Is Your Business Signage Ready for a Refresh?


Integrated marketers know well the myriad roles even simple business signage plays in the success of their operations. Banners, posters, POS displays and other in-store signs are on the job 24/7, creating interest, enticing buyers, even getting slow movers to fly off the shelves.

But today’s businesses have lots of competing priorities. And when they get really busy, keeping up with sign strategy and maintenance can temporarily go by the wayside, turning once vibrant, attractive displays into dated, brand-bruising eyesores.

How to Know When It’s Time

Here are some tips to keep in-store signage working hard and looking great, all year round:

First, walk the floor: Grab your creative team and take a stroll around the grounds. Scrutinize all customer-facing real-estate, including lobbies, showrooms, waiting rooms and counters. Don’t forget the exterior windows. Be sure to check for signs’:

  • Quality: Are they fresh looking, free of dust and in excellent repair? Material that’s frayed or faded may give customers a bad impression.
  • Quantity: Are there too many signs… or maybe not enough? Would adding or removing a few help sales or improve the shopper experience?
  • Messaging: Will customers find your headlines engaging, accurate and informative?
  • Brand alignment: Have you rebranded lately or updated your logo? Make sure all signage reflects the most current color palette and typestyles. Doing so helps reinforce a polished, professional image.
  • Social opportunities: If you’re new to social media, look for ways to include social logos and requests for likes, reviews and follows into POS and countertop signs.
    Add QR codes, where appropriate, to encourage interaction.
  • Location: Higher or lower? Closer to the front or further toward the back? Sometimes simply moving posters or banners elevates their visibility and impact on buying behavior.
  • Seasonal inventory: Think about any upcoming holidays and decide whether new signs or graphics would help accentuate the occasion and enhance the in-store experience.

Take the Next Step

If you decide it’s time for some changes, share your goals and ideas with a signage or creative services provider. A fresh perspective will expand your horizons and increase your chances of selecting the right mix of signage. Of course, there’s no substitute for experience. A reputable vendor can be a tremendous source of knowledge and ideas for design and layout, size and materials, in-store placement and other signage essentials. More of a do-it-yourselfer?
Check our post “How to Avoid the Five Most Common Mistakes in Sign Design,” and take these steps to help new signs pass the all-important squint test.

Visual Language: 5 Effects Relevant Imagery Has on Marketing


Of all the elements graphic designers use to connect with audiences and convey brand personality, imagery—the photos, illustrations, infographics, and more that speak to audiences without saying a word—is arguably the most important and impactful.

Graphics-savvy integrated marketers, especially those who caught Digital Marketing Magazine (DMM) piece on Visual Language, know this to be the case. But all marketers can take to heart these five bond-building effects relevant imagery can bring to marketing.

#1: Greater Brand Intimacy

Visual Language, says DMM, is a kind of visual shorthand that creates a perception which evokes an emotional response. For example, when brand engagement is characterized by a tone and style similar to those audiences have with friends, the familiarity deepens the bond with your brand. By using resonant imagery, marketers’ links to their customers can be more natural and authentic.

#2: Clearer First Impressions

Today’s always-on, short-attention-span culture means images are a necessary shorthand, especially establishing a visual first impression. Whether customers view a corporate infographic or scroll curiously through your Twitter feed, they will almost immediately grasp your intentions, thanks in great part to the imagery you have chosen.

#3: Effective Message Enhancement

Sometimes, especially in social media, complicated messages can be distilled into easily digestible images that give customers quick, simple cues about a product, service or company. Or as Pamela Wilson of Rainmaker Digital/Copyblogger asserts in her book, Master Content Marketing, “The best images add meaning to [what] you’ve written…they also convey emotion, evoke an atmosphere and communicate opinions… all without words!”

#4: Streamlined Messaging

Marketing of the past relied heavy on printed text to sell, convince and persuade. In today’s digital environment, marketers must grab consumers’ attention in a fraction of the time once available, using a minimal number of words.

#5: Authentic Visualization

Perhaps the trickiest part of this whole Visual Language thing is ensuring that photos, illustrations and other visual elements feel completely organic to your brand personality and positioning. Stock photos are great, mainly because they’re usually affordable and widely available. But relying on ubiquitous, low-cost stock also risks creating a dejá-vu feeling, especially if other companies use the same or similarly stylized imagery in their materials. Creative alternatives include occasionally budgeting for a professional photographer or illustrator, and learning how to shoot and use your own original photography.

