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

ANIMAL READS SIGNS!!!

Yes! YOU ARE AN ANIMAL!

This is not meant as a question. It is meant as an all inclusive, factual STATEMENT!

If you are reading this you are either a brilliantly trained ANIMAL – possibly one of those with two heads and resides in a lab where some other loving ANIMAL has taught you to read, or, and more likely, you are one of the privileged, two legged ANIMALS, who has spent enough time being taught, so you know how to read (signs?), and most likely to write and talk as well.

As an ANIMAL, especially one that is a HUMAN ANIMAL, with some understanding and possibly even some logic – even if your logic is only understood by you – you will tend to believe that you BEHAVE LOGICALLY.

This is a LIE! We have been taught (also known as programmed or indoctrinated) into believing that it is IMPORTANT that you act in a logical manner, so we strive to do so. However, research (See Emotional Intelligence by Danial Goleman and published works by many others) has shown CONCLUSIVELY that we HUMAN ANIMALS almost ALWAYS act on EMOTION, and then temper our emotion with logic.

Are you asking yourself why is this IMPORTANT TO ME?

It is important because how you act at any specific point in time, how you SEE any specific situation at a specific point in time, how you REACT at any specific point in time and the DECISIONS YOU MAKE at any specific point in time – will all have CONSEQUENCES in the future, and will all be based on HOW YOU FEEL!!! AT THAT SPECIFIC POINT IN TIME that you made the decision or reacted !!!

This is especially true if you act immediately, and are NOT AWARE of how you feel – your emotional state – at that specific point in time, so you react to something trivial in an inappropriate manner, or make a decision – or a comment – you later regret, because it was not what you wanted to do or say, and the consequences are too horrible to contemplate.

In my view this is the reason that people get together to discuss decisions, concepts and ideas, before rashly running head first into the first option that is presented. More minds will mean looking at the situation from more angles, with more EMOTIONAL input, until the emotional factor is mostly removed*. *This is said with too MANY proviso’s to mention here. (You are welcome to contact me at arnold@signforce.co.za if you want a list)

If you are looking into making ANY decisions, even one’s as simple as looking to invest in a sign – try look within yourself to see how you are feeling BEFORE you make the decision. This does not, by any means, suggest you should ignore your emotions, it is simply one method to get closer to making decisions that are based on some logic – mixed with a lot of emotion – to ensure that the investment you make is the investment you want when you feel differently a few days, weeks, months or years down the line.

If you are feeling like an animal, and would like some signs to improve your income or simply to brighten your life, or for advice on signs, contact us at SignForce and we will do our best to assist you.

Call +27 (0)11 440 7525

email info@signforce.co.za

WEB: http://www.signforce.co.za

Are all signs the same because they look the same?

Are all signs the same because they look the same?

The short answer is NO. Because they look the same doesn’t mean that any two signs are the same.

The reason I can say that with conviction is two fold.

  1. The large majority of signs are still made by hand, and since the signs are hand made, there is ALWAYS going to be some variance in the process and hence in the finished product.

Historically all signs were hand made by artists and artisans, many of them highly skilled. Today technology has had a huge influence on how signs are made, with wonderful machines that can make multiple, identical copies of the same sign, something that is almost impossible to do when the signs are hand made.

Because these machines are expensive, and there are a limited number of businesses that require a large number of signs that are identical, it is still true that most signs are still hand made, hence it is almost certain that no two signs will be totally identical. Also, for example, very few shop front’s are the same size, so unless a sign is small for one shop front, it will not fit into another store front which is smaller. This is one of the reasons we at SignForce refer to ourselves as makers of CUSTOM signs.

This is worth remembering when a sign buyer wants multiple copies of the sign. Even the smallest change in a sign – from a 1cm difference in letter height, to the sign being 10 cm shorter, will result in the sign being different. It should look exactly the same – that is all proportions should remain the same, but a small change in one element could, for example, result in a sign being too large for the available space, or a different method of construction being required to manufacture the sign.

2. Signs are generally purchased form a ‘picture’ and while everyone may use the same picture – it is very easy to cut and paste a picture – the manufacturing process, the materials and the expertise of the sign maker will all influence the manufacturing process, and hence the final look, longevity and feel of the end product.

