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

ign

3D Sign

Fabrication Process of 3D sign

In the modern world of instant gratification and digital everything, 3D signs stand out  as they always have.

Traditionally 3D signs were recessed, but with modern materials and new techniques we were and are able to manufacture 3D signs that stand proud.

Then electronic signs come into play. Electronic signs can create the IMPRESSION that they are 3D, however, when viewed form the side, the signs are still FLAT.

One advantage of fabricated 3D signs is that they can be seen from ANY angle – and the 3D is enhanced from the side.

The letter pictured above is an example of a fabricated acrylic sign with opal returns (depth) where the face of the letter will be RED and the sides will be WHITE.

These signs are ALL HAND MADE by skilled artisans.

If you are in the market for 3D signs contact SignForce now on info@signforce.co.za or call SignForce on +27 (0)11 440 7525 or WhatsApp +27 (0)82 558 6413

For more information on SignForce visit the SignForce website at http://www.signforce.co.za

 

What VLAUE does your SIGN and your Signage provider ADD to your BUSINESS?

 

Mambo's Chicken Individual Cut Out Sign

Internally Illuminated 3D cut out sign

What VALUE does your sign add to your business?

If your sign is a MAJOR tool in getting feet into your store (it is!) and thus placing you in the position to SELL to your prospects, what is your sign truly WORTH?

I ask this, not rhetorically, but because all too often we see businesses running on the lines of Best Value – choosing the cheapest supplier – which is great when comparing EXACTLY THE SAME PRODUCTS – but is extremely difficult and can be costly when one is comparing one SERVISE business (signage is a service business) to another.

Yes, when you, the sign buyer, are presented with an artist impression and a quote, you believe that what you are seeing from one service provider is the same as what you are seeing from the competitive service provider. Unfortunately this is SELDOM true. This is because of the nature of signage (meant in every positive way), the range of materials available, the nature (you can call it morals) of the signage company and the reality that even if all else was equal, because signage is as much – if not more – of an art than a science, and most signs are made by hand, every sign will most likely be made differently.

All this aside, even if all the sign company’s you assessed were using the same material, charging the same amount and doing the same job, what would or should YOUR chosen sign company be able to offer YOUR BUSINESS that goes beyond the sign you are looking for.

At SignForce (http://www.signforce.co.za) we have decades of experience in MARKETING and SIGNAGE.

At SignForce we believe in supporting OUR CUSTOMERS, which is one of the reasons SignForce regularly posts pictures and comments of signs we have completed. This may not seem like anything special, we assume ALL sign businesses ‘self promote’ and the self promotion entails ‘SHOWCASING’ THEIR WORK. This is true, but how many sign businesses get more than 80,000 views of a single client’s sign.

If one considers that traditional media base their fees on the number of views one’s insert (advert, post) will receive, how does one measure the added value SignForce is offering our client’s?

If you are looking for signs that WORK, that get feet into your premises, that look good and are value for money, together with the added value of being promoted on the SignForce website, contact SignForce now on +27 (0)11 440 7525 or email info@signforce.co.za

You can find out more about SignForce by visiting http://www.signforce.co.za

Why SignForce!

SignForce Pylon

Any Size pylon or billboard to suite YOUR needs

Why SignForce!

This ambiguous phrase could be a question just as well as an answer – as such, we will both ask and answer the question.

What makes SignForce unique?’

Obviously the people. No two people are alike, so the people make SignForce unique. However, that same argument is applicable to EVERY business. Not only businesses that design, manufacture and install signs.

SignForce’s USP – Unique Selling Proposition – is the experience we at SignForce strive to (and mostly achieve) create for our clients, as well as the fact that SignForce is a SOLUTIONS based SIGANGE business, meaning we seek solutions – whatever they may be – to your visual communication concerns, issues and questions.

SignForce has a fairly unique skill set in that we CAN and DO offer MARKETING advice, and we are fortunate hat said advice, while being largely logical, is also based on and backed by formal qualifications in the marketing and financial fields. It is for this reason that we firmly believe that ANY money spent on signs should be an INVESTMENT. If your sign does not bring in feet or catch people’s attention or achieve whatever it’s desired purpose is, then in our opinion, the expenditure on your sign is a failure.

Yes, we may offer some top left field  idea’s – but these tend to work. Talking to people much more experienced in international marketing than ourselves, it seems the more uncomfortable you feel when you see the proposed idea, the higher the probability that the sign will be noticed – and achieve it’s objective.

Part of SignForce striving to create a positive EXPERIENCE when dealing with us is to provide FAIRLY priced, intelligently made, value for money signs.

Part of creating value for money means that we need to stay ahead of our competitors when it comes to being informed about new materials on the market, and figuring out if and how the new products – or sometimes old products – can be repurposed to give our clients the best possible value.

Call SignForce today to see how we can help you get your name and message out there – our all time favorite activity, as when our client’s expand, it helps SignForce expand. We are definitely long term thinkers, in it for the long game.

Call SignForce today on +27 (0)11 440 7525 or email us on info@signforce.co.za

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

I need a sign and I have a DRILL

Drills and Signs

Using a Drill for a Sign

I have a drill!

But that doesn’t mean I need to, or should, use it!

Life is short. Life can be serious! Business or work is ‘serious”.

