Thursday, December 18, 2014

Blog #199 - the year+ in review, start 2015 off with some solid education resources!

-Deacon Wardlow
All said, I lived in Japan for about 12 years. The time, people, and culture definitely affected the way I look at the world. Every December, Japanese get ready to send out their "O-sho-gatsu" (New Year's) cards. A card is sent out to the people in their life, both personal and professional contacts. The card is a way of keeping in touch with the people who've touched their lives in some positive way. Gifts are also given to people who've helped them in some way in the year - a kind of year-end accounting and "thank you" to everyone who helped them get to where they are. I love the tradition and, while I no longer send out a stack of cards each New Year's - I appreciate taking stock of the year past and acknowledging the many people who've helped, challenged, assisted, and gotten me to where I am.

This article makes #199 in the series started about two and a half years back. My thanks to my fellow "Special Ops" Director of Spectacular Media (Scott Hofheins) and our associate/friend/all-around pontificate Mike Prongue of Signvine. Our thanks go to Vantage LED for giving us a place to rant, rave, educate, elucidate, and help bring a little order to the chaos that is Digital Signage (without having to write advertorials or "sponsored" pieces, but rather sticking to the truth and helping people get educated on what matters most for LED and other Digital Signage). It's been a long road with a longer one ahead and we're glad to have you, our reader, out on the journey with us. If you read our articles and have a question - drop us an email or line (email - - or We all like to hear from you and appreciate feedback.

This will be the last posting for the year (we'll start up a little after the new year). I've done my best to sort the articles we've released into categories so you can find helpful info a bit faster. If there's some way we can help out, a topic we've missed or something to delve into deeper - let us know (we're happy to have more to write about and the year ahead promises to be a full one). If you have a moment, checkout the SignVine site (these are guys who know a lot about giving and lending a hand) -

We wish you a safe, happy, and most excellent year-end. I hope your holidays are full of friends, family, and happiness. Problems are simply challenges helping you along the path to success and hopefully we've written something here which can help you overcome the obstacles you're facing (or will encounter down the road).

Digital Signage Sign Tech & Spec:
  1. What to Expect when you're expecting your LED Sign...
  2. Providing Correct Power Voltage to LED Signs and Why 120 VAC and 240 VAC are Both Important
  3. Power Supplies
  4. Don't get screwed, modern module securing systems
  5. Front Access Design Considerations for Digital Signage and Hinged Faces
  6. Factors Affecting Image Quality on Outdoor Digital Signage
  7. How Color Values are calculated
  8. Viewing Size vs Cabinet size (big differences can add up to false $$ savings)
  9. Controller options for LED Signage
  10. Virtual Resolution (aka pixel sharing)
  11. LED Sign Components
  12. Service Access options for LED Signs
  13. The truth behind "ultra bright" LEDs
  14. Communication Methods for LED Signs
  15. Myths and Misunderstanding about LED Signs
  16. The good and bad of LED Signs and how to tell the difference
  17. Powder Coating
  18. New Coating materials (Dragon Skin)
  19. Make sure you have the right tools for DS!

  20. Standards for Outdoor LED Digital Signage

  21. Help! My sign isn't communicating! Steps to a solving communication problems.

Digital Signage Content:
  1. The New Expectations for LED Sign Content
  2. Professional Content is a Must!
  3. Real World Effects of LEDs per Pixel on Outdoor Digital Signage
  4. Time and Temperature on LED Be or Not to Be
  5. Quality LED Signs Managed Responsibly Improve the Community
  6. Professional Quality Content on LED Signs Benefit Resellers Directly
  7. How 'LinkedIn' is Digital Signage for you/your clients?
  8. Why DS Fails
  9. Keeping Content Current/interesting
  10. Ensuring text comes through LOUD AND CLEAR
  11. LED Signs & Free Speech
  12. Create a call to action with Digital Signage
  13. The benefits of PSAs (Public Service Announcement)
  14. Get the most from your website (Digital Signage is online as well)
  15. Being a good neighbor with LED Signage
  16. Content scheduling/creation (planning ahead)
  17. Use Content and Scheduling to Target Your Message On Outdoor and Indoor Digital

