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.

How to clean a sign

How to clean a sign

Good.Signs are an investment,  so as with most investments,  a good, working sign should be maintained and cleaned on a regular basis.Maintenance includes cleaning and maintenance of moving or working components and parts of your sign,  which will be covered in a separate blog article.

Cleaning your sign is important because, when done correctly,  the clean sign will enhance the image of your business while lengthening the life of your sign.The cleaning materials to be used,  as well as the techniques used to clean your sign will depend on: A. The type – substrate – of the sign, B. Access to the sign, and C. The material used for the face of the sign.

A. Type of sign

While Chromadek – a powder coated metal – can be cleaned with harsh chemicals like mentholated spirits or paint thinners, even Chromadek should not be cleaned using acetone, although it is generally safest to clean most signs using mild detergent, with a rule of thumb being if you wouldn’t use the detergent to wash your hands,  avoid using it on the sign.

Perspex and other plastic signs can generally be cleaned using harsh chemicals, however,  one should be wary when using harsh petroleum based chemicals to clean plastic based signs because if the sign was heat treated or heat polished,  there is the high possibility that the plastic or perspex could fracture or shatter.

Being made from plastic based products, flexface signs and banners should not be cleaned using any harsh chemicals,  but should rather be cleaned using a general degreaser,  with most dish washing liquids doing a great job.

B. Access to the sign – or more accurately lack of access  – may make it impractical for the sign to be cleaned often,  if at all.   Shop front signs can generally be accessed using an eight foot (two meter) ladder,  so while access isn’t ‘easy’, it is simple enough,  and possible to access the sign with a ladder, so cleaning of your store front sign should be included in your general cleaning routine.

External signs,  such as many found on the outside ot shopping centres,  are sometimes  placed too high to be worked on without specialist knowledge and equipment,  so it is advisable to assess the cost of maintenance against the replacement cost of the sign as well as the loss of brand image if the sign looks very bad.

C. The material used for the face of the sign is the final,  and possibly most important determinant of how the sign should be cleaned, as while harsh chemicals can generally be used quite safely on cast or solid colour vinyl, when used on digital prints, (and more and more signs are being decorated with digital prints), harsh chemicals will more often than not remove the image that the cleaning is intending to preserve.

As with most signs it is generally better erring on the side of caution and using water and soft detergents when cleaning printed signs.

If you are looking for signs and a professional signage company or simply want advice on sign maintenance or general advice on signs please contact either arnold@signforce.co.za or david@signforce.co.za and we will get back to you as quickly as possible.

Does Content Marketing mean ANYTHING to you?

It seems to me that the current “BUZZ” word in social media marketing is CONTENT MARKETING.

I agree that content marketing is essential if one is to educate your client’s, both because this is how SignForce has built it’s reputation, and also because educated client’s tend to look beyond the immediate investment, and look at the long term benefits of quality, insurance and guarantees that have been tried and tested.

While looking at my LinkedIn profile today the question came to mind. What exactly is the CONTENT that people come to SignForce (and me personally) for. I asked this question because personally I have more endorsements for specific marketing related activities than specifically signage related one’s.

Now since SignForce is a sign consulting, design, manufacture and installation business, this initially struck me as strange. However, with further thought I realized that it is not surprising that people endorse me (and hence SignForce) for marketing, as signage is marketing, and at SignForce we DO advise, not only on signage but on how signs should fit into a business’s complete marketing strategy. Hence the SignForce blog tends to focus on marketing related education.

Have you given any thought to what niche or market you and your business fit into, and if so, what is the content that you focus on?

Whether you are looking for marketing professionals with experience over multiple medium’s, or 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 does my business survive a recession?

With the world markets in turmoil and no certain end in site for the recession that most countries seem to be in, does business need to step in and assist government, or should the assistance for business come from government?

For there to be a light of hope at the end of the tunnel of doom and gloom, it seems to me that government should be assisting business, implementing procedures that create work for ‘the people’, assisting the economy to grow.

To assist with this job creation, government need to look at long term projects that are financed by taxes and create long term jobs. At the same time, business – especially small business – needs to be encouraged and supported by government for creating jobs. This can easily be done by giving tax breaks, or other incentives to small business.

While this is a logical, and tested approach, it seems that at the current time in South Africa, our idiot elected officials are way too busy jockeying for positions so that they can openly rape the coffers, for them to care about the electorate, or business.

This can be seen by our president’s proud announcement in March 2012 that there are 15 million South Africans receiving social grants – a quick way to bankrupt any economy – as well as the myriad of taxes that are being imposed on the ever more stretched tax payers.

Since government are certainly showing that they are not there to assist small – or any – business, what can business do to ensure their survival until that light at the end of the tunnel is once again turned on.

History has shown that investing in fixed assets, and generating more business tend to be two good ways to keep ahead of inflation, and is most likely a brilliant bet to continue to be able to afford the ever increasing taxes.

Since SignForce is not in the business of marketing fixed assets, we cannot assist you with those purchases, but we are in the business of custom communications, which means that we are well positioned to assist you to ensure that that portion of your marketing budget that is going to signs is an investment in marketing.

For advise on or assistance in how to ensure that your ad-spend is an investment, contact Arnold or David at http://www.signforce.co.za/action.php