would you employ this person?

Some of you may know who the person is, but WHO he is is not actually relevant for my point. in fact, you could quite easily replace the picture with one of any similar uneducated person who is know for making comments that make them look stupid!

But wait! For me, that is where the problem lies.

If you were the employer of this person, that person has thus de facto become a representative of your business, and thus an extension of YOU!

Imagine the impression that makes on your hard won client, when the employed (or elected if you will) person starts interacting with or talking to your client.

That ‘first impression’ is created on first sight (or sound), and if that first impression is a poor one, it could take forever to change that perception.

At SignForce we are very aware of the impression we create, and while we unfortunately don’t always get it right, we do continually work on making sure that our work, our products and our staff represent SignForce in a manner that we are proud to own.

If you are in the market for professional looking signs at “FAIR VALUE, and would like advice on how best to project your business’s image while making any funds you spend on marketing and signs an investment, please contact the writer at arnold@signforce.co.za or david@signforce.co.za and use the subject line: ADVICE PLEASE and we will get back to you.

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Is this sign an effective sales device?

What’s wrong with this picture?

Is this sign an effective marketing and or sales device?

I was driving behind this truck and saw this fantastic signage. Since I was parked behind the truck at a red light, I had the time to read the sign. It was interesting, as we use a few of the advertised products. Then it dawned on me – there is a MAJOR MARKETING ERROR here.

Care to hazard a guess as to what the error is? (ok, it is an error in my opinion!)

To me the error is that while the pictures are great, high resolution pictures, and the text as well as the pictures are clearly legible from a fair distance, I have NO CLUE what the name of the business is, and worse, I have ABSOLUTELY NO MEANS of tracking or contacting the business.

Please, pleaseplease people. When signing, it is ‘nice’ to put your name on the sign, especially if your name does not reflect your business. If your name DOES reflect your business it is slightly more important to put it on the sign. This sign is fantastic in that it CLEARLY STATES what the business DOES, but what good is that when there are no contact details?

The rear of a vehicle is generally smaller than the sides, yet it is also the signage that is most likely to be read, because it is more likely that traffic will travel behind, and possibly stop behind the vehicle, allowing for some decent reading time, as opposed to the sign flashing past on the side of a vehicle.

For expert advice on signs, how they are a fantastic marketing tool and how they can be viewed as an investment, call us at SignForce. We have the qualifications and experience across multiple media to be called marketing professionals.

If you are in the market for professional looking signs at “FAIR VLAUE”, and would like advice on how best to project your business’s image while making any funds you spend on marketing and signs an investment, please contact the writer at arnold@signforce.co.zaor david@signforce.co.za and use the subject line: ADVICE PLEASE and we will get back to you.

http://www.signforce.co.za http://www.signforce.co.za/blog

How long should a sign last?

Long should a sign last? or What is the expected life of a sign?

Often the life expectancy of a sign is linked directly to the cost of the sign.

As as general rule, the more expensive the sign, the longer is will last, but there are a number of factors that need to be considered.

First off all materials are not created equal, and even equal materials will not have the same life expectancy in different locations.

At SignForce we use vinyl that the manufacturer’s say has a life expectancy of five to seven years. While this may be true in Europe and North America, where the climate is cooler tan here in South Africa, we tend to find that five to seven year materials have a life expectancy of around five years. The difference between the better and cheaper options being that the better options tend to shrink evenly, so your circle maintains the shape of a circle, etc.

That is for vinyl. Perspex (or Plexiglas or many other brand names for plastic signs) has an outdoor life expectancy of between seven to ten years, and as long as the sign is not tampered with, this tends to be fairly accurate.

In the harsh African sun good, outdoor digital print and silk screening inks tend to have a life expectancy of between 12 and 36 months, so as a rule the vinyl that is printed on tends to have a life expectancy of no more than three years, as it is figured that the print will fae before the vinyl cracks and peels.

As a buyer of signs what we at SignForce suggest is that you look at the investment over a period of time. A sun that runs and looks bad is BAD for business! That said, if the cost of a print that will last three years is double the cost of a print that lasts 18 months, the latter is actually more expensive, as chances are that in 18 months the latter will cost more and you would thus have been better off looking at the long term cost. Of course, if you only need the print for six months, then a print that lasts 18 months is a better investment.

For great advice on how to have signs that make you look good at a fair price, signs that, as an investment, will generate greater income than their cost, and enhance your image, contact SignForce now. David: david@signforce.co.za Arnold: arnold@signforce.co.za 0861 SIGNFORCE / 0861 744 63 6723

www.signforce.co.za  www.signforce.co.za/blog

 

Step 1 to ensure your sign is an investment?

At SignForce we aim to ensure that any money our client’s spend on signs is an investment in marketing. This is achieved by ensuring that our client’s signs fulfill their intended application. In order to establish their intended application we ask the following questions: 1. What do you want your sign to achieve? 2. Why? and 3. What is your budget?

Knowing what you want your sign to achieve and your budget gives us the ability to help you achieve your objectives within your budget. I mention this because it is not uncommon for us to find that clients are sometimes uncertain as to what the sign should achieve, and either do not have an allocated budget or are not willing to share the budget with us, for fear that we may then spend the full budget. In reality, knowing your budget means we are more likely to accurately advise on materials and design as well as if the desired objectives are possible to achieve within your – our client’s – budget restraints.

In order for us to best advise you we need information, and the more information we have the better we can advise. So when thinking about signs it is worth keeping in mind that the more information you give us, and the better the idea you have of what you want the sign to achieve, the faster the process, and more effective your sign is likely to be.

If you are in the market for signs, whether it is to design a sign, manufacture your signs or relocate and install existing signs, contact SignForce’s now. SignForce is a full service sign company, and with our understanding of consulting, internet, design and signs, we are well positioned to assist you to ensure that all the money you spend on signage is an investment. Contact the writer now for more information.

Arnold N. Pollak

arnold@signforce.co.za

For signage idea’s to suite your business, go to SignForce’s idea’s bank at:

http://www.signforce.co.za/action.php

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