Friday, March 14, 2014

Facilities Budget or Marketing Budget? Why not both?

I've been asked by one of my clients for some preliminary budget numbers for signage on a facility remodel.  There are huge expenditures in demolition, expansion, and construction, but the signage requirements are relatively minimal.

In a situation like this, it is sometimes best to ask, "Why go through all this trouble of a remodel, and try to save on signage?"  Isn't the purpose of a remodel ultimately to improve the customer experience or increase capacity, both of which are means to an end of more profit?  Isn't that what signage is aimed at?  It is the equivalent of producing a really great radio ad, with no phone number, website, or business name.  Great ad, but it's not going to profit you...

Of course, this client understands all this, and is open to suggestions on signage.  One of the first things we discovered in our investigation was an exposure to a high-density freeway.  There was a sign there, but it was half the size that the city's code allowed.  This will require quite an expenditure, as a new excavation, foundation, and support pole will be required.  However, in the scheme of building a huge expansion to grow the business, a freeway visible sign is worth 10 times it's expense.  It is the most valuable long-term marketing expense.

What makes the property so valuable?  Exposure to traffic.  What is the traffic exposed to?  A brand new facility.  What is this beautiful new facility?  I don't know.  Isn't there a sign there?  Oh, I can't read it.  It was too small.  It was hard to tell because of the color.  I didn't even notice it, because I was looking at the catchy sign next door.

Signs are not just the necessary evil of a construction project.  They are there for the same reason the project is getting done in the first place: to attract attention to that facility.