  18. DisplaysCustom Content -vs- "Stock" or In-House Content

  19. CMYK vs RGB and Other Design Factors for Digital Content on LED Signs.

Digital Signage Sales 101:
  1. Without a defined desire, there is no sale.
  2. ADAPT the sales technique
  3. Be a "go-to" person; know your LED Sign and DS information!
  4. What does Digital Signage Cost?
  5. Sell your company first, product second...
  6. Why Cheap LED Signs Sell Well But Fail
  7. Door to Door is Dead
  8. Sticker Shock Syndrome; dealing with cost objections
  9. LED Sign Sales- Closing Technique Suggestions- 1 of 3
  10. Closing Technique Suggestions- Installment 2 of 3
  11. Closing Technique Suggestions- 3 of 3
  12. Objection Handling Part 1 of 2
  13. Objection Handling Part 2 of 2
  14. Stop selling and start solving - Customer Centered Selling
  15. Better is Better, Always!
  16. Value Based Selling Is a Win for Local Sign Companies
  17. The cost of a system - Good/Quick/Cheap... Speed, Quality, and Price with LED Signs/DS Solutions.
  18. Wow Your Customer
  19. Build bridges, don't burn them
  20. Business Relationship Suggestions
  21. What Is True Customer Service?
  22. The Tech Train is Leaving the Station

  23. The importance of being "in" the know with Digital Signage

  24. Your Customers Return The Investment You Make In Them

  25. Keep it simple

  26. No Free Lunch, Only Buy and Sell Quality LED Displays

Why LED Signage?:
  1. Use Outdoor Digital Signage to Give Thanks, Spread the Holiday Cheer, and Grow Your Organization.
  2. Outdoor Digital Signage Helps Focus and Sustain Advertising to Potential Patrons
  3. A Road-Map to Success is Important With Digital Signage
  4. Common Misconceptions About LED Signs
  5. How an LED Sign can help business
  6. LED Signage earning potential
  7. Be different, Be Branded, Be Seen with Outdoor Digital Signage

  8. Power of Communication for Non-Profit Organizations

  9. Why Digital Signage is Important

  10. How plazas, malls, and multi-tenant locations benefit from LED Signage.
Costs for Digital Signage:
  1. How much can an LED Sign Cost?
  2. Short term gain, long term costs (cost of a "cheap" LED Sign)
  3. "Value Line" vs. Single Level of quality (i.e. why there aren't iPhone or Droid "lite" versions)
  4. Is an LED Sign (or any Digital Signage) an investment or a purchase?
  5. Selling the value of a Digital Signage Solution (LED Sign, LCD, or other)
Digital Signage 'How To':
  1. Networking Basics
  2. Securing Wireless ( WiFi ) Communications for LED Signs
  3. System monitoring obstacles and options
  4. Check The Power! Electrical Supply and Outdoor Digital Signage
  5. Basic LED Sign Troubleshooting and Logic
  6. LED Sign Permitting Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3
  7. Finding a reputable installer for LED Signage
  8. Sourcing the best LED Sign manufacturer for your business
  9. Calculating Power Costs
  10. Information on the National Electrical Code as applied to LED Signage
  11. Electrical Safety Certification Marks explained
  12. Different LED Sign Sales approaches
  13. Project Management with LED Signage
  14. Embracing new technology for business
  15. CRM/ERP Options for your business
  16. Simple LED Sign troubleshooting
  17. Importing from China (buyer be very wary).
Digital Signage 'Need To Know':

