Monday, November 3, 2014

Tips for Buying Business Signs: Some Things Never Change

I recently came across an article that was published more than a decade ago in Entrepreneur magazine, titled “Tips for Buying Business Signs.” Often we focus so much on how things have changed in business that it’s easy to overlook how much they’ve stayed the same.

Indoor signage communicates
a more personalized message,
like building employee morale
As the article quickly points out, signs are used indoors as often as outdoors, whether they’re hung from ceilings, attached to walls, or applied directly to surfaces. While outdoor signs are often more marketing oriented, indoor signs can do things like direct guests, communicate a more personalized message (like at a trade show) or even boost morale.

The materials used for a sign are an important consideration. As the article says, it usually comes down to lettering and types of substrate materials. At the time the article was written, painted signs were already on their way out. Today they’re nearly obsolete, having been replaced by vinyl, raised or engraved lettering.  Signs themselves can be made from materials as diverse as metal, wood, plastic and foam core, depending on the need and location.

A sign company needs to be able to
deliver what you need, on time and on
budget, no matter the challenge
Where the rubber meets the road, as the saying goes, is the design of a sign and how to choose a company that can deliver exactly what you need. In addition to color combinations, the article points out that “factors such as sign height, lighting and time of day can affect how easily the sign can be viewed.”

The article also emphasizes the importance of a sign company being able to provide the sign materials you desire, offer expertise in the planning and placement of signage, and give you the design and creative background necessary to help you achieve maximum impact with your project. Of course, being able to deliver those services at the right price can make all the difference.

Overall, the points made in the article still hold true. It’s important to trust your signs and displays to professionals who can get the job done right, do it on time, and work within your budget. Those are the keys to doing business that will never change.

You can read the entire article in the Entrepreneur article archive.

MIKE BOYD is president of Creative Source. Clients looking for sign companies in Canton, Ohio
and the surrounding region look to Mike and his staff for creative marketing solutions.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Color of Money: The Relationship of Color to Marketing Success

Have you ever noticed the colors on the McDonald’s sign? Wendy’s? Burger King? KFC? Or countless other fast food restaurants?

On each of those examples, the dominant colors are red and yellow. And there’s a reason. Years of research about the effect of color on consumers has confirmed that red stimulates the appetite, while yellow is associated with cheerfulness. That’s exactly the combination of emotions those fast-food giants want their customers to experience.

The impact of color cannot be underestimated, particularly as it relates to conveying an effective marketing message.

Think about how some of the world’s other top brands use color. Coca-Cola is the prime example. A brand leader for more than a century, Coca-Cola and red are synonymous. The link to energy, appetite, passion and activity make red the perfect choice for Coke.

Likewise, John Deere and green are an ideal match, not only because of green’s association with nature, but also because it has come to represent care and concern for the environment. John Deere does more than make tractors and mowers and other tools; it helps us take care of the great outdoors.

And then there’s Google, with its understated, multi-color logo. That’s exactly what you want when you represent all things to all people. No matter what you’re looking for, or what you’re in the mood for, Google can help. Its representation of the rainbow in its logo helps convey that.

How about you? Have you ever considered how color affects the relationship consumers have with your brand?

Whether you’re creating a logo, interior or exterior signage, a banner, or a display, the colors you select—and how you incorporate them into your design—can make all the difference between being noticed and being just another voice in a noisy world.

The research I referred to earlier uncovered all sorts of fascinating information. For example, 85 percent of consumers cite color as the primary reason why they buy. Whether it’s a car, a dress, lawn furniture or just the design of an advertisement, color makes a huge difference.

Men and women have different tastes when it comes to color. Men overwhelmingly prefer blue. Women like it, too, but they also favor purple nearly as much. That’s why a lot of perfumes and cosmetics use purple in branding and packaging, while power tool manufacturers don’t.

There’s much more, of course, but the examples I’ve cited illustrate how the proper use of color can heighten awareness among your target customers and help your brand stand out.

Once you’ve decided on a primary color or colors, it’s important to use them on all of your branding materials: Logos, business cards, stationary, brochures, your website, your Facebook page, specialty items like pens and mugs, and anything else where your brand will appear. That includes signs, banners and displays—items we deal with on a daily basis in our industry.

Color is a powerful thing. It changed movies, the television industry and even our daily newspapers. Once upon a time, the world was largely a black-and-white place. Color made it come alive.

Used correctly, it can do the same thing for your company, and your brand. 

MIKE BOYD is president of Creative Source. Clients looking for sign companies in Canton, Ohio
and the surrounding region look to Mike and his staff for creative marketing solutions.

Friday, February 28, 2014

See the Possibilities, Not the Problems, and Stand Out from the Competition

Are you ready for anything?

It’s a question worth asking. More often than not, “anything” comes along when we least expect it.

Recently a client of ours was faced with that reality. His company had struck a deal with a national distributor to place product displays in the stores of a major chain. At the eleventh hour, despite a thorough process of testing, and having had input on the design, the distributor cited an unexpected concern and backed out of the deal.

The effect could have been devastating. My colleague’s company had changed the dimensions of their display specifically to suit the store chain’s requirements. They had thousands of displays already completed and ready to go—but nowhere to place them. They were facing the prospect of a severe financial loss.

Then along came another national store chain—this time, with no distributor in the middle. They loved the displays and said the new dimensions were perfect for their shelves. The two parties came to an agreement, and my colleague’s company had an even better deal than before.

Too often, we look at a negative event as if the window of opportunity has been forever closed. The reality, however, is that most of the time when one door closes another opens, and a new opportunity is born. Many times, that new opportunity is better than the one that came before.

I’ve mentioned before how Dave Hess and I were both designers when we started Creative Source. As the business grew, client demands created tighter and tighter deadlines, and we found it increasingly difficult to get things printed on time. So we invested in our own printing equipment. And that led to a change in our business; today, we work with some of the leading advertising agencies and corporate marketing departments in the region, helping their designers by printing and installing the signs, displays, decals and other graphic productions they create.

Today, our business is much different than the one Dave and I began with almost two decades ago, but it’s also a much better one.

Have you experienced what you thought was a major setback? Lost a customer? Watched as a deal fell apart right before your eyes?

Put it behind you. Look for the opportunities that lie in the road just ahead. What you choose to do in the face of adversity will make a profound difference, and may just help you stand out from your competition in ways you never expected.

MIKE BOYD is president of Creative Source. Clients looking for sign companies in Canton, Ohio
and the surrounding region look to Mike and his staff for creative marketing solutions.