When you want people to really notice your multi-location brand, it helps to go big - sometimes really big - with wide-format printing. A high-quality display graphic, applied graphic, or sign makes your company name, logo, or message nearly impossible for your intended audience to miss. 

What Specific Application Works for You?

Drive down a major road and you’ll pass gas stations, healthcare facilities, schools, fast food restaurants, office buildings, car dealerships, and retail stores of all kinds - each of them with their own signs, and lots of them. So what specific wide-format applications should you use to set your franchisees or multiple-locations apart and build your brand?

The answer is: “it depends”. The form you use depends on its function in its specific location. Signs are all about conveying information, while display graphics are more promotional. This isn’t to say that one can’t do both - sometimes they do. 

To Be Informed, Read The Signs

Signage sets the tone for your physical space and it can say a lot about your business and put your customers at ease. 

Your signage shows it all - along with your logo and brand colors. You can build trust with your customers when your signage is helpful, easy to read, eye-catching, and follows your brand guidelines.

Wayfinding signs are simple. They usually have arrows that point people in the right direction to help them navigate. Think of arrowed signs in a mall parking garage, or inside a large retail store directing shoppers to escalators, checkouts, or specific departments. Again - see these signs as another opportunity to subtly reinforce your brand identity with the appropriate logos, fonts, and colors, even for functional uses like parking lots or drive-through lanes. . 

To Promote, Get Graphic

Display graphics includes lots of other items. For example:

  • Banners
  • Point-of-Purchase (POP) displays
  • Retail graphics
  • Trade show and event graphics
  • Posters
  • Retractable stands
  • Perimeter fencing and barriers
  • Lamppost graphics
  • Sandwich Boards & A-Frames
  • Vehicle and building wraps
  • Floor and window graphics

You get the idea. Whether it’s a grand reopening sale, a season-long promotional campaign, or a brand refresh, these highly visible, conspicuous, and often bold pieces enhance and enliven a retail environment or workspace.

Just remember that to truly make an impact, you have to pull off a delicate balancing act. Your wide-format products have to be brand consistent and high-quality, deployed everywhere in a coordinated way, while also allowing them to be customized (with your approval and guidelines) for their community or location.

Wide-Format In The Age of COVID-19

The coronavirus pandemic poses some big challenges if you’re the owner of a multi-location or franchise business. First, you have to make the safety of your customers and employees a priority. This is where informational signage works well:

  • At entrances, signs informing shoppers of new store hours, customer capacity, and requirements (e.g., face coverings).
  • Floor stickers and signs providing social distancing guidelines and store flow directions.
  • Designating parking and in-store areas for curbside or store pickup with large signs.
  • Reminders for employees and customers to use wash hands, as well as other sanitation measures.

Signs and graphics can also go a long way in providing a welcoming atmosphere and creating a positive customer experience beyond medical information and precautions. They can thank customers in ways that are authentic to their brands. For example, using clever humor or branding elements to call attention to social distancing markers. 

Another example would be to announce a financial donation or commitment to COVID-19 relief or healthcare responders. The point is to be uplifting in a way that sets your franchise apart from all the rest.

Final Thoughts

Remember, to be effective in helping your franchise stand out, your application should be:

  • Designed specifically to solve a problem or fit a need your franchisees have in a specific physical location.
  • Best-suited for that spot’s physical environment. Will it be inside or outside? Will it be exposed to humidity, sunlight, or foot traffic?
  • Optimized for its placement in a specific location. For example, a graphic hung on a short wall next to an inside sales counter may have different requirements than a light pole hanger installed for a limited-time event. 

And again, depending on what you want the product to do, as well as your budget, you’ll have to decide what size fits the space exactly right while also displaying text or images exactly like you want, and delivering a memorable, positive experience.

At Ironmark, we’ve helped many franchisors and multi-unit marketing teams with a variety of wide-format applications. Our large format experts would love to talk with you about solutions that help boost your franchisees!    


Written by Chris McCready

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