Creating a sign for your business is very important, but where do you start? In this episode, host Ken Courtright talks about having a good sign for your business, and how we should also always reinvent ourselves to become consistently marketable. People notice what is easy to read and new to their surroundings, so it is imperative that we always make a clear and catchy sign for our establishment.
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Some of you know that I got my start in 1992, starting my growth consulting practice representing indoor and outdoor electric signs. That was our hook to get in the door. We would knock on doors across the country. We have about 400 signs in Alaska still standing. I haven’t done a sign since 1999. We would start with signage and then it would carry us over into radio into what’s called Valpak direct mail and all these different types of marketing. The concept is in the world of marketing, you can do major positive damage if you’ve got a good outdoor electric sign. I want to paint a picture and then I’m going to take this off of signage and talk about marketing in general.
Back in the day, we would walk into a business, especially if they had a wooden sign and we would walk in. We’d mentioned who we are, who we work with and say, “We’ve got something we would like to show you. It’s more purely statistical and then we’ll leave you some information behind, etc.” What we would do is we would show them that based on the letter height of the name of their company on their wooden sign out front, you could physically measure how many people driving by are looking at their business. I’ll give you an example. An inch of letter height is readable from 30 feet away. If you have a ten-inch letter that says ABC’s Pizza, people from 300 feet away driving by could read ABC’s Pizza.
If they’re twenty inches tall, you could be 600 feet away and start reading ABC’s Pizza. The key is this, the taller the letters, the further away you can catch a glimpse of that sign. On that little exercise alone, you can see that in every city, McDonald’s many times even pays a fine or a fee to go against the ordinance for the height of the letter M in McDonald’s or the golden arches. They know the bigger the golden arches, the further away that your children can see them and start salivating for French fries. The concept is simple. The bigger the letter height, the further away people could see your sign. A wooden sign, you have to shine lights on it. In the Midwest, when it gets dark at 4:00 and the sun rises and sets at different times, most of the time, you’re in the dark.In the world of marketing, you can do major positive damage if you've got a good outdoor electric sign. Click To Tweet
That wooden signs in the dark, even if you shine lights on it, it’s inferior compared to an electric sign where the lights are on the inside. It’s shining through the message or the name of the business to all the people driving by. The stats were amazingly positive when you would switch from a wooden sign to an electric sign and raise the letter height for a business. I cannot tell you how many hundreds, if not thousands of people, we were able to talk into leaving a wooden sign, jumping into an electric sign and raising the letter height. We have over 400 written one-page testimonials. This is back in the days where they had to mail the testimonial. Can you imagine how much we must have increased their business if a business owner took the time to handwrite a great testimonial and then go to the post office or stick it in the mail? It was amazing.
An electric sign would electrify a business and then word would spread, “You got to work with Ken and his team. Let them do a facelift in front of your business.” Even if we did say a $10,000, $20,000 or $50,000 electric sign out front, what’s amazing is in just a 12 to 20-week period of time, a percentage of the people driving by would never see that business again even though they were driving by, because they drove by every day in that business. Even though they have this incredibly gorgeous electric sign, it would then fade into the scenery. The point is this, when you’re driving by the same place every day and you see the same scenery every day, only the new stuff jumps out.
What we had to then teach these business owners during the initial presentation is, “You are going to get blown away by the foot traffic that comes in immediately after installing an electric sign.” It blows them away and it does every time because people didn’t even know they were there half the time. All of a sudden, you’re going to see this slow bleed over six months. We would teach them that in your windows, in your storefront or out front by the parking lot, you’ve got to come up with something incredibly different and creative every 12 to 20 weeks. Psychologically, people need to see something new from you every 12 to 20 weeks.
McDonald’s, every 12 to 20 weeks, has a dramatically different window display in even the smallest towns. Every 2 to 5 years, McDonald’s even paints the roof of their buildings a different color. Every one year, McDonald’s does something drastic, out-front balloon on the rooftop or a WCCQ radio station playing from the parking lot. They’re always on the cutting edge with their location, making sure they never permanently blend into the scenery. How does this affect you guys reading this? Let me ask you something. Is there any difference between your business and how it’s set up and the business with a wooden sign? I’m going to say probably not.
Most people reading this, I don’t care what you do for a living and how your business is set up. You might not even have a storefront. You might be an affiliate for a vitamin line or you market things online. I’m here to tell you. You have a wooden sign. If you haven’t changed your website, newsletter, blog roll and direct mail pieces, if you’re not launching shock-and-awe boxes once a year, if you’re not drastically updating your website graphically grabbing them every 12 to 20 weeks, if you’re not reinventing yourself going to meetups, you have a wooden sign. Here’s what I heard somebody say in my men’s group, “When’s the first time you did something new that you used to do all the time?”
The first thing I thought to myself is certain types of sales calls. I used to whale hunt, meaning I pick up the phone and call big businesses on the thrill of trying to land a big deal. I haven’t done that in several years. You have a wooden sign right now. Everybody reading, I don’t care if you’re a manager for a publicly-traded company. You have a brand. You are the message. You personally are your company’s brand and you’re carrying around a wooden sign. Put some lights inside, meaning inside of you. Start reading a new book every week. Start attending conferences. Start getting fresh and new and make a commitment.
Say to yourself, “Every 12 to 20 weeks, the people I’m closest with, the people I coach and mentor, the people I mentor under, the people I work with and my clients, I need to reinvent myself because I look stale every 12 to 20 weeks.” I’ll give you an example of a phrase that I’m trying to come up. If you currently drive a 2012 Honda Civic, you see the 2012 Honda Civic everywhere you go. You notice them, “There’s my car. I see my car.” It’s even funny when they pull up right next to you. You see what you’re in. What’s interesting is the previous car you used to have or the car you had before that, you still see them, but they don’t jump out and slap you in the face. They have faded away to the same degree that the previous cars you used to drive fade away. You no longer see them.
All of the people around you, that’s how they view you personally and your brand if you’re not continually reinventing your brand, the face, the logo, and the design of your company. See if any major company still has the same looking homepage. If you want to see evidence of this, go to Archive.org and go back every 3 to 5 years of every major company. Look at what their websites used to look and look at how often they’re reinventing their image that is forward out there in the marketplace. The point of this call is everybody has a wooden sign. It’s time that we start giving that facelift every 12 to 20 weeks, shining from the inside out and making a conscious effort to change continually. I’m not launching marketing techniques that worked in 2012, 1988 or 1960. Talk to you guys soon. Take care.