All organizations establish their own benchmarks for Return on Investment (ROI) to successfully prioritize which media approaches; including signage; should receive greater investment based on an anticipated return.
Signs are physical elements that serve multiple roles for a business. A sign can reinforce an organization’s brand, communicate and inform customers, or support an enrichened customer experience.
When it comes to determining investment in signs for their projects, most organizational decision makers use one or a combination of the following three approaches:
Return Based on Sales in Dollars Per Square Foot
More notably, Hospitality, Restaurants, and Retailers make investment decisions based on how much revenue they can generate in a set footprint of space. Commercial Developers invest in properties based on how much they can charge per square foot of space and the entire building value is based on how much can be charged.
Sign design decisions are based on how much it is felt that the sign contributes to the layout and location’s value. This metric used to be more simply applied but is increasingly more complicated and thorough due to other technological approaches to finding destinations such as dynamic digital, virtual, or augmented reality applications, and global positioning software. With the perception and growth of effective wayfinding design based around organizational desired outcomes, one can see that the Signage Design consideration aspect is ever increasing in priority on most new projects.
Brand management has become a significant metric on a company’s balance sheet for measuring value, particularly if the company is publicly traded. Signs reinforce the quality of a company’s brand and have steadily become a major part of a company’s overall marketing strategy. Because of advances made by branding firms, signs and color schemes are often integrated into architecture which increases their overall aesthetic value thus commanding a much higher priority when it comes to design decision making and definition of purpose as applied to visibility and expected impacts within the designed environment.
Return Based on Experience Design Analysis
Experience Design is a relatively new management and decision-making approach as it plays an integral role in the investment process of a company who wants to establish close relationships with its customers. In experience planning, elements of the customer experience are broken into touchpoints and measured.
Touchpoints most important to the customer experience receive greater investment. While companies use a combination of the approaches, they all are unique based on their strategies for achieving success.
Fortunately, many of today’s top companies incorporate effective sign design approaches into their development strategies. The Design Management Institute, in its annual report on design-oriented companies, has measured the returns on design-oriented companies and have found they have increased in value at a much faster rate than other companies. In addition, many top retailers employ effective sign strategies, allowing us to provide a closer look at the effects of those strategies.
Design and Technology
Advances in manufacturing technologies, off-the-shelf custom materials, and graphics applications have afforded architects and designers with fantastic opportunities for impactful design at lower costs. The rise of architecture firms with the ability to integrate signs, graphics and architecture at a higher level has made signs central to the development equation. In addition, the shift of retail from internally focused malls to exterior complexes has put signs at a premium in new renovations. Even the smallest companies have more resources available to them to produce higher standards of signs, branding, graphics, and architectural marketing impacts than ever before.
(The Sign Research Foundation, 2014). Retail signage practices to increase return on investment. The Sign Research Foundation. Retrieved from http://www.signresearch.org/
The Sign Research Foundation supplies academic research on vibrant and effective sign strategies, systems, and codes. A proven resource for education, their research reports help to contribute to more livable cities, thriving businesses, and vibrant and effective sign strategies. ASI Sign Systems Inc. supports The Sign Research Foundation in their efforts to advance the science, technology, design, placement, and regulation of signs.
Liz Kelly – 2018