Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Signs May Point in the Wrong Direction

It isn't hard to find a great deal of advertising signage in a good sized metropolitan area.  From the lowly yard sale sign to clever "mobile" ads, there are many applications.  My city is very strict and restricts signs from most locations.  I tend to see them only on electric service poles, at interstate intersections, and (in sandwich board form) in front of the relevant business.

Some of my clients tell me signs get results for them,  a claim I do find astonishing.  I'm wired to be annoyed at these ragamuffin signs -- perhaps too many "We Buy Homes" have soured me.

But more to the point, signs tend to be weak servants for a business.  They can only disclose a very small amount of information beyond a phone number and a call to action.  They are usually relegated to sketchy locations (along with the scammers).  And they rarely boost brand equity.  A few get away with success by dint of unusual circumstances, like the mobile billboards towed through city streets, or the "For Sale" signs of a real estate company.

Can roadside signs work for your business?  It's certainly possible, but in the broader perspective is this a superior technique to an alternative?  If you are lofting the proverbial "Hail Mary" pass with a streetside sign it may be time to reassess the target market or some other fundamental.

Bottom Line:  Look at streetside signage with a critical eye.  If this is a method others in your field have used with success, be sure to produce ones with the best production value, a solid call to action and a reinforcement of your brand values.  Be careful of local zoning laws.  And think hard about alternative forms of advertising.

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