How do I know what sign would work best for my business?

How do I know what sign would work best for my business?

This is not a simple question to answer.

What will work best for one business may not work best for another business or even a similar business in a different location.

When deciding what sign or signs will work best for your business, it is worth getting input from a signage professional (we have a few at SignForce) who can advise on the different types of signs while taking heed of your budget and what you intend for your sign to achieve.

A general guideline is that your sign needs to STAND OUT, be VISIBLE and convey your intended MESSAGE in a manner that will make the sign achieve it’s intended objective.

If you are a retail outlet, your sign requirements are generally also be dictated by your landlord, especially in malls or shopping centers.

As a general rule illuminated signs work better when the light projects through the face of the sign, as opposed to the sign being HALO illuminated, where the light is reflected of the backing BEHIND the sign, especially if the sign is required to be read from a distance.

In addition to location and landlord requirements, what sign will work best for your business will depend on (1) your budget, (2) where the signs are to be located – for example not all retail outlets allow for the sign to project from the outlet, (3) what message you want the sign to deliver and (4) how far from the signs the reader needs to read the sign.

For a no obligation consultation to assist you to find what signs will best fit your budget and work best for your business contact SignForce now on 0861 744 636 or +27 (0)11 440 7525 or info@signforce.co.za

Who advises your business on signs?

Who advises you on the signs you need?

I was recently asked to meet a prospect at their business premises where the brief was so vague that it is almost impossible to quote.

While that is a common challenge – especially for internet inquiries – it is seldom the case when we meet face to face on site. However, that is not the issue. What is more important is that the client had recently renovated their premises, and because they were so intimately involved, they did not seem to notice that the doorway from their reception to the offices had a step which is not only almost invisible, it is also such a strange height that someone is bound to trip over the step.

While the client HAS requested a DISCLAIMER – something that EVERY BUSINESS should have, a disclaimer on it’s own may not cover the landlord when someone injures themselves because the landlord has been made aware of the danger of the step, and if they do not protect their staff and visitors, they could be liable in the event of an injury.

Having a professional sign consultant come in to advise may not mean that all the bases are covered, but at worst it is a fresh pair of eyes looking at your premises, and at best you may find that the advise you get saves you money, and even more importantly, if the signs do what we at SignForce believe they are supposed to do – be a great marketing tool meant to attract more prospects to your business so you can sell more products and services, you will have benefited greatly.

At SignForce we believe it is worth paying for the advise of a professional so that you don’t feel compelled to use the supplier to provide the signs, while still getting the maximum benefit.

At SignForce we believe in offering advise, it is how we have built our reputation over the past 15 years, so if the market for signs that are intended to help you improve your business, email arnold@signforce.co.za or david@signforce.co.za and let us help you grow your business.

http:www.signforce.co.za

Is SIGN QUALITY more, as or less important than PRICE

Is quality dead and should it be buried?

Riding the emotional roller coaster that is life, especially in the soft economy that we are currently experiencing in South Africa in 2014, I have been wondering more and more about whether people are becoming so desensitized and expecting of poor service and poor quality that they are simply no longer prepared to BUY QUALITY and would rather look at the short term cost.

At SignForce we focus on giving advice and delivering the best quality signs we can. When we offer advice it is because we believe the signs we recommend will IMPROVE OUR CLIENT’S BUSINESS – and we want our clients to GROW so we can grow with them.

There have been occasions when we have advised against our client’s buying certain signs because we look at our clients business as our own, and if we feel we would not spend OUR money on a specific sign, then we advise our clients AGAINST spending their money.

In general we have found this works for SignForce because it entrenches SignForce’s integrity and ensures that the advice we offer is in our client’s best interest. We are very aware that we are not always correct, but we do bring a number of years of marketing studies and practical experience to the table, so more often than not our advice WORKS.

Of course going to site to assess and offer the advice comes at a cost, and more and more of late we are finding that prospects are looking to us for the advice yet not going with SignForce for the final manufacture and installation of the signs because they can show our designs – designs which incorporate our advice, experience and expertise – to our competitors who may use different materials and then charge less for the final product.

Yes, it is true we do charge a small premium for our advice and expertise, but more importantly we charge because we only believe in using QUALITY products, and we believe our advise and products will earn the small premium we charge back to our clients over and over and over again. We also honor our guarantees, we carry insurance and we pay our staff a fair, living wage. We also build in a small fee because we are very aware that if we called ourselves a DESIGN or BRAND SPECIALIST company this would be the norm, but for some reason the sign industry’s design aspect – one of our highest costs – seems to be viewed and expected as a ‘free service’. Any idea’s on how we can change this perception will be greatly appreciated.

