In the age of digital marketing, it seems many small businesses forget the foundation of traditional marketing.
While the internet possesses the potential to reach a larger market than displays and print advertisements do, you can’t afford to ignore physical signage. Your ability to design and produce compelling, attractive signage for both the inside and outside of your corporate office goes a long way in building trust with customers and clients.
Physical signage in a digital world.
In terms of 21st-century marketing, physical signage seems to lack the punch it once had. However, this is not necessarily true. While marketing has certainly expanded to include a number of digital channels–including television and internet–physical signage is still a necessary and valuable component of your overall marketing and branding efforts.
Think about it from the perspective of your clients. When they come to your office for meetings, what do they want to see? Ideally, they want visible reinforcement that they’re dealing with a strong, reputable brand. They want to feel your value is consistent and stable across the board. Physical signage–while not the only variable in this equation–can help you establish that consistency. It shows that you’re committed and proud of what you offer.
What would customers and clients say about your office? Or would they say anything at all? It can seem like a subtle touch, but in highly competitive markets, the details serve as differentiators.
A case study conducted by the University of San Diego School of Business Administration reinforces these points. According to data collected from one local business owner, it was the building’s signage, not word of mouth marketing, improvements, or other advertisements, that attracted 10 new walk-in customers over a one week period. Out of those 10 customers, at least six sales resulted.
While it can be difficult to quantify the value of your office’s signage, it’s examples like these that prove it matters. Instead of investing 100 percent of your marketing and advertising budget to digital channels, consider allocating a healthy portion to physical signage.
Handling the design process.
The overall effectiveness of your signage will ultimately be tied to aesthetics. While things like implementation and placement matter, it’s pertinent that you start with the design process. Specifically, there are a few things you need to pay close attention to.
- Color. According to Sapna Budev, director of strategic initiatives for a Virginia-based sign company, “Studies have shown that 80 percent of the recognition of a trademark is due to its color.” Coke is directly associated with red and white, McDonald’s with red and yellow, and so on. Colors are powerful and the key to any successful signage is to strategically implement colors that engage and excite.
- Materials (such as acrylic, glass, aluminum, stainless steel, bronze, and brass). For decades, the staple materials for signage were lumber and paint. However, as time has passed, materials have changed. The signage material you choose will depend on a number of factors. Are you looking to take a vintage, modern, or classic look? What sort of elements will the sign be exposed to? How will the sign be supported? All of these questions are valid and need to be answered before settling on a specific material.
- Contrast. After choosing colors and materials, Budev suggests paying attention to contrast and how the text and graphics work together. Not all combinations will work and it’s critical that the sign is readable from all angles and viewpoints. You’ll specifically want to pay attention to the use of outlines and shadowing to make foreground images and text pop.
- Size. Depending on the message you’re trying to convey, the size of your signage could vary. For a powerful and bold statement, bigger is better. For a more sophisticated or refined touch, a smaller sign could work well. When determining the dimensions of the sign, consider how far away you want the sign to be visible from.
Implementation of physical signage.
According to Impact! Signs, a leader in corporate signage, the implementation of physical signs is just as important as the design process. If not properly placed or installed, the time spent creating intricate, attractive designs will be wasted. Couple the following tips with the aforementioned design tips for powerful signage that makes a statement:
- Consider the viewpoint. While retail stores may want signage placed high above the building to attract traffic from the street, corporate office buildings don’t always need to take the same approach. If your building is tucked away in an office park or discreet area of town, you may be better served placing smaller signage at eye level. This way, clients are confronted with your signage prior to walking in the building.
- Lighting for emphasis. While the actual lighting of the sign should be discussed in the design process, it’s also worth looking at in the implementation and installation phase. If the sign doesn’t have a backlight, you may want to consider adding spotlights around the sign for maximum exposure at all hours.
- Test placement. If you’re strategic, your installation doesn’t have to be permanent. You can actually try multiple locations and ask for feedback based on the placement. This allows you to experiment with where your sign is most effective. The best way to garner feedback is to ask clients whether they noticed your sign walking in, and most will be honest with their answers.
- Local regulations. Don’t forget about local regulations, permits, and building codes. Some areas may have restrictions regarding how big a sign can be or where it can be placed. Furthermore, if you’re leasing a building, your landlord may forbid certain types of signage. These are issues worth looking into at the very beginning, rather than being surprised later.
Creating effective physical signage.
Don’t listen to those who say physical signage should take a backseat to digital advertising. Even in an age where internet marketing and television advertisements take front stage, physical signage still holds incredible value. Take the time to develop something that truly represents your brand and reaches your audience.