For an entrepreneur starting on a new business journey, the company van can feel like a lot more than a piece of business equipment: it’s a mobile office or workshop, a road warrior that always has your back, and the ultimate opportunity for mobile advertising.
Since every opportunity counts when you’re setting up a business from scratch, all that space on the sides, back, front, or even top of your van is just waiting to be put to good use. Here, we cover some basic ways to make the most of your mobile advertising space, and offer a few suggestions on standing out from the ordinary.
Take a tip from billboards for your mobile advertising space
The basic design ideas of billboards and van-side advertising spaces have a lot in common. Both will only be seen for a few seconds, and they are designed with this in mind. The message, therefore, must be simple and clear: a striking image or logo, large clear lettering with title and venue, and that’s it. There are, of course, masses of things you could say about your enterprise: what it is, what you can do, and how well you can do it – but this is not the place. Unlike print design, you can’t assume your audience has the attention span and willingness to absorb the information. Your van’s advertising space is an opportunity to think about the one message you need to convey. This is why “minimum graphics, minimum information” should your design mantra.
Find the right medium to advertise yourself…
You have probably already thought about making your van stand out with custom signwriting and looked at the options available. But whether you decide on a simple sticker, magnetic signs, a vinyl decal transfer or a complete van wrap, design is what differentiates effective advertising from wasted opportunities. The days are long gone when van design and signage was a direct hand-painting job, so make the most of the possibilities: is your design likely to change? Do you foresee the need to add or remove information? Then magnetic signs and stickers might be the way to go. Bear in mind, however, that you don’t have to come up with everything by yourself!
…and the right level of design input
Now that it’s possible to set up a van-wrapping or decal service with just a large format digital printer, you should consider using a company that can contribute good design – and have a meaningful conversation with you about your vision. Go with a reputable company! Many of Renault’s Accredited Converters include signage and van wrapping in their portfolio, and you can be sure they have the necessary training, skills and credentials.
The complex equation of quality vs cost
A visual medium, however fleeting, requires perfect presentation, with no peeling or tatty edges or fading lettering. Hence the usual advice is to go for the best quality you can afford, on the grounds that it will last a good number of years. But it’s possible to see it the other way, especially if you’re starting a business with little capital. A design that will only last a couple years could be an advantage as, by then, your business will likely have grown, maybe changed its focus, or even developed a whole new brand identity along the way. In short, a nascent business shouldn’t discount the possibility that a redesign and complete overhaul of your message will be a positive move in the short- to medium-term.
Making your advertising space doubly mobile
There’s no rule that says the design on your van has to be static forever. You could specify a design that leaves space for a temporary message, like temporary magnets announcing “special offers” or seasonal messages. If, for instance, you run a domestic heating and air conditioning company, you could carry periodic reminder for an annual service, or advertisement for a new system. Your temporary magnet slot could provide more interest, variety and effectiveness than a permanent sign. You could also use it to promote your online presence, such as your business Twitter account, and engage your audience with whatever incentives make the most sense for your business – e.g. “Tweet where you saw us and get a free voucher/cup of coffee/quote”.
Other novelties to make yourself stand out
Using your company van for advertising is not necessarily limited to graphics on the bodywork. Novelty number plates are always an option (think “PA1 NTR”), though less impactful. More feasible and friendly attachments such as an add-on are always an option. Providing you stay within the [rules for overhanging loads], you can become all the more recognisable with water taps protruding from the top of your van to advertise your plumbing business, or fake flowers if you specialise in gardening.
Plan your parking for the best exposure
Your mobile advertising space may be a moving billboard, but it is also a stationary one. Try to take this into account when you leave your van parked somewhere –well-travelled areas of high footfall or traffic throughput will help you make the most of the message. It’s not always possible, but if you do get the luxury of a choice of where to park the van, the increased exposure can help to maximise your impact. If you park off a road with heavy traffic, it’s also worth considering a reflective scheme specifically designed to be readable in passing headlights.
Choosing the right routes – being seen in all the right places
Having spent time and resources on your mobile advertising space, it’s worth investing a few more minutes on a daily basis to make the most of it. If you commute, plan your route to increase the likelihood of being seen by your target market – say, through well-off suburbs if you’re anything to do with décor or home improvements, or colleges and universities if your business involves parties and/or catering. If you aren’t especially pressed for time, take your usual journey planning – quietest roads, fastest route – and stand it on its head. Stick to busy and built-up areas. Look on red traffic lights as your friends! Even on congested roads, you can bask in the knowledge that your advertising space is doing its job.