Five rules for creating signs that attract attention and encourage engagement

Familiarity with a brand and its logo, and availability of detailed comparison data may be the two greatest factors in executing a strong customer growth strategy. Cold-calling, outreach campaigns, and traditional meet-and-greet linear sales processes are less relevant today, when customers are far more likely to come to that first meeting having already gathered data, researched companies and products, and analyzed both you and your competition.

Seeding that landscape so that prospects are able to recognize your brand, and easily find information about your product line are now the first line of modern marketing strategy, replacing things like direct outreach campaigns as the most effective. Towards that end, basic signage – whether that signage is physical or digital – contributes to that goal of recognizability.

Creating signs which attract attention and encourage engagement is never a simple task, and despite the small word count involved, may take several days before the right wording is achieved.

  1. Get inside their minds. The message conveyed on the sign is important, but equally important are the elements that promote recognition – such as a company logo and company slogan or catch-phrase. A picture of Colonel Sanders, along with the slogan “finger-lickin’ good” doesn’t really provide much in terms of detailed information, but it evokes a response. The reader of the sign knows immediately what the sign is about, and will naturally look closer for more information. The sign with information only – for example, were the sign to simply list the chicken dinners on offer and prices – would get less response, and in most cases, would be ignored completely.
  2. Create multiple strong slogans and rotate them. Chances are, your marketing strategy includes multiple messages. Each of those messages deserves its own tagline, and it’s not unusual for a campaign to incorporate three or four slogans to be used to correspond to each type of messaging being conveyed or product line being promoted. If multiple slogans or taglines are being used, tie them together with a common theme, as well as a common look and feel – with signage for each using the same color and font schemes.
  3. Don’t overthink it. Signage created by committee, reviewed by a dozen people in as many different departments, and revised multiple times around a boardroom table will almost never work. Leave it to a small team of creatives, with input from subject matter experts. It’s a creative process more than anything – although simple tools like campaign slogan generators can prove an effective starting point. SpeedySignsUSA has a campaign slogan generator for political signs which instantly generates useful suggestions.
  4. Combine traditional signage with smart, interactive signage. Traditional signs will always serve a purpose – but increasingly, digital, interactive signage is playing a major role. The grocery industry has particularly been very successful with smart signage, sometimes used in the aisles themselves in the form of smart shelves, which eliminate the need for manual price updating – and in an even more exciting development, can do individual targeting when used along with a smartphone app. In the latter case, the interactive sign would recognize who is passing by, or who has picked up a particular item, and might cause a relevant and individually targeted coupon to appear on the smartphone.
  5. Don’t get hung up on the call to action. “Marketing 101” will always tell you to include a call to action in every piece of marketing collateral, but that’s not always necessary, and not even always a good idea. Do you want to direct people to visit your store, or make a purchase? Yes, absolutely – but signage has two purposes: One, to encourage specific action (and in that case, call to action is needed); and two, to encourage brand recognition. On the latter point, your goal is more long-term and involves reinforcing an image, a name, or a slogan. Your goal is to put your brand into someone’s head – not necessarily to elicit immediate action, but to create a situation where, when that individual later decides they need what you’re selling, yours will be the first brand they think of.

Think of your signage as a permanent advertisement, rather than just a marker that shows who you are and where your shop is located. Get the marketing department involved in its creation (or your agency), so you have some serious creative power behind its development – and your signage will be able to make a significant contribution to your overall marketing/advertising campaign.


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