Quality vs Cost
  1. What makes a good LED Sign?
  2. How an LED Sign Manufacturer's Approach to Support Can Affect Your Reputation
  3. What's the best solution for a Digital Signage system?
  4. How an LED Sign Manufacturer's Approach to Design and Engineering Can Affect Installations
  5. China Manufacturing Stumbles
  6. When comparing LED Sign solutions (EMC/EDS/CMS/Etc), make sure you're getting what you expect
  7. Is Anything Really ‘Made’ in the USA?
  8. Domestic LED Sign manufacturers vs. off-shore
  9. Importing from China
  10. Low quality systems' affect on business
  11. Supply Chain Logistics on components
  12. Beware of a "bait-and-switch"
  13. The cost of going cheap on component choices from a manufacturer
  14. How an LED Sign Manufacturers Approach to Growth Can Affect Your Own

  15. Digital Signage Learning Curve, how to tell a good manufacturer from a questionable one

  16. China, Stack 'em Deep, Sell 'em Cheap

Warranty and After Service
  1. Isn't "The Cloud" the Same as Wireless Connectivity?
  2. Make your LED Sign Stand Out From the Pack
  3. Why cloud control for your LED sign is better than using localized software
  4. Notes on Successfully Implementing an LED Sign Program
  5. Why simple software is better with DS.
  6. FAQ about LED Signs for IT Professionals, End Users and the Industry
  7. New technology making things simpler with LED Signage
  8. Explaining LED Sign Technology Simply and Effectively to Your Audience Directly
  9. The Cloud, Cloudware, and LED Signs
  10. Statistical Analysis of the Relationship between On-Premise Digital Signage and Traffic Safety
  11. Exponential Growth for the LED Sign Industry?
  12. You Deserve to Make a Profit on LED Signs
  13. What does Web App/Cloudware mean for Digital Signage/LED Signs?
  14. Own It! Be The Trusted Authority on LED Signs and Educate Truth
  15. The Ghost of LED Signs past (the cost of going with the cheapest option)
  16. Digital Signage is more than a dynamic commercial - it's about communication.

  17. The Gold Rush Continues

  18. Financing & Leasing Options for DS

  19. Creating Lifetime Fans

  20. Demand Attention and Target Your Audience With Outdoor LED Signs

Vantage LED has white paper resources and more educational material on the website (, please check it out when you have a moment. 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 noted.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Digital Signage, Need to Know: Your Digital Signage, an Extension of Your Brand

- T. Scott Hofheins

Branding in essence is just a symbol that everyone can immediately identify. While branding cattle is pretty much permanent, branding an organization or person is a much more fluid process, a process that needs to be updated and managed proactively over time. Extending your brand to digital signage is an important part of your approach that should not be forgotten. This is true for both indoor and outdoor signage.

While it’s easy to see successful branding efforts, it can be harder to see the others because they are...unsuccessful. Good branding will include as many outlets as possible including, print, radio, television, web, and digital signage. What tends to happen with digital signage, particularly outdoor, is operators forget to keep it updated and fresh. When it’s new, it’s exciting to use and program, but as time goes on it can turn into another thing “on the list” that get’s pushed aside.

When people see you, they want to feel comfortable that you are going to provide what they need:  food, car repair, A/C service, medical care, religion, and many more. Consistency in your message is key to this and why branding is so important. It shows your viewers that you are organized and care about your product, service and customers. Continuing your brand image onto your digital signage is important to maintain that consistency.  

This is your calling card to the general public, and may be the only way some of your potential customers are able to be reached. It makes sense to treat the sign as you would any print, radio, or TV commercial. This is sometimes hard to do because of the smaller format, but worth the effort.

  • Don’t be scared to simplify the message. Take the root meaning of your larger format ads, and bottom line it for the viewers.
  • Maintain the same colors and font types as your existing ads, but tweaked for the special nature of LED signs. Some fonts may look good on print, but too thin on an LED sign. Avoid white backgrounds to maintain the viewers focus on the message itself.
  • Trust the pros. If you have a graphic design team use them for the sign too, or use a content creation service. It’s worth it.

