Measuring Success In Signage

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SignForce discuss success measurement when it comes to signage. This includes asking the right questions, considering exactly where the sign will be implemented and the time constraints involved, to name a few.

There are many ways to evaluate and measure the success of your purchases and investments. In order to measure the return on investment, we believe that four fundamental questions need to be answered, preferably before the sign is purchased.

1. What do you want the sign to achieve?
2. What is the correct sign for the objective to be achieved?
3. What is most important to you in measuring the success of your investment:
(a) the cost of the sign and/or
(b) the quality of the sign and/or
(c) the importance of your deadline being met.
4. How do you intend measuring the success of your signage?

If your sign is located in the middle of an open field, with the only things competing for the potential reader’s attention being the vehicle instruments, the possible people in the vehicle, the road and nature, then the main focus should be the size and attractiveness of the message.

If on the other hand your sign is located in a shopping mall where, aside from the landlord’s approval, you are competing with a number of large, flashy, 3D signs, best you either make something even larger, flashier, 3D or alternatively, something totally different in order to stand out. If your measurement of success of the signage is to get a specific response from the viewer of the sign, then before purchasing the sign, you should look at what about the sign will lead the viewer to respond.

While the above two scenarios are greatly over simplified, it should already be clear that not all signage is appropriate or necessarily the best signage to achieve a desired objective. This leads to the next set of questions, as to the order of which is most important: (a) the cost of the sign, (b) the quality of the sign or (c) the importance of your deadline being met.

As custom signage is generally made or assembled by hand and thus labour intensive, the three questions above tend to be at odds with one another. If it is a ‘cheap’ sign one is looking for, that will generally mean a compromise on the quality of the sign, so the sign may be able to be produced pretty quickly. Being produced pretty quickly should not be confused with the sign being an ‘off the shelf’ item, and it should generally be understood that the speed of the sign’s manufacture will generally (but not necessarily always) have an influence on the quality of the sign.

If the deadline is the most important factor, followed by superior quality, then it should be fairly obvious (although it never is) that the cost of the sign is going to be higher, especially when the sign is ordered. In South Africa, this includes the order being received, the artwork being approved and the required deposit being paid at the last minute.

It seems that very few people who don’t work with signage on a regular basis understand the manufacturing process(es) that are required to get signs manufactured, decorated and installed. They tend to have the erroneous belief that the wave of a magic wand will get the picture that they have in their mind, and possibly even the picture they have approved on paper, to suddenly appear in full life size. If you have a specific deadline, and a budget, then make sure you get information on the time required to manufacture your signage, and give the supplier more time than they required, as this way there is less room for error – or surprises.

Measuring the ‘success’ of you signage could be by measuring how many viewers respond to the sign and/or it’s message. It could also be measured by an increase in sales or turnover, or the number of (additional) feet that come into your premises, or how much you paid for a sign that matched or exceeded your expectations.

Conversely, the success of your signage could be measured by looking at what the sign costs; whether the sign is the correct sign for the task; whether it is what you expected it to be and whether what you got is what you were sold; how long the sign lasts and the total cost over the life of the signs. This is because in our industry purchase decisions are generally made on a picture on a piece of paper, where the buyer seldom knows or understands the materials and processes that are used or whether the materials that were used match the materials that were sold.

Because signage is the last item on the agenda, which means the budget has long been blown, it is often understandable that what looks like the best sign at the best price is what gets purchased, especially when the buyer believes that all the signs that are being quoted are generic and identical, simply because the paper that holds the ‘picture’ displays the same picture.

It is more often than not important for the buyer to understand that unlike a purchase of a can of beans of a single brand, which are all assumed to be almost the same, custom signs differ from manufacturer to manufacturer, with a lot depending on the integrity, design capability and professionalism of the sign maker.

It is for this reason that when a buyer of signage gets multiple quotes, and they are all ‘saying’ the same thing, but the prices have a great variance (in my personal opinion more than 30%), the buyer should be asking for samples of materials and probably asking for references. It is quite possible that the buyer is about to get a bargain of note, because there are many sign businesses who unfortunately, for their own good and long term success, do not quite understand pricing and margins, so the buyer could well get a bargain. On the other hand, the buyer may believe that they are getting something they are not.

This article was originally published by SignForce.

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