By Zarna Feltham
In today’s world, the choice of channels available to marketing and advertising professionals has never been more broad. While television, radio, social media, magazines and billboards may be perhaps the most obvious avenues for brand messaging, they are certainly not the only options.
Signage is one of the oldest forms of marketing in the world, and continues to be a powerful branding asset in modern times. With a wide variety of styles and applications, signage can be used in a number of ways to get a message out into the world and reach the right people in the right locations.
Let’s look at some of the ways that signage can form part of a wider marketing strategy…
An oft-overlooked branding opportunity might be the signage adorning the place of business itself. The fascia sign over the door needn’t be only a simple logo, but could potentially feature any other necessary branding materials – additional imagery, slogans, messages, contact details, or anything else.
These signs feature not only the name of the business, but also a tagline, logo and phone number. Image copyright: Medash Signs
Particularly if the building or outlet is in a popular public space, this type of branding can be highly effective at reaching very large numbers of people on a daily basis. Unlike a billboard advertisement – which has a relatively short lifespan dictated by media provider’s calendar – building signage will continue to communicate your message many years after its installation (which, considering it is a one-time expense, can make it a highly cost-effective form of marketing).
It may also be possible to increase the amount of signage around the business premises – in addition to the standard fascia sign, there may be an opportunity to add roof signs, free-standing monolith signage at the front steps, or an installation on the rear of the building – ensuring that branding and marketing messages are conveyed to visitors and passers-by regardless of the angle of their approach.
Of course, this type of marketing is less well-suited to highly specific advertising campaigns of limited durations, and is better utilised for long-term messaging of fundamental company slogans and values.
A business vehicle can essentially become a billboard on wheels. Image copyright: Medash Signs
If the company already owns and operates vans or trucks, these same vehicles can be thought of as a blank canvas for all kinds of marketing messages. Long-lasting vinyl graphics can be applied to any vehicle to transform it into a striking mobile billboard – or to a fleet for a much wider presence!
Vehicle signage in many cases simply leverages and makes the most of the equipment that a company already owns, and is a one-time expense that can lead to multiple years’ worth of consumer exposure in many locations. This makes it one of the most cost-effective forms of marketing possible, and the vinyl applications can be easily removed and updated (perhaps every year or so in line with new campaigns).
Vehicle signage can even be used as a marketing tactic for companies that don’t have their own vehicles. Many truck fleet operators today rent out the space on the sides of their vehicles for advertising by third parties (a tactic that is popular with some e-commerce retailers, as it can seem to give them a real-world presence they might not otherwise have).
By designing a bold and striking vehicle campaign, marketers can make use of an oft-overlooked branding channel – and leveraging one of the only forms of advertising able to reach travellers who might be out in their cars in the middle of long stretches of motorway.
If a company is attending a convention or trade show, it’s important not to scrimp on the signage – custom banners and stands are great opportunities to get your messaging across.
The show floor might prove to be the location of the first ever meeting with a very important client or business contact, and first impressions are crucial. A basic booth with no special presentation is unlikely to impress anybody, but well-designed and professionally produced stands or signage may speak volumes about the professionalism of the company.
As with many other forms of signage, exhibition signs can feature much more than a simple logo and can carry all kinds of marketing messages, reinforce brand identity, or further the reach of a particular campaign. Many trade shows and conventions are very well attended, and booth signage can be an excellent way of reaching very large numbers of targeted visitors in a relatively cost-effective way.
As with building signage, you’re not always limited to just the one sign or banner – by adding additional and more striking signage in the form of free-standing elements and installations to the company’s space on the show floor, you can increase the overall impact of the booth and create more opportunities for marketing at the same time.
Signage is ubiquitous
We might say that signage can be found just about everywhere in today’s urban landscape. It can be presented in the form of street furniture, window applications, or appear on the islands in the middle of roundabouts; sometimes, it might be a person’s entire job to stand in a public place and act as the custodian of an eye-grabbing sign on a stick.
We live in a world full of signage, and yet we sometimes overlook it as an avenue for marketing. With many of the world’s advertisers fighting over social media engagements and space in magazines, the role of signs in a marketing campaign is easy to miss.
Whether your goal is increased brand recognition and equity in general terms, or a more focused campaign designed to push a particular product or message, there might well be a place in your strategy for signage in one of its many forms.
We’ve touched on a handful of the forms that signs can take, but there are so many more. Signage has been around since the dawn of business and has stood the test of time as an effective marketing strategy because it works – and will continue to work for a long time yet.
Zarna Feltham is the Production Manager at Medash Signs, which for over forty years has provided commercial signs throughout the UK – offering a wide variety of signage types for a broad mix of businesses across the country.