Time to reflect
Indeed, Eurosigns is already readying a brand-new fluorescent vehicle product that uses reflective tape with integrated electro-luminescence – so it can light itself without the need for lights trained upon it like regular reflective material – for the benefit of highway maintenance vehicles and workers in dimly-lit but safety-critical locations. Eurosigns’ marketing manager Gary Phipps says the firm has become an approved supplier of a vehicular adaptation of the powered light safety technology created by leisure industry businessman Andy Kimitri, who came up with the solution after encountering problems spotting his door staff within dark, club environments.
Kimitri’s new company Fhoss (the greek word for light) now makes wearable safety wear – used by the likes of London Underground and Balfour Beatty – and Eurosigns, via its RVG Vehicle Graphics arm, is applying that tech to vans and calling it Illuminated Vehicle Wrapping.
“We’re aiming for big fleets with this one-hit application,” says Phipps. “It’s manufactured specifically for the shape and size of each van and the electrical work is connected through the wiring loom of the vehicle, and then usually through the conduit of the door edging.” Although it sounds a bit complex compared to regular reflective wraps – which are still Eurosigns’ “bread and butter work”, according to Phipps – he says the new product benefits from being “fit and forget” after installation, and has an 80,000-hour life span.
Eurosigns is even planning to offer a bespoke message service using this technology, which can be retrofitted to vehicles and operated by engaging the handbrake or a separate switch to display flashing or static safety messages to traffic nearby the working vehicle.
Returning to the idea of vehicle wraps being more associated with promotion than safety, is there an argument for reducing or eliminating your fleet livery budget entirely, given the low cost, speed and reach of digital forms of advertising and messaging? Indeed, when punters can just Google a plumber when they want one, how can the livery industry compete? Unsurprisingly, livery experts still see an important role for physical signage working hand-in-hand with digital marketing campaigns, rather than one approach usurping the other.
“Wrapping can bring marketing campaigns to life by linking these offline marketing channels to digital promotions,” explains Stewart Signs’ Harris, “and it also creates a protective layer in the process, so bodywork looks fresh on removal and protects residual fleet values.” No amount of tweeting will boost a van’s physical RVs after all.
Signs Express’s Dack is similarly positive about the multifarious benefits of physical signage: “Firstly, it’s a visual representation of your brand – taking the plumber example, you’d be more likely to trust a tradesman with professional-looking graphics as you know they take pride in their appearance and so are likely to take pride in their work too.
Secondly, it’s a mobile advertisement, which has such a low cost per impression. It’s the most cost-effective form of advertising out there and it lasts for years. What better way to advertise in your local area than to have your company details on the side of your vehicle? Research by vinyl manufacturer 3M showed that more than 3,000 people saw a van on a busy road every hour during a typical working day and they are all potential customers being exposed to your company name. And thirdly, there is so much ‘noise’ around digital media, it is difficult to differentiate yourself and stand out. You definitely don’t
have the same issues with vehicle graphics where you can use the vast range of design options to really make your van unique.”
Three good reasons, then, to take another look at your fleet signage situation and consider an upgrade, whether it be reflective, flashing, carbon-fibre, eco-friendly, three-dimensional, or perhaps all of the above.