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5 Rules for Effective Vehicle Wraps


5 Rules for Effective Vehicle Wraps

Using your vehicle(s) to help brand your company should be part of an overall marketing and branding effort, so that what ends up on your fleet is an extension of all the other marketing your company does. Accomplishing this takes more than just manual labor and the ability to print. It requires an understanding of proper branding and the application of the rules of effective advertising with an outdoor medium.

The following tips will help you realize the maximum impact and return on investment for your outdoor vehicle advertising programs.

Rule#1: Start with a great brand

One reason that so many wraps fail from a marketing perspective is because the business has a poor brand identity and logo. The brand should always be the primary message for a vehicle wrap, unless you have national brand recognition. For small businesses trying to make an impact in their community, the message is always about the brand. Starting with a poor brand means you’ve failed before you’ve begun: by wasting money on a wrap and missing a huge marketing opportunity.

The brand is the message, period.

Rule#2: Don’t use photos

I’ve had this discussion often with other sign makers, and some disagree with me on this point. However, I believe that there are few effective wraps that use photos, and I’d argue that any wrap that uses a photo could have been more effectively done without one. The photo is not a brand identity; it doesn’t connect me with the business name. Maybe it connects me with what the company does, but so should a good brand.

Take the usual examples, like the HVAC contractor with a picture of an air conditioner. Great. Now I know you do air conditioning, but who are you? I don’t know, because I only have 2.5 seconds to view the message. Or consider the contractor and the picture of a house. Great.  A house. But are you a siding company, a roofing company, a window installer, power washer, a landscaper or an electrician? I have no idea, since the photo is the dominant element. After my 2.5 seconds are up, your message is lost amidst all the other things trying to grab my attention.

Perhaps on box trucks or trailers you can use a photo, but I’d still argue a more powerful brand integration would be more effective. National chains have an easier time using photography, because, once again, their brand is already known and the message need not be 100% focused on who or what the brand is. Small businesses don’t have this luxury.

Rule#3: Limit your copy

There’s only 3 or 4 things a good wrap needs: strong brand implementation, and perhaps tagline messaging, a web address, and maybe a phone number. Bullet lists, which look more like shopping lists, have no place on a vehicle. This isn’t the yellow pages. Would you rather list 10 things and have none remembered, or convey one to two memorable takeaways? If this truck were a billboard, how much copy would be on it? Billboards have the exact same challenges as vehicle advertising. If you prioritize your copy, it will be more effective. In general, the hierarchy should always be: BRAND, TAGLINE, WEB and/or PHONE NUMBER.

Rule#4: Design to stand out, not fit in

This isn’t the part where many might say diamond plate, carbon fiber, tribal flames will make your truck wrap stand out. Quite the contrary. By eliminating all those fills, noisy backgrounds, photos, bevels, and glows, you’ll be on your way to designing a wrap which actually stands out. The wrap market is littered with visual noise. When we see something with impact — something that we can actually read and remember — it can’t help but stand out among the visual clutter.

 Rule#5: Simple and obvious is good

If the viewer needs to work too hard to figure out the primary brand messaging, it’s an opportunity lost. The medium isn’t the same as print design, where the viewer can stop, absorb the advertising and try and understand the message. Consider that one, primary takeaway you’re hoping to leave with the viewer. What is it? And does the wrap effectively communicate it? Is it lost in the imagery? Distance legibility is, of course, a primary concern. You have very limited time to capture the viewer’s attention and have your brand and message be understood and remembered.

Are you looking to get an effective vehicle wrap made? Call us today 905.938.7446

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