With election season approaching, there will soon be signs everywhere you look.
The purpose of these political signs planted here, there and everywhere is to sell a candidate or a concept. . . to brand their likeness into our minds before we pull the lever or punch the chad.
For the next several months, we will see placards popping up on virtually every highway and byway . . . and in far too many yards.
If one sign is good, two has to be better. Does the one with the most signs win?
So how come businesses cannot do the same thing? They cannot because the same politicians who pollute our landscape at election time are the very ones responsible for the sign codes that regulate and restrict signs for business . . . and everyone else!
The outcome is predictable: only politicians can have signs (lots of them!). Businesses can also have signs but darn few and only by purchased permit.
Do not get me wrong. Sign codes and restrictions are desirable and necessary . . . but the same sign codes should be in play for all entities: businesses as well as political candidates and causes?
When was the last time you voted for a person or an issue that had the most signs scattered over the countryside?
In addition, when do thnk was the last time a politician paid for an election sign permit? Now there is a revenue stream we have not yet tapped!
Back to signs for business. The purpose of business signs is to increase public awareness of your business.
Your sign conveys what you do or sell to prospects, customers and passersby. What do we actually see in most business signs?
Almost without exception, business signs are tastefully laid out, color-coordinated, well proportioned . . . and utterly predictable.
Net effect? Many business signs come across as invisible! Not noticeable. Often not readable.
Many businesses make four primary mistakes regarding their signage:
1. They under spend on this crucial facet of their business.
The size, cost and look of your exterior sign should be part of your original marketing plan and not come as an afterthought. Your sign is one place you should not economize. It is often a one-time investment and needs to be right from the get-go.
2. They try to cram too much information into the space available.
Signs need to be easy to read from vehicles that most often are traveling too fast. Just like print ads, never try to cram 5 lbs. of potatoes into a one-pound sack.
3. They attempt to blend in to their surroundings.
Blending in works in some situations but often you want your sign to stand out.
That does not mean your signage needs to be garish or Las Vegas like. Stay away from cursive and/or exotic lettering. Save that for your thank you notes.
People need to be able to notice and read your sign from a distance and usually at speeds above the posted limit.
4. They erect their sign too high (especially signs in town.
Most signs should be windshield height so that they can actually be read as people whiz by.
Tall signs are fine for freeways but rarely work in most other locations.
Your sign company can help you with design, readability and sign code restrictions. Erecting effective business signs in NOT a do-it-yourself project. Big mistake.
Here is the skinny on typical business sign code and restriction issues:
1. Virtually all local governments regulate the construction, materials, electrical or other operating components (size, numbers and location) of business signs.
Rely on your sign vendor to guide you through this maze. These rules not only change often but also sometimes are subject to subjective interpretation.
Remember that the sign code enforcement officer rules.
2. Business signs are considered commercial speech and as such have protection from unlawful government interference under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Under the Fourteenth Amendment,local governments are required to provide due process and equal treatment to all applicants as part of the sign permitting process (politicians presently excepted!)
3. There are federal laws protecting a sign company or business owner when someone tries to copy the design, artwork, or wording of a business sign without authorization.
I recall a case in Denver where a West Colfax motel constructed an expensive neon sign: Bugs Bunny Motel complete with a replica of the hare himself.
That motel was forced to make an expensive re-do eliminating all semblance of the trademarked Bugs Bunny name and logo.
4. Finally, whether a business owns or leases their sign,it is a business asset and receives the same tax treatment as any other tangible business property.
Do your homework regarding your sign.
Like many other things, you only have one chance to make a first impression.
Bob Schumacher has recently made available a new book entitled Surefire Secrets for Creating Ads That Get RESULTS! You can download the entire book for just one dollar at http://www.20do80.com