More signs are not a cure for a bad business model



As an urban planner, I find it amazing how sign companies can routinely convince business owners that large, flashy, expensive, and abundant signage will be an instant solution to their business woes. In some very rare cases this might be possible. But, in the end, if you have a bad business plan, provide lousy customer service, choose a bad location, or simply have a poorly thought out idea, all the signage in the world is not going to solve the lack of customers.

Still, in vain attempts to stay afloat, businesses will fall prey to all sorts of goofy (and often illegal) signage ideas, including:

  • Cutting down most, if not all, of the required street trees to make their existing sign(s) or business more visible.
  • Adding signs on portable trailers, often with flashing light bulbs around the perimeter of the sign.
  • Parking a delivery van, truck, or in one case a brightly painted school bus (similar to the Partridge Family) near the street in front of the business.
  • Installing a plethora of flags along the entire street frontage.
  • Flying a flag the size of Montana to draw more attention.
  • Placing giant inflatable gorillas on the roof or in the parking lot.
  • Putting stake signs at nearly every street intersection within five miles on those days the local community offices are closed.
  • Plastering entire windows with signage. This is a particularly dumb move as in as first responders would have no idea what want taking place inside.

If all the dollars wasted on this fluff were instead being used to improve the product, service, or the operation, frustrated business owners may not have needed to go sign crazy in the first place. Customers will find a well-run business as word of mouth is always the best advertising.

This entry was posted in advertising, branding, cities, civics, commerce, Communications, consumerism, government, infrastructure, land use, landscape architecture, planning, product design, signs, transportation, urban planning, visual pollution, zoning and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to More signs are not a cure for a bad business model

  1. Katie McCaskey says:

    Cutting down trees is the saddest!


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