Where does SIGNAGE fit into your business

Where does SIGNAGE fit into your business

Today I was reminded that Sales, Marketing as Branding are NOT all the same tasks, and while they may all have the same objective – improved turnover – they are not necessarily achieved by performing the same or similar tasks.

According to Bing.com Branding, marketing and sales are different but related aspects of a business. Branding is all about creating an image or identity for a product or company. Branding and marketing both use strategies to reach their goals for the business, while marketing focuses on boosting sales branding focuses on increasing the organizations recognition and loyalty.

Marketing is about uncovering and connecting with audiences most likely to benefit from any long-term ‘promises’ that a business makes, especially by using branding..

Sales is the ultimate objective of all branding and marketing, culminating in an exchange of value between the buyer and the seller.

When assessing signage in relation to branding, marketing and sales, one should figure where signage should fit in and what the sign should deliver in order to be considered successful.

Signage such as store name, vehicle branding, isle markers and product identifiers can all be considered part of the BRANDING mix. This is because these type of signs can relay a specific message at the same time as creating consistent BRAND awareness while keeping the BRAND front of mind.

Signage can be used as part of the MARKETING mix by reminding the viewer of the promise that the branding is committing to.

Signage at point of sales can be in the form of visually impactful bobbers or standardizing the signage of the store, constantly reminding the person of where they are and how they got there.

If you or your business are in the market for signage, SignForce has decades of experience and is available to assist.

Contact SignForce not on info@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

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

Handling Expectations

Printed Sandblast Effect Vinyl

Impressive Printed Sandblast Entrance Sign

 

Handling [Unrealistic?] Expectations

Regardless of how great one’s communication skills are, it is always possible that a message is received ‘differently’ to how it was intended when sent – ask anyone in a long term relationship.

Language skills, mood and / or intention of the recipient and reader are three of MANY reasons miscommunication can occur. A simple example could be that a signage quote is sent with standard industry jargon but when it is received the recipient does not ask for an explanation of the jargon but rather assumes the words used have their standard, common, meaning. If this happens it is then possible that when the work is completed the client’s expectations are not met, and a dispute arises.

From experience most times mis-communication happens it is best to talk to the client so as to clear up any misconceptions, and that will mostly resolve the issues.

However for the more complicated situations, it would be fantastic if there was a formula to resolve the issue to the satisfaction of all parties.

According to business guru’s the most successful way to handle issues of misunderstanding are to:

  1. Be Honest and Transparent. This may help close the gap between where the client’s expectations and reality lie.

  2. Communicate openly, focusing on the problem without being judgmental or allocating blame.

  3. Try anticipate the client’s requirements in advance. This is not always possible as when client’s are faced with multiple options they may (incorrectly) believe that all options are similar, and without asking for clarity they may not get this right. An example of this is a client following standard good governance and getting multiple (3) quotes for a sign. When the sign quotes come in from say A, B and C, the wording on the quotes may be identical, but if none of the quotes SPECIFY what material will be used, yet the quotes vary widely. The variation in the quotes can be due to very different materials being quoted on, with different life expectancies and different looks and feel. No signage client could be expected to know these differences if they are not specifically explained.

At SignForce we have been accused of being long winded and our quotes giving more details than needed. This is generally to avoid the possibility of misunderstandings by clients and also to hold ourselves accountable to ensure the correct materials are used.

If you have physical premises and you want SIGNS that WORK, consider partnering with SignForce.

SignForce has been in the market for over two decades, and have built our reputation on giving the best possible 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

Signs and Technology

 

Happy Fathers Day to all the Fathers out there

One positive aspect (and sometimes negative) of the modern world is how fast information can be shared.

This can be positive as, for example, when a message on one of the writers groups went out in the early hours of this morning asking for help as it sounded like someone was in their property and needed assistance, within minutes not only were the first responders on site, but helpful, potentially life saving tips were shared almost instantly.

The possible negative of the speed with which information is shared (mostly negative for politicians) is that, except for the most draconian or dictatorial regimes, information is on tap for people to know what is going on around them. If modern world politicians had a collective brain cell they would KNOW that the truth WILL OUT far quicker than they like to believe – even though FAKE news is said to spread something like ten times faster than truth – as the saying goes, when what you see makes you react INSTANTLY – ASK IF IT IS TRUE!

Technology has certainly helped speed up communication. Unfortunately this has brought with it a number of ailments linked to not keeping up, the fear of missing out, the lack of ability to THINK enough to ensure what is being seen and heard and spread is TRUE, and a number of anxiety related conditions because, especially among the the younger generations, people have forgotten that they are in charge of their devices and thus are too afraid to turn them off, resulting in energy being drained.

One of the advantages of traditional signage is that it is timeless. The signs that one often sees are simple fabricated items that while eye catching and sometimes very technical, do not drain the viewers energy, even while inviting feet into one’s physical premises.

If you are opening physical premises and you want signs that WORK, consider partnering with SignForce.

