Why Outdoor Signage Is As Important As Your Website

by Brian Horvath


Although we are moving more toward a world of digital advertising, brick-and-mortar businesses must still rely on physical signage to help bring in customers. Signage is one of the most important marketing strategies for local businesses, as it can be used for both branding and advertising. As with online media, there are a few basic traits of signage that you should be aware of.

Of course, you must follow local laws on where you can place signage (as well as size and other restrictions), but in general, there are a few common rules for business signage to keep in mind when trying to lure more customers to your place of business.

So what are these common rules and basic traits, and why is signage important to a business?

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Location, Location, Location

Yes, location is extremely important. Where you place your signage is where you will be branded. The people who drive by that location will begin to know who you are and what you have to offer and also become your local clientele.

“Signs are among the most important elements of visual communication,” according to a 2012 study prepared by the Economics Center at the University of Cincinnati. The study also hammers home the importance of on-premises signage. “The visual communication provided by on-premises business signage is essential for the efficient function of our system of commerce and the success of many businesses.”

The 67-page study can be summed up with two main points about location. The first is, you must have signage in proximate location to your business, as most people shop where they live. The second is, you must have signage onsite so that people actually know you exist.

Still don’t think signage is important? A similar study conducted by FedEx showed that 76 percent of consumers visited a store they never knew existed based on a sign. Another 75 percent recommended a business based on signage alone.

Are you willing to ignore those numbers because you don’t want to place a sign in front of your business?

Yes, Size Matters

Size definitely matters when it comes to signage but not just the overall size of the sign. You also need to keep in mind the size of objects in the location of the sign and the size of the writing on the sign itself.

Bigger is not always better when it comes to signage. Sometimes having a sign that is too big can be a distraction and take away from your message. Imagine a large sign on the side of a building where you regularly commute. Would the sign on the side of the building be better than a smaller sign that is well-placed at an intersection? Probably not. In fact, the smaller sign would be better as people have to stop and look at it whenever they get to the intersection.

You also need to consider size restrictions where you post signs. Some cities are banning billboards in certain locations, so you need to be familiar with what you can and cannot display. In addition to local and state laws governing the size of signage, you also have to contend with federal regulations related to outdoor advertising.

The overall size of your signage is not as important as the size of the message within. According to the United States Sign Council (USSC), detecting signage can be complicated and is an art.

“Detecting and reading a roadside on-premises sign by a motorist involves a complex series of sequentially occurring events, both mental and physical,” writes the USSC in its guide on legibility rules. “They include message detection and processing, intervals of eye and/or head movement alternating between the sign and the road environment, and finally, active maneuvering of the vehicle as required in response to the stimulus provided by the sign.”

The size of the sign and the lettering actually cause people to either read your message or pass on by without ever knowing who you are.

Styles Make the Difference

There is a big debate going on regarding the use of digital signage:

  • Is it worth the cost?
    • Does it convert better than traditional signage?
    • Can it be implemented into billboards and other outdoor signage?

The answer to all of these questions is “yes.”

Digital signage has taken over the advertising industry. Yes, there are still traditional billboards that require the pasting of banners, but digital billboards are slowly saturating the market. The cost to create an ad is less, as it can be done on a computer and does not require labor to climb and paste the signage.

With improvements to digital signage over the years, it is less expensive to maintain and easier to change. Imagine having a message that you paid good money for, only to go through a re-branding a month or two later. You’ll need to change all your signs, which will mean expenses related to creating, removing, and replacing your signs with your new message. Digital signage only requires a few keystrokes, and your message is changed.

Digital signage also helps with sizing and industry influences. “The recent rapid growth of digital signage is due to a confluence of factors: dramatic innovations, lower hardware and software costs, and greater integration and ease of use,” according to Pam Derringer in an article written for AVNetwork. “Signs aren’t just a few standard sized rectangles anymore,” she adds.

