Interactive SignsCompanies as diverse as Wal-Mart and Exxon have begun introducing interactive signs into their visual communication strategy. By placing this new technology within the customer's grasp, you are inviting them in. Still in its infancy, the potential for interactive signs is nearly limitless. Restaurants have begun to use them in their ordering screens, theme parks have begun incorporating them into long lines where customers are a virtually captive audience, and movie theaters are allowing customers to make their own selections when it comes to ordering food and tickets.
In recent years, companies and celebrities began taking advantage of social media to sell their brand. Instead of simply giving the customer the message they wanted to get across, they were suddenly communicating back and forth. This shift has forever changed the way businesses market their brand. Interactive signs are an extension of that shift.
Creative Business Cards
In an era where phone numbers are no longer written on damp napkins at the bar, is it only a matter of time before the venerable business card dies out? Some experts say that we're further away from that reality than you might think. While it certainly comes across a bit dated in a technological world, there are things you can do to make sure your card doesn't get thrown in the nearest trash can.
Among the most exciting innovations for marketers is the QR code. This little square box was unknown a couple of years ago; now it is everywhere. You can take advantage of the public's familiarity with this code by putting one on your business cards. By scanning the code with a smartphone app, the client or customer can be taken to a website for additional information.
Don't overlook the design possibilities that exist for the business card. There is plenty of room for creativity in this little square of paper. While you want to make sure you stay within your field (a colorful, clownish business card may work for a birthday magician, but it is going to send the wrong message for your divorce lawyer firm), don't be afraid to make sure your card stands out from the pack. This blog post may open your mind to some designs you wouldn't have otherwise considered.
Any company that doesn't realize what an impact the mobile revolution has had on business marketing is doomed to fall behind as the 2010s roll on. 2012 saw more people buy a smartphone than they did a PC. Even if your company has nothing to do with cellphones, you are making a big mistake by not taking advantage of mobile marketing. But this doesn't happen in a vacuum. Position your company to reach customers on their smartphones by developing a mobile site that is easier to read on a small screen. Develop applications that people will want and give them out for free as a way of expanding your advertising opportunities. Get in touch with local map applications and make sure your business is featured in local search.
Digital Displays and Signs
The most common roadblock that stops companies from replacing their analog signs with digital equivalents is price. The initial investment in these signs is sometimes higher than a business is comfortable with making. However, the benefits of making that investment are immeasurable. It saves manpower as it is a far less arduous task to click a few buttons on the computer than to send an employee outside with a bunch of magnetic letters, a ladder, and a stick. It also gives you the power to change your message at a moment's notice. Change prices, display upcoming events, and provide a community service by posting the news—all on a dynamic medium that helps keep visitors and customers more engaged.
Digital signage has already been used to great success by fast food restaurants, many of which have changed their menu boards over to the technology. Retail stores aren't far behind, using road-placed signs to draw eyeballs from drivers and in-store displays to inform customers about ongoing sales. Hospitals, schools, and malls are among the other industries that have seen a positive impact by switching. Take a look at your own company and see if there is a place for digital displays and signs as you move your visual communications strategy forward in 2013.
Brandon Serna is a small business writer working with FASTSIGNS, a leader in business signs, banners, decals and many other visual communication services around the world.