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

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 SignForce by visiting http://www.signforce.co.za

Will SIGNAGE survive the current AI revolution

3D sign

White, Illuminated 3D sign

Will SIGNAGE survive the current AI revolution

If you are alive and online – which we can assume you are if you are seeing and reading this post – you MUST have heard of AI (artificial intelligence) and how it is likely to reshape the workplace and employment in the future – both foreseeable and long term.

When asked if Signage will survive the current AI revolution, ChatGPT answered as follows: “Absolutely! While artificial intelligence is revolutionizing many aspects of business and technology, signage serves a different purpose entirely. Signage is a tangible and physical way for businesses to communicate their brand, products, and services to customers. Signs can be seen, touched, and experienced in a way that AI cannot replicate. Additionally, many signs are designed to be aesthetically pleasing, which is not a task that AI has yet mastered. So, rest assured that signage will continue to be a vital part of businesses for many years to come, even in the age of AI.

This writer tends to agree with ChatGPT, but not necessarily for the same reasons.

While there are AI programs and Apps available that can CREATE wonderful pictures, logo’s and pieces of art, all of which can be incorporated into modern signage, it is the physical creation (or manufacturing) that has yet to be repalced by a machine.

Yes, there are computer based tools such as 3D printers and benders that can help create a 3D sign, but at this time – and for the foreseeable future, it does not look likely that sign makers will be replaced by robots. Good news for sign makers, not necessarily such good news for customers as when items are not made by machines they tend to be more costly.

This is definitely the case when it comes to signage, especially since the vast majority of signs are custom – custom look, custom design, custom feel and custom size – there is very little chance of an affordable robot taking over the physical work that is necessary when making most, especially 3D, signs.

One can ask if signs will be required in the future, especially as the world moves to digital which can do so much and is fast becoming more and more affordable. This writer believes that digital signs will be used more and more to sell – lifestyles, products, services and time – BUT for the foreseeable future BUSINESSES will still be physical – people want to touch and smell and feel – which cannot be created online, and as long as people want to touch they will want to go to physical stores (or physical destinations) which will most likely continue to want signs to make customers, prospective customers and suppliers aware of where you are. People want to SEE your business.

To find out how SignForce can assist your business to make itself visible contact SignForce now on info@signforce.co.za or WhatsApp +27 (0)82 558 6413 or call +27 (0)11 440 7525

http://www.signforce.co.za

Why would any entrepreneur want to get into the signage industry

Why would any entrepreneur want to get into the signage industry

There are a number of positive reasons to get into the signage business.

In the modern world where AI is starting to impact a large number of opportunities, signage included, the manufacture and installation of signage is still very labour intensive. Design of signage is definitely being threatened by AI, and this could well have an impact on sign businesses, but from the writers experience AI generated signs are not yet very practical to manufactured, so for the foreseeable future humans will still be required to manufacture signage.

Another advantage of the signage industry is there are advances being made which include digital boards that are becoming more and more popular.

Some factors potential entrepreneurs should be aware of when planning on opening a sign business include location, equipment and machinery, licensing, regulations and compliance administration, advertising, networking, staffing and administration.:

Location: While location is currently less concerning than it has been in the past, with the move to buying local there is a good chance that in the future location will once again become a large factor in costing and people’s requirements for signage. When considering location a potential signage entrepreneur should consider the location of their sign business and the proximity to their target customers as it may become increasingly important to find a location that is convenient to customers who will likely use their services, especially if they are relying on customers to come in off the street.

Equipment: Having the right equipment, machines and sign making tools is essential for a sign business. Potential entrepreneurs should decide what type of signage they will offer and then research the cost and availability of the necessary tools and machines. Depending on the business model and type of signage the sign business intends to market and manufacture, the sign making tools required may vary.

Licensing, Regulation and Administration: Depending on the location of the sign shop, there may be specific licensing and regulation requirements for sign businesses. Potential entrepreneurs should research the specific requirements for their area – be it country or state – and prepare to meet any applicable regulations. This is increasingly important when one wants top be compliant in a country such as South Africa where, unless the correct hands are greased, government and large business contracts will only be issued to businesses that are compliant with a huge number of laws and regulations. In current day South Africa an entrepreneur who intends to remain compliant needs to plan and budget for sufficient compliance staff to remain compliant.

Advertising: Advertising is an important part of running any business, with a sign business being no exception. Potential signage entrepreneurs should consider how they will advertise their services and reach potential customers – see also your intended market. Advertising may vary from networking to online PPC to printed or digital media to name a small number of options.

Networking: Networking with other sign businesses, suppliers, and potential customers can help a sign business grow. Potential signage entrepreneurs should research local networking opportunities and take advantage of them. Sign entrepreneurs should also look at networking with other signage businesses, especially if located in countries like south Africa with shrinking economies or if located in outlying area’s where networking can help the sign business with materials, techniques and other sign industry related updates that may not get to outlying sign businesses.

People. It is believed that every business, sign businesses included, require three main components – like legs of a tripod. Marketing, Finance and People. Marketing covers all types of selling, finance includes ensuring you have sufficient capital to carry the business through the first months of operation – including understanding that not all clients will be paying on time – and employing the correct staff or contractors. If the right people are employed the business can thrive. Likewise, poor recruiting decisions can be extremely costly to the point of closing down a sign business.