These displays are a bit easier to extend your brand too. They are typically higher resolution (HD) and much of your existing advertising media can be converted directly, but there are still some important items to consider.
  • Keep them looking. In many cases, these viewers are already customers or have already made a decision to be one. Continue the branding and keep them happy, confirm that their choice was a good one.  
  • Continue to simplify the message. While not as drastic as outdoors signage may be, indoor digital displays still need to be to the point and readable. Make sure they flow with your existing branding.
  • More fonts and design approaches can be used. You've got a larger canvas, your media can be more content rich with videos and artistic flair to draw the viewers in.
  • Identify the role. Digital menu boards, point of sale displays, waiting room displays, and information kiosks, are some of the many ways you can use indoor digital signage. They all have different roles to play, make sure your content is displayed accordingly.
  • Trust the pros (again).   As I mentioned before, utilize your in house graphics team, or contract a service. Good content can mean the difference between a passive digital display and a powerful advertising tool.

Make sure the platform you choose to create, manage, and schedule your content will allow you to fulfill your branding goals. To do this, the platform should provide an easy and logical way to manage your digital network, outdoor and indoor. My good friend Deacon Wardlow made a great point recently when we were discussing the subject. He compared it to a tool belt, where you have certain tools for certain jobs, some platforms work well for certain applications, while others work for different ones. The key (as we always promote on this blog) is to be educated.

Don’t Forget
If you pull nothing else away from this article, remember this: Don’t forget about your Digital Signage. It is truly an extension of your brand, and should reflect the image you have worked so hard to create. If you are new to digital signage, I recommend you take the plunge and look into the advantages of this technology. If you’re already in it, take a look at what you’ve got and see if you can make it more effective, consistent, and branded.


I hope this post has been informative and helpful. As usual, I welcome ALL constructive comments. Please feel free to comment and add anything I’ve missed, or additional tips you may have regarding this topic. Please visit for many other resources, white papers, and of course: Great looking LED Signs!

**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.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Digital Signage, Need to Know: 'Tis The Season To Maximize Your LED Sign's Effectiveness.

The end of year Holiday Season is a prime time to maximize sales for retailers. While the future of the US economy may not hinge on every dime collected, as the media promotes, December does boast at least a 25% increase over the average monthly retail volume. And for some small businesses, strong December sales can be the difference between “ongoing” and “defunct”. Effective use of an on-premise LED sign by the business owner can add that extra boost that everyone is hoping for.

For churches too, the Holiday Season is prime time for LED sign usage- events, information, and spiritual messaging! This is their time to put that LED sign to work and recoup their investment by great communication and information sharing. Churches have different parameters for success than a retail operation but new worshipers, smiling board members, and a spike in Holiday giving makes everyone happy.

Here are five quick suggestions to maximize LED sign effectiveness during the Holidays, or really on any day:
  • Show- Don’t Tell.   Drivers have seconds to view your message, that is a very short exposure time.  Advertising is imagery and drivers may have the time to read words and translate them to your intended image. Or maybe they won’t have the time or focus. Just display an image. Attention spans are also short at 45 mile-per-hour, so be efficient and shoot your best shot. I always recommend professionally produced content.
  • Color Is Better. The impact of a full-color LED sign is 300 percent that of a single-color display with grayscale shading variations. With the price of full-color LED signs approaching the cost of a single-color display the extra cost is more than worth it. Go color, color is much more effective.
  • Brevity- Keep It Simple. In keeping with bullet point "Show- don’t tell", if you are using a text-oriented display message, “less is more”.  If you’re selling hot dogs (for example), leave your creative writing skills at home and opt for “Delicious Hot Dogs .99” instead of “Come on in and sample our delicious hot dogs, only .99”. Like the Geico commercial, everybody knows this, but why do so many LED signs require messages that scroll on and on and on?
  • Be Community Friendly. So many LED signs are blinding at night and that can be a nuisance to drivers trying to drive safely. With all the normal Holiday distraction, being momentarily blinded by your LED sign is not the way to attract new customers. I know several LED signs around town like this and why the owners insist on annoying every night-time passerby is anyone’s guess. Also, why waste money when there is no traffic or minimal traffic- turn the sign on and off via your scheduling software.  Use that software also to turn down the LED sign brightness at night. Remote network control is a plus- you no longer need to be at the office computer!
  • Political Correctness. And finally- relegate your political opinion, religious beliefs and humor to your online blog, church, or man cave. At best you’ll alienate ½ your customers with your political opinion. Watch your attempts at humor, as well, because you may not really be as funny as you might think and people are easily offended. Everyone already knows what the true meaning of Christmas is supposed to be so if you need to remind them, do it gently unless you are, of course, a church! Your goal is to increase sales and you need all of your customers to do that.
So, if you are using an LED sign to boost your sales or promote your organization- the Holiday Season is a perfect time. Be smart, and follow a few common sense ideas to make it work for you. Remember Santa is “making a list and checking it twice…” and he knows if you’ve been LED sign “naughty or nice”.