Many client’s do not have all the facts of the signage they are to get explained to them, so when they receive two or three quotes from two or three different sign manufacturers, they get a VERY LARGE variance in costing, and because they don’t understand the differences, it is understandable for them to think and believe that they are getting the same sign at different prices – similar to walking into three different stores ang getting three different prices on the same make and model of a kettle.

Generally the client will believe that they have given all three sign businesses the same brief, so they expect the signs to be the same. Unfortunately, this is not necessarily how it works in practice.

For example, lets assume you are looking for a reception sign, and you tell this to the various sign suppliers, also giving them the size of the sign you desire and the design that is to be used to decorate the sign.

Supplier A may quote you for a non-illuminated, 3D, fabricated sign that will make your business look AWESOME, and costs what you may believe to be enough to purchase a small desert island.

Supplier B may quote you for a sign that ‘looks’ identical – especially on paper, but, instead of being a fabricated 3D sign, is a printed 3D sign attached to a clear backing board. The look is exceptionally similar, however the cost is vastly different.

Supplier C may quote on a sign consisting of a digital print applied to a metal backing.

As can be seen from the above, all three sign manufacturers are quoting on a reception sign, so they are all fulfilling the brief. However, the difference in the way the sign will ultimately look and feel, cannot necessarily be seen, especially on a piece of paper – or a computer screen. It is for this reason that reputable sign suppliers tend to specify materials they will be using and give detailed descriptions of the signs they are quoting on, hoping to both ‘educate and inform’ their clients, and at the same time hoping that the client will be comparing signs on a ‘apple’ for ‘apple’ basis.

Differences even exist in simple signs. For example, a client may request a metal sign decorated with a digital print, and that is what they may be quoted on, but not all digital printers are made equal, especially when the print is to be exposed to sunlight, because a print from one brand of printer may fade faster and less evenly than another, similar print, printed on another brand of printer.

Another point to consider is illumination. When client’s request illuminated signs there are three main methods of illuminating the sign, with the sign size and client’s budget ultimately determining what is to be used. These days signs can be internally illuminated using florescent tubes, neon tubes, or LED’s. The choice would generally depend on the client.

For example, while the running costs of LED lighting are lower over the life of the sign (especially if maintenance costs are factored into the cost), the initial outlay for LED’s may be more. Also, there are a variety of florescent tubes that can be used. Wherever possible SignForce use florescent tubes that run off electronic ballasts because the tubes and the ballasts have a longer life expectancy, the running costs are lower, they give off better light and they give off less heat.  That said, one can still save money on the initial outlay by purchasing florescent tubes that run off magnetic ballasts, need starters (that tend to stop working long before any other components) and use more energy. The old style florescent tubes will cost less initially, but will generally be a lot more expensive over the life of the sign.

Unfortunately, you as the buyer, will very seldom know what has gone into your sign unless you visit the factory, and are explained what is going into your sign, during the production process.

Hence it can be seen that not all signs are necessarily created equal. This is at least one reason why sign buyers are encouraged to improve their understanding about the signs they require, and also to stick with sign companies that have a reputation, or at least one with references that can be checked.

If you are in the market for professional looking signs, or simply require advice on what signs may best market your business,  email arnold@signforce.co.za or david@signforce.co.za using the subject line: ADVICE PLEASE

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.

Who is SignForce South Africa and what do they do?

Who is SignForce South Africa and what do they do?

SignForce is a full service sign design, manufacture and installation business specializing in giving advice on signs for all custom made signs.

What that means is that SignForce is in the business of designing, manufacturing and installing EVERY conceivable type of sign. If it is something that your marketing department want – like a pylon, billboard, banner, flag, name slat, sign or vehicle decoration – or something that your HR or administration department want, like name badges, desk names or office names, SignForce is in the business of getting you these.

Having taken over an existing business in 1999 the current management team has extensive experience in ensuring that your signs are an investment in marketing, meaning that we believe that any sign we supply should be capable of generating more income than it cost.

SignForce is based in Johannesburg South Africa and works throughout South Africa, with a number of our signs being shipped to destinations as far afield as New York and Malawi.

The following is a comprehensive list of all the signs SignForce can assist you with.