Administration – also called accounting or finance – is ensuring that there is a constant flow of cash. Most businesses that die die as a result of poor cash flow. It is as important for the sign business to sell at a profit – important part of administration and sales – as it is to collect the money, as in the modern world it is increasingly common for payments to be delayed, and delayed payments can cost the sign business both in terms of relationships and lack of cash flow.

If you are looking to enter the signage industry SignForce, with almost 40 years experience, are willing to talk.

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

the SignForce website at http://www.signforce.co.za

The 4.5 Secrets of a Successful sign

The 4.5 Secrets of a Successful sign

Almost any sign is better than no sign – but not always.”

A successful sign needs to follow some basic rules, the most important being:

Legibility, Contrast, Size, Color and Competition.

1. Legibility:

Regardless of the color used, the size and the beauty of your sign, if your sign is not legible, it is not likely to achieve it’s objective of attracting viewers and potential customers. Legibility is determined by a combination of factors including the TEXT SIZE, FONT, TEXT COLOR and CONTRAST.

If the text is too small or too large, it can make the sign difficult or impossible to read. Either way people will most likely not take the time to read or try understand the message, and the sign will not attract the necessary attention, and will fail in it’s objective of attracting prospective customers.

The font you use can have a massive impact the legibility and understanding of your sign and it’s message. The writer remembers a sign that he always believed was for a beer company as the legible part of the sign read BREW. Turns out when the signage was replaced it was a design company. Their sign was almost totally illegible, had too much ‘noise‘ and the font was exceptionally difficult to read, especially in the short time one had to read the sign while driving.

The color of the text relates to both the text itself and the contrast between the text and it’s surrounds.

2. Contrast:

If your sign has little contrast it may look fantastic ion paper and also be classy on small items – badges, folders and the like. The lack of contrast tends to become more of an issue when the sign is large, the time to read is limited and the contrast is so limited that it is not easy to IMMEDIATELY differentiate between the text and the background.

Successful signs need CONTRAST. The greatest contrast is between BLACK and YELLOW. It may not always be practical or possible to use black and yellow – for example if your logo is green or blue or red or a combination – but if your logo is red and you use the same or a slightly different shade of red for the backing, the chances are that if you placed that sign on a billboard, your message would be lost.

3. Size:

In signage, the general rule is BIGGER IS BETTER! While BIGGER IS BETTER is true in the vast majority of cases, it is not always so. The larger the sign the further away the reader can be. That is simple. The larger the sign the larger the text, hence it is more legible from a larger distance. However, if the text is TOO LARGE for signs that need to be read from close up, then size of the sign can distract from the intended message, and at worst end up with the sign looking gaudy and unprofessional – something which could negatively reflect on your brand.

The question of SIZE also impacts the distance the sign may be spaced off a wall or backing board.

Free Floating signage is great in that it enhances a 3D look, makes the sign look modern and professional and helps attract attention while making the business look GOOD. This positive effect can be reversed when a sign is spaced too far off a backing board. If for example, your text is 100 mm high, and you have it spaced 100 mm off the backing board, not only are all the fixings visible – which can look very untidy and unprofessional – the fixings being the same size as the sign (in this example) often makes it look like the owner skimped on the signage, which could have a negative impact on the brand.

4. Color

As already stated color (colour) and contrast are essential for successful signs and signage. It is the writers view that the color you use in your signage should be as close as possible to the colour you use in your other promotional material. A little secret – most people will never see your letterhead close enough to your sign to do an accurate comparison. That said, our subconscious mind is an extremely powerful tool, and will pick up even slight variations that may look incorrect. If your subconscious sees or believes that a sign is incorrect, it is not uncommon for people to rather walk away and try an unknown brand than to use a brand that they know, they recognize and they trust, BUT not the fong kong LOOKING replica. This phenomena has been demonstrated to this writer on a number of occasions. (For more information on this phenomena you are welcome to contact the writer).

siBold colors work well in signs, especially when they contrast with the back ground. Because bold color works well with signage it is always recommended to remember that signs, like music, are not only about what one sees and hears, but about the SPACE around what one sees and the space between the musical notes.

4.5. Competition

Competition is not it’s own number as it may seem a little strange to think about when designing one’s signage, however, like most things in life, signage is SLEDOM seen in isolation.

If you are the only sign on a long road, with nothing else around for miles (kilometres for those on the metric measuring system), you can most likely get sway with almost ANY sign. A hand written board that is too small to generally get noticed could attract attention on a long open road as it is simply not the same as it’s surroundings, and could thus stand out enough to be seen. [Please remember that being seen does not necessarily equal being read or legible].

On the other hand, if you are looking to install a sign in an area that is almost overpopulated with a variety of signs that create sufficient visual pollution to give prospective viewers a head ache, if the sign does not have any ‘special features’ that make the sign stand out from the competition, the sign may not get seen at all.

Competition is a seldom considered factor in signage that has the potential to make a HUGE impact on the success of your sign.

For advise on signs that work contact SignForce now on info@signforce.co.za or call and ask for Arnold on +27 (0)11 440 7525 or WhatsApp Arnold on +27 (0)82 558 6413.

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

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