Final Word on Signage

It has more than been established that you must have signage. It is as important as a Website because it tells people who you are and where you are located. Signage is an advertising and branding tool that can generate an additional 75 percent to your customer base and referrals, according to numerous studies. Make sure to consider sizing and location in order to attract customers and use technology such as digital signage in order to keep up with industry changes.

Brian Horvath is a freelance writer from Michigan and founder of MyBusinessTalk. He is a journalism graduate and a regular contributor to numerous online magazines and journals.

How To Keep Your Brand Consistent
by Christopher Ruvo


Brand consistency happens when a company, organization, group or even a person delivers messaging across communication channels (both online and offline) that is fundamentally the same in voice, graphic elements, topic focus and more.

A recent study by Utah-based brand templating platform Lucidpress found that branding experts across industries believe their organizations would achieve, on average, 33% overall revenue growth if their brand was consistently maintained. In a blog post on its findings, Lucidpress staff wrote that brand consistency “tells people that you care about what you deliver, that you live up to what you promise, and it shows off a glimmer of your personality. Ultimately, brand consistency has an extensive trickle-down effect that, when implemented correctly, can boost your bottom line, brand status and employee morale.”

How To Keep Your Brand Consistent

Those are compelling reasons to strive for brand consistency in your digital/traditional marketing, sales, product and overall communication efforts. These six strategies will help you stay on brand.

1. Create a Clear Brand Mission.
Encapsulated in a thoughtfully crafted statement, this mission provides the foundation for your brand. Without it, you’re rudderless.

2. Establish Well-Defined Brand Guidelines.
Develop guidelines that spell out how your brand should be represented. The guidelines should be tailored to build a brand that augments your company’s mission and desired image – one that speaks in a positive way to target customers. Guidelines should include the mission statement, proper spelling of the company name, your tagline or slogan, and an explanation of your brand voice – its personality, so to speak. Will your tone be irreverent and off-the-cuff, or more buttoned-up and corporate? The document should contain logo and color usage guidelines. Relatedly, there should be guidance on the types of imagery and typography that define your brand. Also, establish rules for text, indicating where it’s important to capitalize certain letters and use elements like trademarks, affiliations, slogans and disclaimers. Words and topics to avoid, along with an example or two of poor brand portrayal, could also be edifying.

3. Educate Employees.
Having a strongly defined brand with specific guidelines will be for naught if employees are ignorant of it. Ensure that staffers understand the brand persona and how it should be communicated visually, through the written word (which includes social media) and in interaction with customers. This education can occur when onboarding new staffers and reinforced periodically with training. Since every employee is an extension of the brand, it’s important to provide everyone with an overarching understanding as well as their department’s role in reinforcing the brand. Furthermore, give employees access to the branding guidelines. Lastly, see to it that employees who will be communicating both externally and internally on behalf of the brand have easy access to things like logo variants, graphics, fonts, color palettes and stock copy.

33%
Average projected increase in revenue an organization would see if it strictly practiced brand consistency.(Lucidpress)

4. Always Craft On-Brand Content.
Employees in marketing, human resources, corporate communications – any department or role that generates a lot of content on behalf of the brand – should always do so with the branding guidelines in mind. For instance, the marketing team should deliver advertising, catalog or product copy in a tone that conforms. Similarly, the team should produce blogs, articles, social media posts and white papers on topics within the brand framework – again, in the tone and voice defined in the guidelines.

5. Be Smart About Social.
Only participate on social media platforms that work in conjunction with your brand. For instance, just because TikTok or Twitch are popular, it doesn’t mean the platforms are a good fit for your organization. Be selective, getting active in forums only where customers and prospects are likely to engage. Also, designate specific team members to handle social messaging. When it comes to social, a few well-trained chefs are better than a plethora of bumbling cooks.

6. Appoint a Brand Czar.
This will likely be a marketing leader or executive – someone who knows the branding guidelines by heart. If the company is especially large, it might be necessary to have multiple people whose job responsibilities include ensuring the communication efforts of certain departments remain on-brand. Having a “buck-stops-here” person will minimize off-brand messaging.

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