2D Cut out letters & Logo

3D Lettering & Logos

3D cut out Logos

Advice on signs

Aluminium signs

Architectural signs

Banners

Banner walls

Billboards

Brass signs

Chromadek signs

Computer cut out vinyl

Corporate identity design

Cut out signs

Directional signs

Directory boards

Door signs

Electronic signs / Electronic Billboards

Engraved signs

Entrance signs

Fabricated signs

Flags

Free Standing Signs

Front illuminated signs

Full colour digital printing

Illuminated signs – Front illuminated signs

Illuminated signs – Internally illuminated signs

Illuminated signs – LED signs

Illuminated signs – Neon signs

Illuminated signs – Rear illuminated signs

Individual cut out signs

Interior signs

Interior design – Office signs

Interior design – Reception signs

Interior design – Sandblasting effect

Interior design – Stained glass effect

Interior design – Wallpaper

Interior design – Window tinting

Iron signs

Labels

Large outdoor signs – Billboards

Large outdoor signs – Free Standing Signs

Large outdoor signs – Pylons

Large outdoor signs – Signboards

LED signs

Lobby signs

Machine signs

Mandatory signs

Metal signs

Mine signs

Modular signs

Monument signs

Neon signs

Office signs

Parking signs

Plastic signs / Perspex signs / Plexiglas signs

Plaques & awards

POP up banners

Printed signs

Printed wallpaper

Pull up banners

Pylons / Pylon signs

Reception signs

Road signs

Safety signs

Sandblast effect decoration

Sandblast vinyl

Sandwich boards

Signboards

Sign advice

Sign design

Sign manufacture

Sign writing

Steel signs

Stainless steel signs

Stained glass signs

Vehicle decorations

Vehicle signs

Vista Modular signs

Wallpaper

Way finding signs

Window tinting

For advice on signs and how to best project your business’s image, or if you are in the market for professional looking signs at “FAIR VALUE” so that you can consider 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 get back to you.

 

 

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.

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

Are signs TRULY an important element in YOUR Marketing Mix?

In this modern, connected world of INTERNET, SOCIAL MEDIA, SMS MARKETING and FAST CHANGE is an OLD FASHIONED, STATIC sign still important.

The simple answer is a RESOUNDING YES.

While I understand this is a generalization and may not be as relevant for EVERY business, it IS important for ANY BUSINESS THAT WANTS TO BE SEEN and VISITED.

On Thursday I went to take advantage of a sale at a local butcher. I had previously received the MASS SMS informing me that they had ‘moved’. From a marketing perspective the sms was poorly worded in that it simply stated that they had relocated and gave the new address – no special offer, no call to action, simply an informative sms – which I figured was an error. They were a landmark where they were, and they had moved into a totally different area, so my thinking was they were advising of a new branch opening. It was only when I went past the ‘old’ premises that I realised they HAD MOVED – and I had deleted the ‘relocation’ sms days before my visit.

So the search began. I was eventually advised where they had moved to, and off I went. When I got to the location that I was told of, there was nothing to alert me to the fact that this was the new premises. I then called ‘info’, got the old number, had to dial it to get the ‘new’ number, then called that number to get directions, only to be told that they were where I was told they were.

At this point I figured I would pay more and go elsewhere. The saving was NOT WORTH the irritation. It was at that point that I drove past the shop – AGAIN, but this time with the attendant standing outside waving!

While inside I asked why they didn’t have signs up and was informed that they had been ordered and were ‘on their way’. (They were up two days later).

When I gave it some thought, this move had to have been planned weeks before I went there – I received the initial sms 10 days before my excursion. So WHY were there no signs up? Surely it should have been on top of the marketing persons list. Did they ever calculate the cost of NO SIGNS? How many people would felt just what I did, never to return as they are certainly not the cheapest supplier and are also not the only supplier within easy access. A simple banner (if the signs were running late) could have made a huge difference.

So YES. Signs are an important . As long as YOU EXPECT and / or WANT people to VISIT YOUR PREMISES, you would be well advised to make sure that VISIBLE SIGNS form part of your marketing mix!

If you are in the market for professional looking signs, or would like marketing advice, including on how best to project your business’s image, please contact the writer at arnold@signforce.co.za and use the subject line: ADVICE PLEASE and we will get back to you ASAP.  For more information visit http://www.signforce.co.za