Serves the Commercial Small Fleet Market of 10 – 50 Vehicles

How Vehicle Signage Can Boost the Bottom Line

May 2008, by Lynn Tilton

“If 100 people walk by this car, I guess 99 would have to touch it,” says Richard Daniel, owner of Stucco Works, regarding the synthetic stucco used to decorate six classic Volkswagen Beetles. The company uses the decorated Bugs as fleet vehicles and parks them outside of jobs.

Whether on the move, waiting for a green light or standing by the curb, your fleet vehicles’ signs tell viewers a lot about your business. The right signage prompts more phone calls, more Web hits and more visits. All this makes for more chances to sell goods or services.

Vehicle signage builds awareness and gets advertising messages out to a wide audience quickly and cost-effectively.

A study by the American Trucking Association found that 90 percent of drivers notice vehicle signage. In addition, 75 percent of those develop an impression about the company based on the signage. That doesn’t account for pedestrian traffic.

In a single year, one vehicle’s signage garners about 8.4 million impressions at a cost-per-thousand that’s far less than newspaper ads, stationary billboards and other forms of promoting your company.

Conveying the Message

“Owners and managers need to remember their vehicles are moving billboards,” says J.R. Kraft, director of business development for BuildASign.

Speed and traffic patterns affect the type of signage. In city traffic, drivers have more time to take in a phone number or a long Web address. At higher speeds larger signs and simpler messages are more effective. Studies show that viewers have a scant 1.5 seconds to see and read the message on the side of a fast-moving vehicle.

Another factor to consider, especially for fleets utilizing other media, is consistency. “We deal with customers who are looking to integrate this medium with the rest of their outdoor media,” explains Scott McLean, CEO for Di Graphics. “If consumers are seeing the same message on vehicles that they do on billboards, television, print advertising and the Web, there’s continuity in seeing the message from different channels. It goes a long way towards establishing an effective brand.”

The strategy is similar for smaller fleets.

McLean recommends keeping company messages and graphics consistent across Yellow Pages, Web site and fleet vehicle advertising.

Different-sized operations may want different types of signage. A vehicle wrap can cost $4,000 and make a big impression. However, for that amount of money, a lot of thought in communicating the message properly is necessary.

“Companies use this type of media in ways traditional media can’t,” says McLean.

Proper market research helps customize the message. Di Graphics can create a message geared toward a demographic and then use a zip code analysis to identify that audience on a fleet route or territory.

“We did some wraps on vans for Charter Communications that advertised ESPN Deportes to Spanish-speaking Americans,” McLean says.

Remember, effective vehicle signage means your drivers have to be on their best behavior, as other drivers are now more prone to associate your company with your drivers’ erratic or illegal driving.

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