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

Seven Important Benefits of Non-uniform Signage

non-uniform signs that work

Non uniform sign that catches attention and promotes your business

 

Seven Important Benefits of Non-Uniform Signage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Never too old to learn

Fire with LED sign

Fire and signs

One is never too old to learn

There is an old saying that we are never too old to learn. This is true in many aspects of life and was clearly demonstrated to the writer this week when called to a site where I was informed the sign had burned.

With no other information than the fact it had burned and the size of the sign I – very incorrectly – assumed the sign was a large banner and had been caught in a grass fire.

When I arrived on site and saw the damage, my first thought was the fir was because the NEON HT cable had made contact with the backing board. However, when I looked up, I saw the sign was not illuminated with neon but was in fact illuminated with LED modules.

This is then FIRST LED illuminated sign this writer has ever seen that has burned, and especially one that self ignited.

Fortunately I was able to call some contacts and had people who had a greater understanding of fire – and burnt signs – than I do, and they were able to pinpoint the flash point where the fire most likely originated.

This is a great lesson and worth spreading that while LED signs are immeasurably safer than neon, they too can burn, especially with the new blended wire that is now available. The best lesson here is that even LED signs need maintenance, and, especially if your LED sign is old, one should have the wiring checked – preferably once a year – to ensure the wiring is not brittle and to prevent any possible fires.

SignForce is available to maintain all signs and are well enough connected that if we do not know, we WILL bring in the experts!

To get your sign checked or maintained contact SignForce now on info@signforce.co.za or WhatsApp +27 (0)82 558 6413 or call +27 (0)11 440 7525

Find you 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

Complex signage looking simple

Printed Sandblast Effect Vinyl

Impressive Printed Sandblast Entrance Sign

 

Please let SignForce know your opinion on how this printed sandblast vinyl entrance looks.

In the very biased opinion of the writer this entrance vinyl for Lamna Financial (https://www.lamna.co.za/lamna-johannesburg/) looks phenomenal. All the colors came out well and the visual elements all line up.

The reality is this end product took multiple – 4 – yes FOUR  – iterations to get right, much to the very understandable frustration of the client and the team at SignForce.

You may rightly ask how or why such a simple looking vinyl entrance would take so many iterations to get right. While the answer is simple, it is also multi faceted.

The first iteration had the color of the dark blue coming out as green – this was because the yellow tiny of the sandblast effect vinyl did not get the message to look more like white. Grade 1 art teachers that mixing primary colors of yellow and blue makes green – hence the dark blue printed vinyl looked more green than blue.

The 2nd iteration was to correct the view from the rear – not the primary intended view of the sign but one in which the rear is visible (from the entrance foyer) and where any faults in the sign, the print and the vinyl, are highlighted because of the proximity of the viewer and light to dark ratio.

Unfortunately the vinyl also failed! Technically this is most likely as a result of the sandblast effect vinyl being too saturated with aggressive original Roland inks. The opinion of the writer (without any backup from the manufacturers of either the ink or the vinyl)  is that the edges began to curl because of the change in the physical compound of the vinyl which became much softer than normal once saturated with ink – (welcome to the chemistry of signage 001). The vinyl manufacturers were dismissive when approached with a failure claim because you would not guess, the vinyl is not made for printing!!

The 3rd iteration did not get the curves to line up correctly, making any errors scream out and making the entire logo and visual look WRONG.

At this point one could ask why the application of machine cut vinyl to a flat glass window would not line up 100%.

The answer is that life is not that simple! While the GLASS that the vinyl is being applied to is flat, the full windows – including frames (aka mullions) are not. In fact the aluminium ‘mullions’ between the glass panes are each approximately 80 mm wide and 50 mm deep. What this means is that when the vinyl is applied it would have to ‘climb’ the mullion, making it ‘short’ on the next window. This complication is fairly common in signage and is similar to the complication encountered when one has to make an ON PAPER 3D picture into a physical 3D sign.

The 4th iteration meant that each machine cut element needed to be modified so each printed vinyl element could be individually lined up and hand trimmed. This application required a two person team with one person doing the application work up close and the other being the ‘eyes’ behind the sign (from inside) in order to assess and instruct on the lining up in order to make the vinyl visually correct.

While the finished product looks amazing and, for the uninformed surely makes the job look simple, that simplicity could be the secret of a job well done. Going back to complete the work regardless of what is involved, making the client’s sign look great AND making it look simple.

If you are looking for a sign business that is capable of, and not scared to handle, simple and complex jobs, SignForce is the sign business for you.

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 our website at http://www.signforce.co.za

WHO designs your business signage?

Who DESIGNS your businesses Signage

I know this question sounds rhetorical, but it is actually a serious question.

In our experience, depending on the size of your business and your budget, the DESIGNER will range from the business owner to an upmarket outsourced design team. This may involve a LOT of different people, but how many of these people are actually SIGNAGE specialists?

