Do FIRST IMPRESSIONS count?

Cut out, illuminated reception sign

Illuminated reception sign on a corporate blue backing with halo illumination and a cut out RECEPTION sign

How many chances do you get to create a first impression

Picture these two scenario’s.

Scenario 1.

You are introduced to a person who is wearing shorts and a t-shirt and looks like a billboard for a tatoo parlor. You cannot see a single square millimeter of uninked skin. The person is introduced as a marketing genius who runs a multi million marketing organization. Before they open their mouth, what is your FIRST IMPRESSION? Is this the same impression you would have if the person looked differently?

Scenario 2.

You are introduced to a person who is dressed in formal business attire. They look well groomed. They stand proud. They are introduced the same way as the person in scenario 1 above.

From your FIRST IMPRESSION which person do you think you are more likely to listen to? Which person would you think is more likely to impress you? Which person will you JUDGE more, no matter how inaccurately or unfairly?

This may seem like a loaded question – because it is. That said, it is also a true ‘experiment’ I was a party to.

An individual who I had great respect for introduced the above two people to a group that I was a member of. They were both introduced as marketing experts. They both gave a five minute talk about FIRST IMPRESSIONS and marketing. They were then taken out the room and the audience were asked to vote on which person made the most sense.

Any guess as to who was seen as the expert? I will tell you. It was the individual dressed in formal business attire.

Once the votes were counted we were re-introduced to both parties again. This time THEY did the introductions. The tatoo’d individual was in fact a marketing expert and business person who ran a multi national business.

The second individual was in fact a homeless person who was ‘coached’ on what to say but had no clue whatsoever on how to market anything – not even themselves, as one has to assume if they could market themselves they would not necessarily have been homeless.

The difficulty changing the perceptions of the group after their FIRST IMPRESSIONS was palpable. People believed that the two individuals were lying the second time around. People has already made up THEIR MINDS and this is what they were going to BELIEVE – REGARDLESS OF THE FACTS.

Why am I mentioning all this when it comes to SIGNAGE? Can there be any relevance?

To me the common ground is glaringly obvious.

If your SIGNAGE is damaged, non-existent, dirty or simply OLD FASHIONED (and you are in a ‘modern’ business), your sign may well be creating an incorrect, inappropriate and misleading FIRST IMPRESSION.

Imagine you are a seller of LEADING EDGE TECHNOLOGY and your sign is old fashioned bulbs on an old, rusted frame (picture a long closed, old style movie house) how could your sign possibly convey the message of modern technology? And once that FIRST IMPRESSIOIN is made, what would it take to ALTER your prospective client’s first impression?

A business that understands FIRST IMPRESSIONS is BOLTGAS INDUSTRIAL MINING SUPPLIES. This well run and managed mining supply business is in the process of creating VERY IMPRESSIVE first impressions. From the moment one enters the premises you get the impression of a well run business. The modern reception area is warm and inviting with the wall signage and blue desk cover with illuminated signage making one feel at home – and this is only the reception area, where the signage and blue tinting on the windows create a feeling of warmth and professionalism.

Reception signage and window tinting by #SignForce can change any old area to an inviting, professional space that is welcoming to all that enter, especially unknowing prospective clients.

For reception signage and window tinting contact #SignForce now on +27 (0)11 440 7525 or +27(0)82 558 6413 or email us on info@signforce.co.za

For further information on SignForce visit our 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

Anyone Can Make a Sign!

 

Illuminated Signs

Internally Illuminated Sign

Like us, I am sure many of our competitors have heard client’s make the comment that ANYONE CAN MAKE A SIGN. In fact SignForce have seen it more than once where what we would view as prospective clients call us in t get technical details so they can make their own signs.

While, at some level, it is true that almost anyone – literally anyone – can make a sign – yes, even the drawing your two year old draws using wax crayons can be considered a sign – in order to make a TECHNICAL signs that WORK – with work being defined as a sign that achieves it’s objective or objectives – may take a little more practice, experience and expertise.