That we lose jobs and long standing clients to competitors who do not necessarily use the same structural designs or materials we do but DO come in at lower prices makes me wonder if we are not nurturing our relationships enough or if our prospects are simply becoming more and more price sensitive to the point where they are prepared to invest in the same sign more than once over the expected life of the sign simply to save a buck now. (SignForce have seen time and time again the HIGHER long term cost of using lower cost materials which is why we do not).  Are SignForce in fact farting against thunder by believing in quality and service? Does the market dictate that we join the masses and ignore quality?

If you are in the market for professional looking, quality signs, or simply require advice [you are prepared to pay for] on how best to get your business seen – email arnold@signforce.co.zaor david@signforce.co.zausing the subject line: ADVICE PLEASE and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

http:www.signforce.co.za

What type of sign does my business need?

What kind of sign does my business need?

One of the most important decisions that you can make about your business signs is ‘What  kind of sign’ is going to be best for your business taking into account:

(a) what the sign is intended to achieve,

(b) your businesses location and

(c) your budget.

While it may seem ‘obvious’ that as your sign supplier I want you to spend as much as possible on your sign, it is important for me to remember that it is not about me, but rather what is best for your business and from SignForce’s perspective, our future relationship as your business grows and prospers.

I find it is ALWAYS best to start with knowing and understanding what your sign needs to achieve.

If, for example, your sign is intended solely to make a statement that YOU as a business “HAVE ARRIVED”, then an excessively large sign may work and do well to get your desired message across. If, on the other hand you want people to see your sign as an invitation to visit and come into your premises, then the said large sign may result in you spending more than was necessary, and may be costing you business by dissuading potential customers from entering your premises because the sign is not the correct type of sign for your intended target market.

Generally signs will be used to invite, inform, direct and persuade potential readers.

An example of a sign that ‘invites‘ could be a store front sign that is intended to ‘invite’ the reader into your store. Because the sign is intended to invite the reader into your store, the sign needs to be able to stand out from the surrounding signs and environment. For example, if your store sells fast food in the fast food area of a shopping mall, and your competitors all have beautifully decorated illuminated signs, unless your sign is equally beautiful and illuminated, possibly with an additional dimension like flashing lights or a lifestyle picture showing someone enjoying one of your meals, the chances are that your potential clients will overlook your sign and your business, thus potentially costing you money. While ‘invitational’ signs can be decorated Chromadek (treated metal), this is often not allowed by shopping centers, and may not achieve your desired effect. Often fabricated,3D signs are used for invitational signs.

 An example of a sign intended to ‘inform‘ is a street sign or a warning sign. These signs are intended to ‘inform ‘ drivers of impending dangers or of changes in road conditions or of upcoming situations, such as a guarded intersection, an unguarded intersection, a traffic light or hidden access to the road. Information signs are usually large and generally made from the most cost effective material that will achieve the objective of getting the desired message across while at the same time having the desired life span, which depends a lot on the climatic conditions where the sign is to be installed.

 Signs that are intended to ‘direct‘ include motorway and highway signs – such as directing readers to keep in the right lane to go to Timbuktu and keep left to go to Cape Town. Directional signs, like directory signs, also assist readers to get to where they are looking to go. Like information signs, Directional signs are usually made from the most cost effective material that will achieve the objective of getting the desired message across while at the same time having the desired life span, which depends a lot on the climatic conditions where the sign is to be installed. Directional signs, especially those that are indoors, also offer the opportunity for designers to integrate the signs into the aesthetics of the building and office environment, so the range of possible materials is large and could include wood, plastics, metal or glass, or a combination of all of these.

Directional and directory signs can begin doing their intended work when entering a premises – with say a sign reading RECEPTION with an arrow directing people to the reception, followed by a directory board in the reception – with the directory board informing the reader which wing, floor and room the reader is intending to visit.

Lastly an example of a sign intended to ‘persuade‘ could be a in-store poster or a billboard sign showing a product, such as a sign showing how a specific brand of washing powder will wash whiter and brighter than a competing brand. The message is intended to persuade the reader to buy and try the advertised product.

All of the above must take into consideration your budget as well as what return is expected – measured in terms of any of the following: number of feet, increase sales, decreased complaints, decreased incidents and accidents, or a combination of all of these. The most common upmarket signs that are used to persuade tend to have a metal (aluminum) frame with the printed message printed onto a gloss paper or vinyl. The material used would depend on the look and feel of the store as well as the intended target market.

By now I am sure you understand that while there may be a standard, off the shelf solution to your question as to “what type of sign does my business need”, there are many variations, answers and opinions to the answer the question. For this reason, as well as all the reasons given above, or if you are unsure of what sign you are looking for, or which sign would best achieve your intended objective, calling a SignForce sign consultant to get an expert opinion can reduce your stress and help you make an informed decision.

If you are in the market for professional looking signs at “FAIR VALUE”, and would like advice on how best to project your business’s image while considering any funds you spend on marketing and signs as an investment, please contact the writer at arnold@signforce.co.za or david@signforce.co.za and use the subject line: ADVICE PLEASE and we will gladly assist and advise you.