But life doesn’t always have to be serious, or at least some things can be amusing.

Life can be made funny when we try to be everything to everyone, or when we try ude the drill – because we have one!

I am all for training, and learning through trial and error, so please, go ahead and play with your drill.

That said, there are times when it is beneficial to allow what we term ‘professionals’ to do the work. What makes one a ‘professional’? Generally hours and hours and days and days leading to years and years of practice. It has been said that in order for one to be truly proficient in your work you need to put in 10,000 hours.

10,000 hours equates to just under 417 days. Broken down into eight hour days that 10,000 hours is 1,250 ‘work’ days- that equates to 62.5 months, or just over FIVE years! Five years of doing the same thing, day in and day out. It is for this reason we can watch a ‘professional’ ‘play’ with a grinder – a tool that must always be respected – as if it is nothing. It is normal for him as he works with it DAILY. And after 20 plus tears, it is second nature.

While employing the professional to do certain work may cost a bit more than doing it oneself, it certainly can make life easier, even if it is less entertaining for the onlooker.

The advantage of allowing professionals – people who do the same tasks over and over and over on a daily basis – to do the work is that, because they do the same work repetitively, they learn what is generally referred to as the ‘tricks of the trade’.

Being a ‘do it yourselfer’ is admirable and great – and I believe is important, possibly because I am one myself – and it can even save one money when done correctly, but the university of life is not free, or even cheap, so expect to make some costly mistakes along the way. These ‘mistakes’ are the best way to learn, but they are often costly.

If you would like to manufacture a sign or install a sign save yourself time and possibly even money by calling #SignForce – the professionals.

For advice on signs or to order signs contact SignForce now on +27 (0)11 440 7525 or info@signforce.co.za

You can find out more about SignForce by visiting http://signforce.co.za

 

Cut Brass Letters & Brass Signs

Brass Signs

Solid Brass Signs & Cut Brass Letters

Brass is a beautiful, natural, metal. Long lasting (outdoors) and it weathers exceptionally well. It is for this reason that Brass #Signs are considered to when one wants CLASSIS, timeless signs.

Cut Brass signs are timeless. They can create an impression of CLASS like very few other signs.

For Brass signs – whether they be plaques or cut letters, SignForce can assist

In the attached picture the letters and backing pins (allowing the signs to be spaced off the wall)   were ALL specifically engineered to get the sign to look like it does. Classy, Timeless and Simple, with a contrast between the BLACK backing wall and the ‘GOLD’ sign.

SignForce have been in the business of signs – what we refer to as the “Magic of Signs” business – magic because a sign can transform a warehouse to a store or a plain, boring wall to a place of interest. Also magic because signs are not always what they seem. What you see is very seldom what you get. It is not ONLY the face of the sign but what goes INTO the signs that makes SignForce’s signs MAGIC!

To get signs NOW contact SignForce on +27 (0)11 440 7525 or email info@signforce.co.za

For more information on how SignForce can serve you visit http://www.signforce.co,za

SignForce – supporting SMALL BUSINESS and COMMUNITY!

As SignForce is a small business, run along family nd community principles, while believing in community and in profits.

SignForce  need to make profits in order to support small businesses (we are fairly priced, but are not a charity), especially businesses in and around our community. The support SignForce can offer is especially relevant in theses tough, turbulent and uncertain times.

How we at SignForce support our community businesses is by offering small and start up (new)  businesses professional signs with exceptional advice and payment options that can assist them with their cashflow – generally by allowing the business to pay a deposit and then allowing the signs to be paid off, generally over a couple of months.

If you are a new or small or struggling business who believes that SIGNAGE will help improve your business, but you are concerned about the cost, you SHOULD be contacting SignForce NOW!!!

Contact SignForce now on +27(0)11 440 7525 or email arnold@signforce.co.za and mention SMALL BUSINESS SUPPORT in your subject line.

 

When marketing is a priority, SIGN!

#SIGN – refers to a NUMBER of marketing tools in a business (as well as a person’s signature – but for the purpose of this article we are not interested in that).

So when business is SLOW – SELL, SELL, SELL, or maybe put slightly differently, do your best to MARKET and SELL your product(s) and services. This is especially true in shrinking economies.

Marketing during difficult times is one of the most counter intuitive acts that can be instituted, but history has shown if a business can survive or even grow in shrinking environments, they are most likely to thrive if or when the market turns.

SIGNS assist with both marketing and sales. Signs do this by (1) acting as a silent sales person (2) the silent sales person comes as a once off expense (for a period of between 12 and 60 months) by (3) making your product or business visible (4) potentially 24 hours a day while (5) allowing clients and prospective clients to see where you are and that you exist.

The image above is for ROGER WOLFSON & ASSOCIATES, a Johannesburg based Prosthetist, who, since he decided to display his wares on LARGE signs in front of his business has been more visible and thus getting more inquiries for his products.

If the 5 reasons above – and the Roger Wolfson example –  are not enough to convince you that your business needs a SIGN, contact Arnold on +27 (0)82 558 6413 or arnold@signforce.co.za and ask for case studies that show where and how SIGNS are quite possibly one of the best investments your business can make, especially in troubled times.

Secret #Signage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Regards

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

http://www.signforce.co.za

contact us on info@signforce.co.za

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