As with all spectator sports, it always looks very easy to get it 100% right 100% of the time. That is the beauty of being a spectator. When, for example,  one faces the likes of Ivan Lendl on a tennis court – yes been there at Flushing Meadows – I can assure you the reality is WAY MORE SCARY!

Because things are not always as they seem in real life – and we certainly don’t know what we don’t know – if you are looking for a sign that makes your business STAND OUT, that will WORK and that is COMPETITIVELY PRICED, SignForce is the team to talk to.

With MANY years experience in SIGNAGE and general MARKETING, SignForce can offer you unique input on what sign should work best for your business and your environment, a skill and benefit to you that differentiates SignForce from many of our competitors.

Contact SignForce not on +27 (0)11 440 7525 or info@signforce.co.za.

You can also get more information on SignForce by visiting http://www.signforce.co.za

1 Classie Africa – 3D fabricated sign on backing board

Image

1 Classie Africa

Like many businesses affected by Covid and the subsequent lock down in South Africa, 1 Classie Africa has to have been severely affected, especially their solon’s.

The name 1 Classie Africa is very appropriate. Not only because their locations are spectacular, homely and welcoming, but also because of how welcome the staff – many on training – make all who enter feel. This businesses is impressive!

1 Classie Africa impressed me both for the way they operate AND their business model. Paying them a visit will give you so much more information than any story I can will.

If you are in Braamfontien or Joburg city center and want to get a hair do, nails sorted or simply pop in to see what I am referring to, 1 Classie Africa (http://www.1ca.co.za) is worth the stop.

In case you are wondering, this promotion is unsolicited. The only potential benefit to #SignForce is if 1 Classie Africa decide to allow SignForce to manufacture and install more signs for them.

The sign in the accompanying photo was manufactured and installed by #SignForce.

For classy signs that help promote your business and get feet through your door, contact SignForce on info@signforce.co.za or +27 (0)11 440 7525

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.

 

Can SignForce illuminated signs aid area security?

SignForce illuminated signs and possible area security

Having just watched an episode of #ReturningTheFavor on FaceBook I was reminded of how crime often feels like a universal issue. In the town of Engelwood in the USA more than 2,000 shootings were reported in 2018.

Now SignForce South Africa is far from Engelwood, (in fact our main office is in Johannesburg, South Africa), many of thousands of kilometers away. That said, there are similar issues occurring in pockets around South Africa, some being so bad, especially around Cape Town, that the army has been called in to maintain some semblance of security.

The issue of crime and some of it’s causes (amongst them being political nonsense, lack of jobs and the lack of well illuminated area’s) got me thinking about how #signs, and specifically signs manufactured by SignForce, assist more than the business that has paid for the sign, but also the surrounding community by illuminating often very dark area’s.

At SignForce we generally follow the rule that MORE IS BETTER, so more light is better!, as it lights up the sign, making the message BRIGHT, LOUD and CLEAR, while at the same time providing ambient light (and it’s accompanying security) to the immediate area.

If you are interested in attracting more attention to your business, and at the same time helping you community by bringing some light to any dark area’s, we at SignForce are here to assist, so feel free to contact us on +27 (0)11 440 7525 or email us at info@signforce.co.za

Are all Sign Manufacturers the same?

Are all #sign #manufacturers the same or is there a difference between one sign manufacturer and another?

As with all businesses, every sign business needs to maximize profits in order to survive.

Unlike many businesses, and because signs are custom made, and because materials differ, it sometimes happens that ‘cheaper’ short cuts are available. Short cuts can include using different – read as cheaper – (materials which generally have a shorter life span), or manufacturing techniques that are time saving, (but often at the trade off of longevity of the sign).

An example is a sign we recently inspected where the returns (the sides or part of the sign or letter that creates depth) of the letters had ‘popped’ so that the curves (around the O and a) had returned to their natural state and became straight. This means that over time the face of the 3D letter will fall off, which is what is happening with this sign.

