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8.26.2015

When it is a good idea to let your outdoor signage differ from your branding

Your company spends a great deal of energy, resources, and time to craft the perfect branding to accentuate your business. It epitomizes your industry, position, and knowledge. It’s tested, tried and true.

Your outdoor signage is also a primary factor that was instituted in your brand strategy. So when it comes to implementing this step, all the pieces are in place, right?

If you’ve had a second guess on your outdoor signage, even for a split second before exhaling, then you realize there are situations where breaking from your branding on our outside signage could be beneficial to at least one of your locations.

When a Call-to-Action would work better

While a great deal of marketing involves repetition and name branding, in some industries the best marketing involves simply putting your best foot forward. Or price.

Gas stations and travel industries are typically such places. Your primary branding can become simple reinforcement to accompany the main attraction: your rate. Grocery stores and retail chains typically use the signage to display specials.

When it provides a positional advantage

“Lowest price on propane refuel.” “Last chance for food and gas for 100 miles.” “Only real homemade ice cream in town.” “Best Fish & Chips in the Bay.” These Call-to-Actions quickly establish these businesses' competitive advantage. Such advantages typical bring appeal. These appeals typically bring in traffic.

When businesses have such market leadership, it would nearly be foolish not to flaunt them unless competition for the position is tenuous and difficult to sustain. If not, and you can hold your own, then it’s wise to let everyone know.

Studies have shown this also works when your business is the 2nd or 3rd rated as well. It’s sometimes better to show pride in your progress more so than pride in your position (Hint: ask Avis).

When a more distinguished look is necessary

When we say distinguished, we don’t necessarily mean formal so much as a look that better aligns with the specified market. For example, most all fast food chains alter their overall appearance to better blend in with the atmosphere. The Dairy Queen in Sanibel Island, Florida aspires to a much different aesthetic than does the one in Laramie, North Dakota. The areas of the country are night and day, but they still have a sweet tooth.

A simpler way to look at it would be to depend on a business’ location type. If a business is in a formal business park in a prestigious building, making sure your aesthetic “keeps up with the Jones’” would typically be advisable. On the other hand, if a location sits in a more casual side of town, then making your signage look like it belongs on Rodeo Dr. might turn off the customer base.

When the property lease demands it

Those pesky lease and rental restrictions. Have you ever been to those strip malls where everyone has the same shade of white for sign copy and even has the same complementary colors. That’s typically not the business’ ideas. There are no handshake agreements or nudge-nudge, wink-wink unspoken contracts among the tenants. Typically, in such situations, it’s a part of the terms of the lease / rental agreement. In fact, in such situations, there’s usually an additional fee paid so the leasing company can monitor and keep the signage updated and shape for you.

You know, so long as the emperor appears to be wearing clothes.

When the branding is in flux

In some cases, whether it is a new business, a business still struggling to find a market niche, or a startup whose endgame is to get sold, breaking from the branding out outdoor signage can be a good idea because the goal’s endgames differ from that of mature businesses.

When it lines up with the overall marketing theme

Sometimes, a branding and logo have absolutely nothing to do with a business’s front facing services. If the market identifies you by subsidiaries or through private labels, then displaying those labels as the primary focus would probably be more beneificial in the long run.

Contact us today for help deciding what the best idea could be for your outdoor signage

We’ll get the job done on schedule or it is free. And that, so the line goes, is no joke.


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