A Bad Message is Worse than No Message

Recently while commuting to work, I was stopped behind a local retailer’s delivery truck. The retailer is marketed to an upscale niche, and their brick and mortar outlets are well designed, tastefully decorated, and impeccably maintained. They offer excellent service, customer follow-up, and after-market training. The box truck I was stopped behind sent a different message. It shouted, “WE ARE SECOND-RATE!” When it comes to vehicle graphics a bad message is worse than no message. 

The Second-Rate Message

The back of the truck originally had the company’s name, web address, and phone number. I say, “originally,” because that’s not what I saw. The phone number was missing a digit and other numbers were loose or scratched. The web address was missing two characters, obliterated by rust, and the company name and logo were torn in several spots. This did not speak of quality. It spoke of disregard. So why would an upscale retailer with outstanding professionalism let this truck reflect adversely on their image? My guess is they see the vehicle as “just” a delivery truck, and not the rolling billboard it is. It screamed, “WE DON’T CARE!”

Do Your Fleet Vehicles Inspire Confidence?

If this truck is on the metropolitan streets for eight hours a day, five days a week, it’s estimated it will make upwards of 300,000 impressions, but unfortunately the 300,000 impressions made by this vehicle aren’t positive. The company would be better off to remove the damaged graphics and leave the truck blank than to travel the streets looking this bad. Because a bad message is worse than none.

And what about the customers to which their product is being delivered? Will this vehicle inspire confidence, set a positive impression, or help create repeat customers? And where are the trucks parked? What kind of an image do they project when they’re sitting still? Are they parked at the retail outlets, restaurants, and in upscale neighborhoods? Wherever this truck is parked it screams, “WE AREN’T THOROUGH!”

“Companies are beginning to understand they shouldn’t only identify their vehicles with a company name and vehicle number, but they should also advertise on the vehicle. A vehicle or trailer is a rolling billboard. Organizations that continue to limit vehicle graphics to identification, and not advertisement, are missing what may be the lowest cost per impression advertising available.” —  You’re Driving Your Best Advertising–Use it.

Your Delivery Truck is a Rolling Billboard. What’s it Say about Your Business?  

If your business rented a billboard and it became damaged, dirty, or outdated would you leave it up? I bet not. You’d either update it or take it down, wouldn’t you?

In the case of the delivery truck I saw, it would be better for the business to cover the entire back of the truck with whitewash, than to send the message they’re sending. I’m in the vehicle graphics business; obviously, I notice these things, but it’s a mistake to believe customers don’t notice, too. Do you think this company would let their storefront look like this? How about interior signage, billboards, ads, etc? They wouldn’t and they don’t. As I said, their outlets are beautiful. The message on a delivery vehicle is often only considered identification; it’s not just that – it’s advertising.

So, what’s this got to do with your business and company vehicles? When’s the last time you looked at your fleet? I don’t mean walked by a couple of your vehicles but really looked at your cars and trucks the way a customer would. “Is it time to replace your vehicle graphics? Before you answer this question, go outside, walk to your parking lot and take a close look at your vehicles. Check out your vehicles the way a customer might. Look at them the way you’d look at another company’s cars and trucks. If your vehicle was sitting in your driveway at home, there to complete a service, would the appearance and condition of the vehicle inspire confidence?

Vehicle Graphic Checklist 

_____Are the vehicles dented, rusted, faded, or scratched?

_____Are the vehicles uniformly branded? Or are there three different versions from three different eras, and three different graphic design teams. Not only should the vehicles look the same but the colors, logos, and taglines should be the same as your advertising, social media, and website.

_____Is there a visible CTA (call to action)? Is all contact information accessible and easy to read, including street address, phone number, and website URL?  Did you share you’re USP (Unique Sales Position) such as, “24 Hour Service” or We’re Always on Time, or it’s FREE”?

_____What’s the condition of the graphics? Are they faded, torn, or scratched? Are parts of the graphic design missing? A bad wrap may be worse than no wrap when it comes to your image and the public’s perception.

_____Are the graphics little more than an identification decal or do they send your company’s message.

_____Has the direction of the organization changed? Do the graphics no longer fit the culture and marketing initiatives of the company?

_____Is your message stale? Is it time to breathe new life into your fleet?

_____Do your fleet graphics look like everyone else’s? Is it time to design graphics that stand out?” — Is it Time to Replace Your Vehicle Graphics?  

A Bad Message is Worse Than No Message

What Message Are Your Vehicles Sharing? The message your company cars and trucks send is important. Whether your vehicles are delivery vans, work trucks or 53-foot tractor-trailers, customers, prospects, vendors, and employees see them.

Ask yourself these questions…If you were a customer of your own business would your fleet graphics make you proud to be customer? If you were considering buying from you would the condition of your cars and trucks give you doubt about the organization? What do your employees think when they see, or drive your fleet vehicles? Do you think your employees point at them on the road and tell their family, “That’s where I work!” with pride? What would your banker think if your truck was parked at their bank? It’s important to consider these questions because with vehicle graphics a bad message is worse than no message.

So, be careful of what you’re advertising, and if you need to polish your brand’s image, let us know—we can help.