Thursday, November 29, 2012

Be a Hero- Run a PSA on Your LED Sign

- Mike Prongue

“Outdoor is perhaps the most overlooked medium of all when it comes to launching PSA campaigns. Admittedly, the cost of printing billboard paper can be expensive, but given the typical results we have experienced for clients, we believe that outdoor provides excellent exposure opportunities.

When used to inform the public about public causes, outdoor billboards provide many different communications advantages, and the total universe of outdoor opportunities is almost unlimited…”

- PSA Research Council

Some cultures, and certainly some religions, believe that God lays prior claim to the first 10% of everything earned as income. This is called the “tithe”. People through the ages have long understood to “tithe” is to give back, 10% of their income.

Whether you ascribe to this concept or not, there are other ideals such as the 10x rule that says whatever you give will come back to you in abundance, ten times more than you give. Regardless, a major component of our benevolent society is the allocation of resources for the greater good- charity, community, and other chances for the less fortunate.

If you are the owner of an LED Sign (Electronic Message Center) then you have an excellent tool that could help others. This is a win-win for you and those who need your support through a Public Service Announcement (PSA).

Unlike the above referenced “paper outdoor sign”, your LED sign lends itself directly to PSA activity since ads are easily created for near-zero cost, and can be inserted into the ad rotation with the click of a mouse. No pole has to be climbed and the PSA message does not have to consume the entire focus of the LED sign!

Here are 6 simple suggestions to gain respect, recognition and admiration in your community by using a small slice of your LED signs display cycle to give back to the community via a public service ad:

1) Help broadcast missing or exploited child information. You can receive this information directly from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children: Exploited Children. Having personally participated in this program, I can advise you to narrow your regions and keep it simple. There is a ton of information potentially available and you must be selective.

2) Approach your city or county government and see what they need. Whether it’s announcing an important upcoming city council meeting or congratulating a long-term employee on their upcoming retirement, you’ve shared information for the community good.

3) Local clubs need all the help they can get. What about the local garden club, the Art Fair, the VFW or Elks? Select a couple favorites to see what impact you can make. Just make sure their actions align with the interests of the community.

4) Be part of any community disaster plan. If you live on the coast you can work with local emergency management services to provide information about an approaching Hurricane or post-hurricane recovery information. Every area has some agency, usually county, that executes the “official” plan when disaster strikes. One phone call can get your business recognized as a community leader!

5) How do you design the message content? Usually the ad is provided. Encourage your provider to remember how fast cars drive, how far away the sign is from the traffic flow and ask them to “KISS” their subject- Keep it Simple Silly! Refer to this link for content help- Content Ideas.

6) Remember that regardless the size of the organization, their resources are limited and they need community help to be effective. Don’t be intimidated by the size of any agency or club. As is always the case, you will deal with one contact person not the entire City Council, for example.

Clearly the list of ways you can give back to your community is very long. In the early days of the LED sign industry some of the very first messages were PSAs- Time and Temperature. Now the ways to provide a PSA to your community, and gain a bit of respect in the process, are as varied as our “techology culture.”

Do not engage in the practice of “faux” PSAs. PSAs are fact, not opinion and they benefit everyone, or at least hurt no one. Stay neutral politically, maintaining a non-controversial, non-adversarial position on everything. You do not want to make the local newspaper by being labeled in any way other than “generous and genuine”.

You can follow your personal passion to some degree and even have fun with your PSA campaign by selecting broad-based messaging that you enjoy but which help everyone. But, remember that ultimately this is about the community and what they want and need.

Select your PSA messages wisely and you’ll enjoy the respect and appreciation of the community. In some ways, the PSA will get you more positive attention than anything else you could place on your LED sign.

Refer to the PSA Help website for simple ideas to get started and, as they say- “just do it!”

Note- all posts/thoughts/writings are strictly the viewpoint of me and me alone and do not reflect nor speak for Vantage LED’s beliefs, attitudes, thoughts, etc. unless specifically stated.

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