The reason I am asking is that in our experience, especially for businesses with a smaller budget, the sign is designed on PAPER.

This may seem obvious, but what does it actually mean. Let me take you through a process to explain.

You, the needer of the sign, either have a great idea yourself or get an DESIGNER to come up with your CI – Corporate Identity – such as your logo, your business cards, your letter heads and the like. Your SIGNAGE is generally an AFTER THOUGHT and as such will simply be a physical representation of said CI.

Most times this is not only acceptable, it is also practical and sensible. The issue may come when you, the purchaser of the sign, now approach THREE (we will use best practice) sign businesses to make the sign or signs for you.

Standard process is to get three quotes and possibly ask each sign manufacturer for a visual representation of what they are selling you.

This is where the aforementioned PAPER design comes in.

What is most likely to happen is that each of the three sign businesses with trace your logo – unless you supply them all with vector format artwork – and superimpose said copied drawing onto a picture showing an artist impression of what the finished product will look like.

As a buyer you will assess the pictures to make sure that YOU are happy they look like what you are looking for, and then assess the quotes on PRICE. This is pretty much standard practice.

The difference in PRICE will most likely be attributed to the three competitors making different profits, as our standard assumption is that ALL sign businesses will use the SAME material and they will ALL make the sign the same way.

This is where things tend to get VERY MURKY.

You see, a sign is not a sign is not a sign. What do I mean. Well on paper the signs ALL look the same or extremely similar. This is paper design. HOWEVER, a sign can be MADE from many different materials, some of which even some sign manufacturers are not aware of. (This may be a topic for another, separate, article.)

So while you the buyer THINK (or ASSUME) that all the signs are made from the same material and will be made the same way, this is not necessarily true.

So what would we as a sign manufacturer recommend?

  1. Make sure you get a breakdown of MATERIALS that will be used when you get the quote. If the quote is too vague, ASK for detailed descriptions. This may seem obvious but is not. Also this is because even some of the same generically named materials – think of KLEENEX when referring to a facial tissue – can have HUGE variances in pricing, because some are meant for internal use only and others are made for long term outdoor use and carry appropriate guarantees, BUT ALSO COME AT substantially HIGHER PRICES.

  2. Try partner with a signage company that can design – preferably one that has experience – to create a CI together with manufacturing specifications. This is what most large businesses do. This has the benefit that when asking for a quote they rightfully EXPECT that they are comparing apples with apples, by not leaving the design to the manufacturer who may operate in a different market and may be so focused on value for money – as in being cheap – that they do not see the LONG TERM cost of the materials they use.

    A simple story best illustrates this. The writer had some plumbing done at his home. When the plumber took the writer to purchase the material the plumber advised what to buy, which is what happened. A few years later there was a problem with the water pressure. A different plumber was called in and the writer was advised that the pipes that were used were to thin and should have been the next size up. The saving at the time was in the region of USD1. The repair cost thousands.

  3. Educate yourself enough to know what different materials do, their expected life and the different costs involved. This can take a long time, but it does not need to. When getting the three quotes, ASK questions. This will generally make the sales people more honest, especially if they know you will be asking their competitors the SAME questions. It will also make the sales people aware that they may need to advise on different materials as this will display THEIR knowledge, making you, the buyer more comfortable and building trust.

If you are in the market for business signs, SignForce is available to assist. We have an experienced design team that are capable of designing made for purpose and made to fit signs.

Contact SignForce now on http://www.signforce.co.za or email info@signforce.co.za or WhatsApp +27 (0)28 558 6413 or call +27 (0)11 440 7525

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

The importance of WHITE SPACE for Signage

Wayfinding sign, wayfinding signs, directory sign, directory signs, modular sign systems,

Way Finding

Howimportantis WHITE SPACEfor Signs?

To make this a little easier to read: How important is WHOTE SPACE for signs?

What is  WHITE SPACE? And why is it important when designing LEGIBLE signs?

It is said that music is less about the notes and more about the space between the notes as this is where the sound we hear resides.

The same thing about white space can be said with regards to legible signage.

Signs are simple. Good signs that are legible and do their intended WORK WELL may be a little less simple.

Good signage needs to deliver on the signs intended purpose. A signs purpose can vary from getting feet into a store to informing people of positions or offers to directing people to a specific location or in a specific direction.

One common factor in all signs if they are to WORK is that they NEED to be EASILY LEGIBLE.

The more ‘visual noise, the less the sign is EASILY LEGIBLE, and in some circumstances, the sign is not legible at all. Visual noise is the equivalent of NOOPENSPACE (or NO OPEN SPACE) around the intended message.

Visual noise can make text or the pictures bleed into each other, making a sign difficult or even impossible to read. Just like a paragraph that is too long (like this one?) a sign that is difficult to read will most likely not achieve its objective.

If you are in the market for SIGNS that WORK at fair prices (read that as not the cheapest, but good value with guaranteed work), then SignForce is here to assist you.

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 SignForce by visiting our website at http://www.signforce.co.za