This blog post represents my personal perspective and does not reflect the opinion of Vantage LED, Inc. or SignVine, Inc. or any other person or organization. Thank you to Vantage LED for allowing me to pen a guest blog every 3 weeks. If you have constructive feedback please email me at  - Mike Prongue 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Thank you one and all!

-Deacon Wardlow
Thank you. Thanks for reading our blog, our LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter posts - Thank you to Vantage LED for hosting a space for open, honest, and transparent discussion of Digital Signage issues. Thank you (the readers and contributors) for being inquisitive and wanting to know more.

It's Thanksgiving in the USA and this is an excellent time to reflect on the many things in our lives to be thankful for. Work can definitely be a roller-coaster ride of ups, downs, and a lot of unexpected turns (even when you see something coming, it can still hit you hard). It's important to remember there's a lot to be thankful for.

Even when I've had businesses fail, deals fall apart, and been as low as I thought things could get (boy was I wrong there... things always had another layer of "down"), I found the things I was thankful for were the lessons my mistakes and failures gave me; the friends and family who supported me through the rough times, and the simple things I enjoyed which didn't need money or anything other than a little time set aside to enjoy.

Wherever you are, I invite you to take five minutes (or more if you've got it). Think of the simplest things which give you happiness and be thankful for them. Think of the people who've helped you out along the way in your life and think about the lives you've touched. If there's an opportunity to give thanks by giving some time or resources, do so as you'll find the rewards may not be tangible, but they are definitely amazing and give life the richness and wealth which no amount of money or things can reward you with. The biggest and best part of Thanksgiving isn't necessarily being on the receiving-end of things, but rather the opportunities to give back to those who've given us so much.

I was recently reminded of this when a partner of ours had a special request. Feeding America was looking to expedite an order with Vantage LED, but the non-profit didn't have the money for a rush request. A great opportunity for me to help an organization which helps so many throughout the year. I spoke with the CEO of Vantage LED (Chris Ma) about the situation and he said he wanted to give back something, but what could I do in exchange? I offered 1,000 push-ups to help the client - If I went a bit above and beyond by giving my time and efforts directly in the form of push-ups, perhaps Vantage LED could do the same and push the build through. Chris agreed! I've done 600 of the 1,000 (four more days of painful giving) - while it definitely hurts (I'm reminded I need to get back into shape) - the giving and reward for the non-profit feels great!

Thank you to you and yours this Thanksgiving week. If you have a moment, share what you're thankful for here (it's humbling and inspiring to see what others are doing - so please share as you're able). For those in the USA (and other places) celebrating this week, safe travels and happy Thanksgiving!

Vantage LED has white paper resources and more educational material on the website (, please check it out when you have a moment. 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 noted. Direct emails can be sent to for queries and/or assistance.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Digital Signage, Need to Know: Property Owners Benefit From Operating Outdoor Digital Signage for Multi-Tenant Sites.

