Vehicle Branding Advice

If your business has vehicles – from one car to a fleet of large vans – you have a major marketing and branding opportunity. The giant American company 3M – the people behind Post-it notes, Scotch Tape and the inventors of wet and dry sandpaper – have calculated that if a vehicle is on a busy road, it could be seen by three thousand people an hour. That is a big number.

But forget the statistics and just use your acumen and common sense. Who cannot see the value of a mobile billboard that has one single cost over the life of the vehicle? How much does it cost in comparison with advertising in a newspaper every week or a quarterly radio campaign? It is a very cost-effective form of marketing, but there are still some pitfalls to avoid. I hope you find these “dos and don’ts” useful:

DO consider if a livery is the right option for your business. Is security a consideration? If sub-contract work is key to your business, what would your customers think?

If a livery is appropriate, DO think about what you want to achieve. A very simple graphic is appropriate if you just need to badge your vehicles for safety and security reasons, but these sorts of designs will not market a business to potential customers.

If you want a livery for marketing purposes, DO spend a minimum of about £250 for a car or small van or £350 for a Transit-style vehicle. This will get you some eyeballs. A £100 graphic is almost always an expensive way of making it easier to find your vehicle in a supermarket car park. It is not a marketing investment.

Think hard about graphic design. Above all, DON’T think that design is a waste of money. It has a cost but a good design is worth the investment many times over.

DO ensure that you give your supplier your logo in the correct vector format. If you don’t have it, chasing it up from your graphic designer is a pain in the neck, but if you want a good job, it is essential. When you get hold of the right file, save it to your desktop and back it up to both the cloud and a memory stick which you store in a safe place

Vehicle Branding Advice

DO listen to what the designer says – particularly about clutter. You don’t need addresses, fax numbers or email accounts on your design. Mobile phone numbers will make you look small. A landline number is much better. If you are very confident about your brand, like Apple, Nike or The Last Hurdle, reduce it – the brand any nothing else. This isn’t appropriate for every business, but it is worth thinking about.

However, DO remember that you are the customer. You (and your colleagues and family) will have to look at the van every day for years to come. If you don’t like the design, it is no good.

DO think about return on investment. How long will you be keeping the vehicle? How many days a year is it on the road? From this you can calculate the cost of the graphic per day it is visible. Some customers set a budget equivalent to their average order size. If an average profit per order is £400 and a customer places an order after seeing a £400 graphic on a vehicle, it is reasonable to say the investment has been returned on one order and the marketing is effectively free of charge for the remainder of the life of the vehicle.

When you choose a signmaker, DO visit their premises and meet not just the business owner but also the person who will do the job.

DO find out what jobs that technician has completed recently. Ideally, there will be a job in the building when you visit. If not, ask for pictures on your supplier’s website, social media feeds or even stored on the fitter’s mobile phone. If your supplier is competent and experienced, these images will be available.

DO ask where the work will be carried out. A purpose-built, spacious, secure, clean, tidy, air-conditioned vehicle bay is ideal. A field, a car park, a barn, your front drive or a mate’s lock-up should raise red flags.

When you bring the vehicle in, DON’T give your supplier a dirty van. Vehicle graphics are designed to be applied to smooth, clean surfaces. Visit the jet wash on the way in.

Finally, DO ensure that you personally like the design, trust your supplier to do a good job and look after your property and give them every opportunity to exceed your expectations and no excuses to fail.

Mark Meadowcroft
Signs Express Northampton 

Signs Express pink 220 logo web

“To gather more Vehicle Branding Advice, your design choices and the right options for you, The Last Hurdle recommends you pop by Signs Express Northampton and chat to Mark Meadowcroft. We have found Mark will give you just the right mix of good technical knowledge and excellent marketing acumen.”


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