PIP Greensboro Office has moved!

PIP Printing and Marking Services and Triad Signs has moved their Greensboro office to 1840 Pembroke Road, Suite 1
Greensboro, NC 27408

Stop by or call to schedule an appointment with Kathy Cates or Judy Brumley.
Let’s see what creative ideas PIP can offer to help grow your business.                     Marketing, Signage, and Print — the opportunities are endless.


Don’t Overlook These 6 Steps to Better Business Signage


What does your external signage say about your business? Are signs, posters banners and window clings fresh, new and helpful, or drab, dark and dated? Your customers’ first impression may be based on what they see when approaching your building and whether the physical pieces tie seamlessly into your brand.

The Small Business Administration recently took a look at six areas integrated marketers should consider to create more effective external signage.

Know Your Local Regs

Every city has distinctive zoning regulations for commercial business signs. These may be dictated by a zoning board, municipal code or city division, and impose limits on the size of your signage, lighting, color palette, etc. Your physical location—for instance, within a business park—may also necessitate a uniform look with surrounding businesses.

Keep Your Look

Your main external sign is a key branding tool for you, visible to customers and potential customers 24/7. This is essential when considering those elements critical to your brand: logo, color, style, font. If zoning or other restrictions apply, adhere as closely as possible to the look and feel of your brand.

Remain Practical

Your office or store may not have control over the precise font used on your sign, or specifically where it hangs, but you can control its clarity and legibility. Help customers and prospects find you by ensuring that your sign is as readable for those leisurely strolling past your offices as for those zooming by in a car. A hard-to-read sign in a script font may be attractive, but will ultimately be counterproductive.

Consider Location

The placement of signs is also important. Think about appropriate lighting for a sign that is hard to see in direct sunlight or at night. Test the location for potential obstructions (buildings, vehicles, awnings, overhangs). Your signs’ effectiveness could be compromised by poor placement, bad lighting or other impediments.

Think About Supplementing

Determine if additional signage would help attract more customers. Is your business difficult to see from the road? Perhaps you need supplementary banners, window clings or posters that help customers find you. You may be able to join with other tenants to ask the landlord for secondary signage in front of the building.

Keep Signs Spotless

Put the time and effort into proper maintenance and cleanliness. A dingy sign surrounded by burned-out bulbs tells prospects you don’t care about your business—so why will you care about theirs? Be a diligent and effective integrated marketer by keeping your signage current. If you refresh your branding, refresh your signage to ensure cohesive messaging.

Marketing with Social: Obstacles and Opportunities for 2017


A recent State of Social Media survey suggests that integrated marketers seem comfortable marketing with social media. The study of 1250 small-business B2B and B2C marketers, conducted by platform provider, Buffer, includes the top reasons businesses use social media, and discusses some channel-specific obstacles and opportunities they’ve encountered, which SMBs like yours might find insightful, and possibly even eye-opening.

Why Businesses Use Social

For example, eighty-five percent of marketers polled cite brand awareness as their main reason for using social media. Seventy-one percent say community engagement is their primary reason, while 61percent report theirs is content distribution. Only a little more than half (54%) report using social for sales or lead generation.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is that only two in ten respondents currently use social to provide customer support—a gap that Buffer touts as an “opportunity to delight customers and get ahead of the game” for companies seeking to gain an edge over competitors.

Platforms, Planning and Preferences

Facebook: Despite Facebook’s continuing drop in organic reach, 93 percent of those surveyed actively use it to promote their businesses. Undaunted, 76 percent say their use of Facebook has remained the same and 26 percent are actually posting more content than last year. Facebook video is a high priority for 2017, with 30 percent of respondents planning to increase their investment in it.

This stat, Buffer contends, reflects a growing desire among marketers to integrate even more video into channels across the board—a yearning that will most likely be stymied by budget realities and other limitations, such as these reported by respondents:

  • Lack of time (72 percent)
  • Cost of production (41 percent)
  • Lack of skills and content ideas (30 percent each)

If these obstacles didn’t exist, 83% of those surveyed say they would go full-speed ahead with producing and integrating more video content for marketing.

Google Plus: Buffer’s data indicates that marketers have begun to abandon this social networking platform from Google, though it doesn’t really say why. Forbes contends that the platform is an “officially endangered species,” while Mashable calls it a “sad, expensive failure.” Perhaps reflective of this sentiment, 27 percent of those Buffer asked plan to invest less time in Google Plus in 2017.