Generally the returns of fabricated, #3D letters are heated and bent. They are then ‘chemically welded’ so that they retain the new shape. Saving time by not heating the returns can save money and get the job done faster. Using less chemicals may also result in some, almost insignificant, cost savings. Both will almost certainly also substantially reduce the life expectancy of the #3D sign.

While making the cheap initial purchase could possibly still be a worthwhile purchase, the adage ‘let the buyer beware’ is certainly worth remembering as in the long run (over five to ten years) the cost to replace broken or lost letters tends to be significantly higher than the cost to have it done properly up front. And that cost excludes the potential for negative press if, for example, an element of a sign breaks and hits someone or something.

For a quote on quality #3D signs by an experienced sign company that guarantee our work, contact SignForce at info@signforce.co.za or +(27) (0)11 440-7524 or  +(27) (0)11 440-7525

Business Signs that are Too Good To Be True

Reading an article in Fortune (European edition,  2 February 2015, number 1) about “The fund that was too good to be true” – a story about a financial firm that was bound to make investors rich because they had discovered a “new” matrix to predict and win from market movements.
Schemes like this  have been around since the beginning of time and tend to thrive because of people’s ego and greed.

I try to teach my children and students to question everything they are told and read and see – including what I tell them and to question the content AS WELL AS motives and validity of information, as I believe this is the only way to satisfy oneself that what you are being “sold” is true and valid, so you are more likely to ‘get’ what you are ‘sold’.

That got me thinking about the Latin phrase “Caveat emptor” defined by Wikipedia as “kævɛɑːt ˈɛmptɔr/ is Latin for “Let the buyer beware”[1] (from caveat, “may he beware”, the subjunctive of cavere, “to beware” + emptor, “buyer”).” – and had me wondering,  just how informed should or does a buyer need to be – especially when purchasing large ticket items –  and should buyers need to worry themselves about the make up if the goods (in this case business signs) they purchase – as long as the goods meet the specifications and fulfill the needs of the client.

All this thinking came about because of a sign we at #SignForce are refurbishing a large, high ticket business sign.  When we opened the sign the internal workings and ‘creative’ system that got the sign illuminated were ingenious,  however, if the client had been more aware that the sign could not be maintained, as well as of the make up of the sign, I have to question if they would have been happy to pay the full fee for, or even accepted, the sign.

At #SignForce we believe in and strive to educate,  be transparent and working with you,  our client,  to make sure you get what we have sold.  We are not perfect so we don’t always get it right, but that is what we strive for.

For more on how #SignForce can assist you with your large and small sign requirements,  call us on + 27 ( 0 ) 11 440 7425 or email david@signforce.co.za or arnold@signforce.co.za

How do I choose a sign supplier #2?

Illuminated signs

The same sign during the day and at night

Choosing a sign supplier #2, or how do you know what you are getting when you decide on your sign supplier?

I recently saw this sign at night – there is a photo attached. Big deal. I see this sign often – during the day, BUT, during the day the sign is very different.

I must say up front that SignForce did not make this sign. I am not making that statement because the sign is poorly made or is an example of a poorly made sign, quite the contrary. On the number of occasions I have seen this sign I have generally been impressed by it’s size and the seemed quality of it’s manufacture.

Seeing the sign at night got me thinking (again) about the components that go into the manufacturing of a sign, and the resultant costs associated with the manufacture and sale of the sign.

With signage it is ‘sometimes’ possible to compare “apples” with “apples”, especially when the signs are simple – say a Chromadek sign decorated with cut vinyl, yet even then the quality and life expectancy of the cut vinyl decoration can vary from six months to five to seven years, with the longer life vinyl having a higher input cost than the short term vinyl. The same applies when looking at outdoor digital prints, as not all inks or full colour printers are created equal, with some inks having longer life expectancy than others. And all this is for ‘simple’ signs.

When signs get more complicated – be it because the sign is illuminated or fabricated or on pins or painted or has been through one or more of a number of processes that result in the final finished product that you see – the situation can get exceptionally murky when comparing one supplier to another.