- T. Scott Hofheins  

I was reading a recent article about new outdoor LED digital signage in Times Square, and the approach many property owners have taken to generate advertising revenue...partner with the tenants. This is not a new approach, we see this in many non Las Vegas/Time Square multi-tenant and single tenant locations across the USA, but the approach is nonetheless solid and logical.

This approach gives you some good options. You have a built in customer base with a vested interest in onsite advertising. This is especially true with larger malls and shopping centers, where it’s worth the money to stand out from the crowd. You can share the upfront cost of the signage with your tenants, or put it up yourself and charge for time slots on the display, or a mixture of both.

These sites can also have some great advantages with regard to regulations and permits. Many sign codes allow for increased square footage specifically for these types of properties. This is typically put in place to allow for better visibility for all the tenants.  Additionally, the length of the street frontage and property size can also provide advantages for increased height and size. This can be used to help get the most exposure from the LED sign.

While it is important to keep the traditional identity signage, using some of that space to increase the size of a high quality LED sign is really a win-win scenario for everyone long term. It brings more people to the site in general. Shoppers may initially stop in because of a certain advertisement on the sign, but as we all know, shopping is rarely a single event, but a chain reaction. Getting more people on the property is good for everyone.  

This may also be one of the best ways to generate advertising revenue for the property owner. Multi-tenant properties have the unique benefit of being able to advertise more than one business on a sign, but it is still considered On-premise advertising. This means the property owner not only has access to lease revenue, but can also gain advertising revenue from the display. Good signage like this also helps retain existing tenants, as well as ensuring the site is attractive to new ones. It is a solid investment when operated correctly.

Keep in mind, this isn’t just for large sites, it is just as effective for smaller locations. Having  5-7 tenants just means they potentially have more time on the display. Again, keeping your site attractive for existing and new tenants. This also doesn’t just apply for traditional shopping centers or malls. Signage works great on vertical office spaces as well. I’ve personally seen this work well for building owners and their tenants.

This is not unlike operating a mini-billboard. Digital billboards aren’t just for the big boys anymore. It’s been exciting to see the success of many smaller private operators in both traditional digital billboards, and on-premise multi-tenant sites. It’s no secret that there is a lot of money to be made in advertising. It’s a huge industry for a reason, and LED signs are a part of it. If you’re a property owner who hasn’t taken the plunge, take a look and you may find a new source of revenue, and a powerful advertising asset for your tenants.


I hope this post has been informative and helpful. As usual, I welcome ALL constructive comments. Please feel free to comment and add anything I’ve missed, or additional tips you may have regarding this topic. Please visit for many other resources, white papers, and of course: Great looking LED Signs!

**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.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Digital Signage, Need to Know: Brand Enhancement Using LED Displays

It does not matter if your company is a multinational operation or you work alone in the backroom of a small shop, you already have a "brand" whether you like it or not. A brand is nothing more than the world’s perception of you and your business.

Some say that “perception is reality” and it is derived by those who use your products or services, travel by your storefront, hear what’s being said about you on the community “Coconut Telegraph” and know how your business behaves when the chips are down. Somehow, either by your deliberate efforts, or by lack of attention to the matter, your “brand” has already been created!   

Yes, you can still influence the world's perception of your business, of course. And, you may as well start today, right now, after reading the rest of this article.

Branding has been called your “identity” and it’s the accumulation of all that you are.  It’s the way you are defined internally and externally. If you have not worked to create and improve your brand, then you should consider some strategies which can help:    .

        1)   Identity and Definition: Who are you? Where does your business fit into the marketplace? Think of your brand as a person, or even yourself,  and define your values, appearance, dialogue and goals.    
        2)  Customer Communication: How do you speak consistently to your customers and what do you say? What can you do to influence the customer perception and improve the relationship and lock them in for longer term? How do you respect their intelligence in your message and also create excitement?
        3)  Values and Originality: Don’t be afraid to be original, and stand up for what your company believes in.  Don’t copy other brands- who wants a copy? Always consider what the company is about and what are the values that drive decisions and actions and promote that. Just putting your logo onto everything does not create a brand.

