“You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.” – Abraham Lincoln
Okay, so maybe it wasn’t the nation’s 16th president who originally said that, but he certainly could have. It’s a famous quote, not attributable to any one individual, that applies to our personal lives, professional reputations, and for purposes of this blog, the entrance signs we build for our clients.
No matter what type of property you manage – shopping center, hospital, office park, or mixed-use – the entrance sign is the first impression you will make to potential visitors.
I’m often surprised by how property managers and owners treat these prominent landmarks as afterthoughts. The fact is that an entrance sign can be the one feature that draws people in – or drives them away.
When visitors arrive, it is the entrance sign that tells them just what kind of place they’ve come to. Therefore, the big question you must ask when considering your entrance sign – whether it’s a pylon or monument – is, “What kind of first impression do I hope to make?”
Here are four keys to putting your best foot forward.
Retail centers in Buckhead, a wealthy Atlanta enclave, compete for some of the world's top brands as well as for local businesses that create world-class shopping and dining experiences. Buckhead Court shopping center, managed by our client Regency Centers, has seen a dramatic transformation in recent years to not only remain competitive in this environment but to become a destination of choice for local shoppers.
A great tenant mix has been a major factor in drawing customers back to the center. This property now features a signature restaurant, a luxury home goods boutique and several providers of spa and wellness services. The center and its tenants have also been working together on marketing and event planning to make sure that locals get the word about their offerings. Even with all this work, something still wasn't right. The center's old pylon sign wasn't creating a positive first impression.
By its nature, the commercial sign-making process does not enjoy a simple timetable. Every sign is different and so are the circumstances that surround its journey from concept to installation.
For a new pylon sign, the complete process from initial consultation to installation should take a minimum of 12 weeks. The process takes longer for more complex projects with more extensive sign needs. For instance, a shopping center project with multiple items, such as monument signs, pylon signs, wayfaring street signs, and directories, could require 20-22 weeks, at least. As you can see, your sign’s development needs to be prioritized so ensure it meets your deadline.
The sign-making process includes distinct stages, and each is critical to creating the sign that you want – and ensuring it’s ready when you need it.
At the outset, your company will meet with designers to discuss the sign or signs that are needed. It is important to attend this first meeting with a clear idea of the objectives, scope and budget range for your project.
The more clearly you are able to articulate the purpose of the sign, the better the designers will be able to serve as valuable consultants at the outset. In addition, clear objectives from the start can help lay the path for a smoother design, permitting, and fabrication and installation experience. Working with a sign-making business such as Ad Vice that offers comprehensive services – able to guide you through every step of the process – can help you avoid costly wrong turns.
From that initial consultation, the sign designers will detail their projected budget and schedule and you can determine if the partnership is a good fit.
Ad Vice Studios
David Goodwin is the president of Ad Vice Studios, a Richmond, Va-based marketing services company. David has built his career and his business collaborating with property managers, developers and architects to transform commercial properties into attractive destinations with unique brands and customer experiences.