Would you employ this person?

Who represents you and your business

Would you trust this sales person with your future?

Would you employ this person?

Some of you may know who the person is, but WHO he is is not actually relevant for my point. in fact, you could quite easily replace the picture with one of any similar uneducated person who is know for making comments that make them look stupid!

But wait! For me, that is where the problem lies.

If you were the employer of this person, that person has thus de facto become a representative of your business, and thus an extension of YOU!

Imagine the impression that makes on your hard won client, when the employed (or elected if you will) person starts interacting with or talking to your client.

That ‘first impression’ is created on first sight (or sound), and if that first impression is a poor one, it could take forever to change that perception.

At SignForce we are very aware of the impression we create, and while we unfortunately don’t always get it right, we do continually work on making sure that our work, our products and our staff represent SignForce in a manner that we are proud to own.

If you are in the market for professional looking signs at “FAIR VALUE, and would like advice on how best to project your business’s image while making any funds you spend on marketing and signs an investment, please contact the writer at arnold@signforce.co.za or david@signforce.co.za and use the subject line: ADVICE PLEASE and we will get back to you.

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Is this sign an effective sales device?

What’s wrong with this picture?

Is this sign an effective marketing and or sales device?

I was driving behind this truck and saw this fantastic signage. Since I was parked behind the truck at a red light, I had the time to read the sign. It was interesting, as we use a few of the advertised products. Then it dawned on me – there is a MAJOR MARKETING ERROR here.

Care to hazard a guess as to what the error is? (ok, it is an error in my opinion!)

To me the error is that while the pictures are great, high resolution pictures, and the text as well as the pictures are clearly legible from a fair distance, I have NO CLUE what the name of the business is, and worse, I have ABSOLUTELY NO MEANS of tracking or contacting the business.

Please, pleaseplease people. When signing, it is ‘nice’ to put your name on the sign, especially if your name does not reflect your business. If your name DOES reflect your business it is slightly more important to put it on the sign. This sign is fantastic in that it CLEARLY STATES what the business DOES, but what good is that when there are no contact details?

The rear of a vehicle is generally smaller than the sides, yet it is also the signage that is most likely to be read, because it is more likely that traffic will travel behind, and possibly stop behind the vehicle, allowing for some decent reading time, as opposed to the sign flashing past on the side of a vehicle.

For expert advice on signs, how they are a fantastic marketing tool and how they can be viewed as an investment, call us at SignForce. We have the qualifications and experience across multiple media to be called marketing professionals.

If you are in the market for professional looking signs at “FAIR VLAUE”, and would like advice on how best to project your business’s image while making any funds you spend on marketing and signs an investment, please contact the writer at arnold@signforce.co.zaor david@signforce.co.za and use the subject line: ADVICE PLEASE and we will get back to you.

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What happens when signs lie?

 

When marketers get carried away with their enthusiasm

I find it fascinating when marketers get so carried away with their own enthusiasm that they clean forget to tell the truth.  Anyone want to hazard a guess as to how this one is possible?

As a general rule, even if you are trying to be funny, a sign – or any marketing claim – should be honest, or at least have a link to reality.  Although outlandish claims can be used, and viewed as humorous, the humor is seldom conveyed when used in a static media, such as this sign.   Unfortunately signs like these can have a negative effect that entirely eliminate any possible benefits that could be gained from erecting the sign in the first place.

For advice on signs that get your intended message across, contact arnold@signforce.co.za or david@signforce.co.za and use the subject line: ADVICE PLEASE and we will gladly get back to you

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Why business signs make good financial sense in the modern world

Why business signs make good financial sense in the modern world

There is an old sign adage that reads: “ A business without a sign is a sign of NO BUSINESS”, and believe it or not, it is as true today as it was a hundred years ago – possibly even more so.

OK, before you all shoot me down, let me elaborate.

Yes, in the modern world, I have to concede that not every business needs a sign, because some businesses simply NEVER see clients. Cyber businesses are one such example.

However, being the human animals that we are, most people still visit stores, not only for the social interaction, but also be cause they want to TOUCH and FEEL the merchandise they are going to purchase. It is an almost primal need to touch, in order to see better. If you are a parent, simply think of how often you have to tell your toddler that they don not need to “touch to see”! (The truth is they DO! We all do)

Because of the desire to touch to see, shops, stores, supermarkets and the like are still going to be around for the foreseeable future, and if they want people to visit them, they have to stand out from the competition. One way to achieve this is to possibly have a bigger, and certainly have a BETTER sign.

BETTER in signage generally refers to LARGER, although this is not always the case. Sometimes a simple sign can make a far bolder statement than the larger, illegible sign that is screaming at you.

