What's Your Sign?

What does your sign say about your organization? It’s seen by a few or thousands, depending on your location. Would you buy an ad in your local newspaper or magazine and use the space in a way that confuses and/or alienates your audience?

This church used their visual real estate unwisely and I’ll guess that it didn’t motivate too many folks to come to bingo.

This one fails for several reasons:

  1. It’s not readily understandable. There are probably still people who do not understand the term comment spam, and why people who do it may or may not burn in Hell. You’ve completely lost that audience from the first word.
  2. It’s negative. Hell is about as bad as it gets and that’s what will get remembered about this church. A positive message will make the reader much more inclined to slow down or think of you next Sunday.
  3. It’s rude. Comment spammers aren’t necessarily the most scrupulous of folk, but damning them to Hell might not be the best approach. I’ve seen signs with strange acronymns, competition bashing, doomsday predictions and cheesy sayings. None of these things make use of valuable advertising space you’ve already paid for/are still paying for.

If you think the slogan is clever or the joke is funny, it’s probably a good idea to run it by someone outside your organization just to be sure. If you’re on a busy street, you could get thousands of impressions each day; something you’d pay dearly for in a popular magazine or newspaper or on a high-traffic website. Use it wisely. 

Next week we will talk about how to do signs well.What’s your favorite sign fail?

Photo credit: D’Arcy Norman

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