I was walking through the parking lot of a local mall the other day, and I saw a new pickup truck there with a beautiful paint job (it may have been a wrap), and a logo that someone had spent a lot of effort — and probably money — on to design. There was one problem: The name gave me no idea as to what this company was or the service it was providing. Retail? A service? Candy store? Airline company? Septic tank cleaning? Home colonoscopy kits? I had no clue.
After seeing it there a couple of times, I still don’t know what the company is supposed to be. This seems to be a reoccurring theme, and too often I see vehicles go by that say “Smith Services” or “Billy Bob Inc.” or “Clearbutt Industries.” They’re just names with nothing additional to indicate what they’re advertising or what businesses they are in and no way to get ahold of them or locate them. These companies are not Nike, IBM or Shell Oil, where a name or just a logo will remind people of who they are.
I’m hoping your vehicle has a full indication of who you are, what you do, what you sell, your phone number, your website and even what town you are in. Not just “Inept Powersports” or something like that. By the way, your name should indicate “Powersports,” not “Motorsports,” unless you sell cars and trucks as well (just one of my pet peeves).
You should include the lines of motorcycles, ATVs, UTVs (and spell ATVs and UTVs properly — another pet peeve), generators and whatever else you sell. Do you service what you sell? Put that on your vehicle. You could also include some of the lines of accessories or clothing that you have. If you are known for a particular product or service, make sure that’s indicated as well. Perhaps you are good at porting or setting up suspension or performance mods or accessorizing. Make sure you let everyone know!
You’re driving a large, expensive vehicle every day that should be a moving billboard for your company. Use it! It’s far more effective than a big, stupidly expensive sign on the side of the highway. For the amount they charge for billboards, you could lease another vehicle just to drive around all day and advertise your shop — and save money!
Make the graphics bold, beautiful and bright — so much so that no one can ignore it. You should also make sure that every racer you sponsor has huge copies of your logo on the sides of their trucks and trailers as well. Again, that’s far more effective than a stationary billboard. Those folks are also always in the same locations as your existing or potential clients are. If they refuse, are they really who you want to represent you? By the way, I did some research on billboards, and the only people who tout them seem to be advertising companies.
Marketing is one of those “black magic rather than science” topics that have to be handled subtly, and with aplomb, and it’s easy to get carried away. I’ve seen too many people spend tens (even hundreds) of thousands of dollars to advertise, usually just flushing that money down the toilet.
Of course, there is a caveat to all of this. Just remember, a lot of people know who you are, and you don’t want to tick off any current or future clients. You should always be a shining example. Recently, I was at a four-way stop, and one of my competitors drove through with a truck covered in info on his shop. There was a fellow waiting to cross on the other side of the street. The shop owner could have just gone through, and no one would have thought any less of him, but he stopped, and waved the pedestrian across. He didn’t see me, but let me tell you, my estimation of his character went up a couple of notches right there and then. There is always someone watching, and judging — never forget that.
If you are an ex-Formula 1 driver who loves to push the edge of speed limits, and never stops at stop signs or loves to pass people on double solid lines, don’t advertise your company on that vehicle. Get a sports car. But, all of your shop vehicles, trailers and anything else you can think of should be branded.
This is such an inexpensive way to get your name out. You already have a truck or trailer that moves around your town every day. Make it a billboard. Make it pay for itself.