These items point to one key word- Communication. If you are in the Sign Industry then you already realize that it’s a proven fact that on-premise digital LED signs are highly effective in communicating with passersby. Studies done have  proven that digital LED signs can generate enough new business to actually pay for themselves.

But are digital LED signs really the complete answer to branding? Of course not! Branding is the sum total of how your business is perceived but a digital LED sign is a great start to establishing a strong well-known brand, or repairing the brand image you currently have in your community.  Here are 5 suggestions, or rules, of digital LED signs that must be followed for the branding  “magic" to happen and to "Wow" those who pass by your location:

        1)     Quality Content   
        2)     Consistent Messaging
        3)     Hardware Reliability
        4)     Warranty
        5)     Network Control

Quality Content- The fact that quality content is vital cannot be overstated. Professionally created custom slides and videos are mandatory to establish a credible brand. Ten years ago, it was okay to have ANY message on an LED sign as they were “new and cool” and simply owning one re-enforced your brand. That is not true today.  Unless your entire audience is the 9th grade class at your local JFK High School, do not use content created by a student from that school, no matter how talented. Using professionally created content can make a $10,000 sign as effective as a $30,000 sign, and vice-versa.

Consistent Messaging Remember that customers are smart. They may not wish to think about the message you had on the LED sign last week, but part of their brain forces them to recall it when the new message is displayed. Don’t repeat the same thing over and over, but a certain consistency is important. It’s easy to spot the source of new TV commercials before it’s revealed to be Coke or  Geico. The sound is similar, the colors may be similar, the way the ad “feels” is consistent. So, as your team formulates an integrated advertising campaign remember to be consistent and build the brand.

Hardware Reliability- Not all LED signs are alike. If your LED sign fails with regularity, you probably are trying to build a brand using bricks made of marsh mellow.  Do your research before purchasing an LED sign. Use the Internet but also use the telephone- call some LED manufacturers and see which ones will speak with you. If you are perceived as that Taco Stand with the LED sign that flickers constantly and is blinding bright at night, your brand is in trouble.

Warranty- With a solid, long-duration warranty, one that is insured by a 3rd party and is guaranteed to exist, even if the manufacturer does not, you can keep the LED sign looking “perfect”. If you have an LED sign and you have a small problem  that may cost several hundred out-off-pocket dollars to repair, are you less likely to have it repaired? It’s only a couple LED modules that are out! Can’t  you wait awhile? Sure you can wait but can your brand wait? Several thousand cars travel by your business daily and they see what you stand for- procrastination, if you delay repair. But with a great warranty it’s fixed for no charge or a token charge. Having a sign that partially works is like having a sales rep that wears torn blue jeans to call on customers. The warranty protects your brand.

Network Control- An LED sign is a tool- not a lifestyle. It should work for you, not you for the LED sign. Flexibility in changing the message is important. Do you have to do it from a computer at the office? Really? What happens if you need to change the message on the weekend?  iPad platforms exist these days, and for the on-the-go businessman of 2014, being an “office lizard” is non-revenue generating annoyance. Do research on what is available- it’s far more than a gimmick, it is a mandatory access method.

Building a brand is a long-term effort that requires everyone understanding that everything they say and do impacts the brand. Good is quickly forgotten and bad is always remembered. Be careful, go slow, and use a quality, USA manufactured, LED sign to help jump start your brand name and image.

if you are a sign company, it's not good enough to just plant an LED sign into your customer's parking lot and leave it at that. You should champion these rules and educate the customer to help them create a strong brand. 

This blog post represents my personal perspective and does not reflect the opinion of Vantage LED, Inc. or SignVine, Inc. or any other person or organization. The images for this post are mine and I retain all copyrights. Thank you to Vantage LED for allowing me to pen a guest blog every 3 weeks. If you have constructive feedback please email me at  - Mike Prongue