Written by Rob Lowe

Neon signs

“Sign, sign, everywhere a sign” so crooned Five Man Electrical Band in 1971, and boy, were they right. Have you ever noticed that our world is teeming with signs? As we go about our day, we are constantly bombarded by a barrage of signs; each one is trying to convey a message to all who bestow their eyes upon it. “Do this, don’t do that. Buy this. Vote for me. Eat at Joe’s. Drink this. Coming Soon! Let’s sue somebody!” These signs relentlessly vie for our attention.

Aside from the blatant call to action signs, corporations use signs more subtly to etch their branding and messaging into our subconscious. Modern printing techniques and substrates allow logos and corporate identities to be placed in the most creative of places.

Think about any sporting event or venue and I’ll bet you can tie it to a corporation. Commercial branding is plastered all over the stadium. Event signage can be everywhere: large banners adorning the sidelines, fence wraps covering unsightly cyclone fences, mesh banners encircling the stadium, adhesive vinyl adhered to large columns and formerly barren walls, numerous eye-catching spots at concessions stands, wrapped port-a-potties, you name it, and I’ll bet there’s a logo on it. All of these help tie your association of the event with the sponsoring companies.

Such branding opportunities aren’t reserved for just sporting events. Restaurants and retailers use signs to lure us in to buy their food and wares. Have you been to the mall lately? Think about what you’ve seen. If you go frequently enough, you’ll notice that companies will change out their messaging on a regular basis so that every time a person walks by they may be “hooked” in by the latest offering. These are called Limited Time Offers (LTOs). Some companies will do these 10 to 15 times per year so that every time a customer passes their establishment they’ll be piqued by the latest their store has to offer.

Where else do we see “signs”? How about on vehicles? Absolutely. What better way to tell the world your story than by turning your fleet of vehicles into mobile billboards? Yes, emblazing your corporate identity and messaging on to company vehicles is a splendid way to let the world know that you’re here and how they can make your life better. Maybe you just want to let the world know that “I’m alive and doing fine”.

By the way, I had never heard of Five Man Electrical Band. All these years I thought that their song “Signs”, which was covered by Tesla, was a Bob Dylan song. FMEB ought to have had a better sign.

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