In the modern world us human animals are still pretty much unchanged in our habits and nature, and as such we need to remember that while internet marketing, social media, Google and the like are all fantastic tools, they are just that – TOOLS! Like a good electrician, who will have more than a hammer and a set of screwdrivers in their toolbox, a good modern marketer should keep in mind that even if your internet marketing gets the client’s to the shopping centre where your store is located, if the client walks past your store because you do not have a sign, all your marketing effort has been for naught!

There is also the reality that signs tend to be a once off purchase, or at worst an irregular purchase. When one compares the cost of a great sign to the monthly cost of a salaried salesperson who may not have the best client service manner, the cost of the sign tends to be a lot cheaper than the alternatives.

If you are willing to hear OUR truth, and possibly even receive some expert advice on what signs will work for you, SignForce are marketing professionals with experience over multiple medium’s, and we will gladly give you our truth.

If you are in the market for professional looking signs at “FAIR VLAUE”, and would like advice on how best to project your business’s image while making any funds you spend on marketing and signs an investment, please contact the writer at arnold@signforce.co.zaor david@signforce.co.za and use the subject line: ADVICE PLEASE and we will get back to you.

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Planning for growth

Planning for Growth

I am sure we must have all heard about planing. It is that ‘thing’ that we are supposed to do in order to enhance and move our lives forward.

This article is not about how to or why to plan. If you want to read some excellent material on planning, how to and why it is important, do a Google search.

My current thinking is about how one plans for growth. Sure, it is great to plan to continue along the same path that one has been on for many years, however, as the saying goes, if you continue to repeat the same actions, don’t expect different results.

To me planning for growth means pushing one’s boundaries to the point that, instead of the target being just out of reach, it should be so far ahead that it requires a totally different thought pattern and totally different action, but not so far ahead that one cannot see the target lying ahead.

Planning need not be engraved on stone, but it should be a guiding light, giving all the steps / milestones / incremental targets along the way for one to be able to measure progress, and see that the ultimate target is getting closer with every completed step.

I believe that planning should NOT be step by step rules, but rather a visible and achievable target that is communicated to those that you expect to implement and help achieve the plan. The implementer’s should then be guided and managed, but still left to their own devices, with them knowing what is expected, as it is often quite amazing how people will rise (or fall) to achieve what they know is expected of them.

With regards to signs, planning should answer the simple questions:

  1. What is the sign expected to achieve?
  2. How much do we want to spend on the sign?,
  3. What should the sign look like? And
  4. What is the image the sign needs to communicate?

With this information it is relatively simple for an experienced designer to design a sign that will fit one’s budget AND project the desired image so the sign can achieve it’s objective.

If you are in the market for professional looking signs that will achieve your objectives for the sign at “fair value”, please contact the writer at arnold@signforce.co.za or David at david@signforce.co.za. Please use the subject line ADVISE PLEASE.

Http://www.signforce.co.za http://www.signforce.co.za/blog

 

Gambling on relationships in business

Business is about relationships, selling and money! For now I am only going to think about relationships.

Sometimes relationships are a gamble, not unlike a lottery ticket.

Sometimes you buy your ticket, and you simply lose – most often, and a bad investment!

Other times you buy your ticket and get a little (or not so little) payback – possibly an excellent investment – generally very rare.

And then there are the occasions when you purchase the ticket and get informed that your ticket IS a BIG winner. You get so excited. When you go collect your winnings, you are informed that you have to pay 50% of your winnings to tax. The win was LARGE so you justify the diminished reward by thinking that you should not be greedy. Then the cashier asks if you would like your payout in a single payment now or 20 years in the future. You laugh and ask what that means, only to be informed that if you take the payout now you get 50% of the remaining 50% (after tax) or you can wait the 20 years and get the full amount 50% after tax.  It is at times like this that we feel like we are been screwed!

At SignForce we believe that in order to spare your prospects and customers this feeling, it is best that they are informed, BEFORE the event, of the potential pitfalls and costs. I find myself often telling this to my seven year old, advising him that negotiating AFTER the fact means he will ALWAYS be on his back (otherwise known as losing) foot.

In the world of increasingly fast technology, where people seek immediate gratification, the best service we can provide is to make sure we are honest and up-front with clients. They may walk away because they don’t like what they hear, but in the long run, they tend to come back, because they learn (the hard way) that false promises generally cost a lot more than hurt pride – and the seeds for trust – and a great, lasting relationship – have been planted.

If you are willing to hear the truth, SignForce are marketing professionals with experience over multiple medium’s, and we will gladly give you our truth.

If you are in the market for professional looking signs at “FAIR VLAUE”, and would like advice on how best to project your business’s image while making any funds you spend on marketing and signs an investment, please contact the writer at arnold@signforce.co.zaor david@signforce.co.za and use the subject line: ADVICE PLEASE and we will get back to you.

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