In order to keep this article short(ish), this article I will only cover illumination. I will cover fabrication – materials and processes, letters on pins and bonding components, paints – the various types and processes, and any other elements in separate articles.

Looking at the attached photo’s you can see that during the day the sign looks great. It is big and bold and tells any potential clients where the store is. It projects a professional, clean image and fits the available space well.

Looking at the same sign at night, when the lights are on, a lot of the professionalism that the sign projects during the day is lost. This is because at night, when illuminated the sign looks dull and dirty, and for me personally, being able to count the tubes inside means that it is most likely I will not actually be looking at the sign or it’s intended message, but I am more likely to spend my time getting the subliminal message that the sign, and thus the business it represents, is ‘cheap’ and dirty, and very likely not going to make my visit pleasurable.

Now these messages are generally not conscious, but they are subliminal (unconscious), which possibly makes them even stronger than the conscious, intended messages that the sign was designed to project. Now it is very easy to say the sign company is at fault for the sign looking bad (and they should possibly carry a portion of the responsibility), or to say that the store staff and management are ‘obviously’ unaware or unobservant or uncaring so they should be responsible, but in reality the staff either see the sign daily and are not noticing the progressive deterioration and / or the sign was ‘like that’ when they started working there or they may leave work before the sign comes on. [All positive arguments why businesses should enter into sign maintenance contracts with businesses like SignForce where we will independently and objectively check on the sign at regular, predetermined intervals, with reports and photo’s been provided.]

While it is easy to ‘blame’ all and sundry for the deterioration of the sign, the truth is that the sign will deteriorate over time, and it is a combination of ALL the factors mentioned above – as well as a number of other possible factors – that will lead to the sign looking as it does at night.

Now getting back to the issue at hand, deciding on a sign supplier, some of the ‘obvious’, visible (to sign suppliers) issues are that there are not enough florescent tubes and, as importantly, especially over a period of time, the placement of the said tubes.

In order for a sign to illuminate evenly so that the tubes cannot be seen three factors need to be considered. 1. The proximity of the tubes to the face of the sign. Tubes that are less than 70 mm have a great possibility of being visible, unless 2. The number of tubes is high. If there are tubes right next to the face, and the tubes are all almost touching each other, the light will be great, but the cost will be VERY high. 3. The third factor is the placement of the tubes. While it may be possible to use less tubes if the tubes are placed vertically, and there are times when there is no alternative but to place the tubes vertically, the reality is that the tubes run off gas, and when not in use, the gas will fall to the bottom of the tube. Over time, as the tube gets older, the gas no longer ignites as efficiently or brightly as when new. While this will happen to al tubes, it happens to vertical tubes noticeably faster.

It seems obvious to me, and I will thus assume all, that the number of tubes has a direct impact on the final cost of the sign. Since most businesses are cost sensitive, it is very likely that a supplier like SignForce, who as a matter of course, use more electronic over magnetic ballasts and place all tubes horizontally, will come in more costly than a supplier that uses magnetic ballasts and places the tubes vertically. As a rule SignForce also place tubes no more than 150 mm apart.

While electronic ballasts may cost more initially, over the five year expected life of a sign, there is a far greater possibility that a magnetic ballast failing, and an even greater possibility of the manual ‘starter’ failing, so in reality the additional cost of replacing and maintaining the electrics at least once over the life of the ‘cheaper’ sign should be costed into the initial costs, but this is seldom done, if ever.

As mentioned earlier, placing the tubes vertically may mean that the initial outlay for sign will be lower, but once again, the cost of maintenance, and almost unmeasurable reputation cost also need to be factored in.

Also as mentioned earlier, SignForce did not manufacture or install this sign, so without any knowledge of the client’s budget, or the size of the sign, I can only assume that SignForce may have used somewhere around the same number of tubes as have been used, but simply placing them horizontally should have resulted in a longer life of the tubes and thus better night visibility of the sign.

If you are in the market for professional looking illuminated signs that can be considered an investment in marketing, contact SignForce now on info@signforce for advice and / or an obligation free quote