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Please take note, This will be the only image provided on this blog and at the moment; this logo is meaningless to you. Please let me explain why.

Logos have taken on a fascinating relevance for many as a brand marker, but I wonder how many just use it for pure vanity. At this point in the blog that is all it accomplishes. Hopefully at the end, it might have relatively more. I hope I can earn the right to keep you interested.

The purpose of a logo should be more than a signature, just like a sign on a building needs to be more as well. Yet all you need to do is drive down the road and see a building. or a vehicle, with a logo on it that tells you absolutely nothing. Sure, both identify something as specific. Most building signage serve to just remind people what building they work in. Far fewer actually raise awareness to potential customers about what they do. Somebody in a company is willing to spend thousands of dollars on developing a logo, or a sign that says virtually nothing.

Logos only hold value if they are associated with the representation of why a potential customer should care. Why should they pay attention? What value is communicated, that can be processed by the viewer for a decision now, or in the future. Many are pretty; but effective beyond eliciting a response of “clever” ? Ummm…nope.

The logo itself can illustrate many things associated with a category or segment, but unless you have the means to support that logo with an educational program that communicates what the logo actually means, let’s call it what it is. A picture. There are good pictures and bad pictures.

Let’s get specific.You see a sexy logo that incorporates a monkey wrench in the word plumber. It got your attention. An important function of any outdoor advertising mechanism. You need a plumber right now. OK, you might make a mental note and call when you get home. Or you might be reminded that you need to remember to call a plumber and Google for a local resource.

Unless you have seen that plumber drive by, or those of an associated fleet, numerous times, that logo didn’t benefit the plumber that paid in both time and money for that logo.

A logo can make you look more professional. Professionalism is important after you have arrived in the presence of an actual customer, but did the logo get you there or a referral that helped them understand your value? A logo can also serve to get attention, but, as a standalone branding mechanism, it has very little measurable value for the small independent businessperson, considering the time and money (which is the same thing) spent on it. Measure the R.O.I.

The logo in the early stages of your business life cycle is to add to your professional image and only that. It takes time for that logo to mean anything. Higher R.O.I. will be realized on the effort of actually driving your business. How?

Consider this. Predominantly communicate your value first, your logo second. Illustrate why you are a great plumber instead of trying to fool your potential customers into believing it because you have a sexy logo. I think you will get more calls from “My Mom wants me to be your plumber” with a picture of her kissing you, than a $30,000 logo treatment that everyone had fun playing with on your dime.

Don’t get me wrong. Logos can generate equity over time and to not use one, when that equity is established, is just plain wrong. However, if you are a small business; understand the importance of putting your emphasis on why your customer should care and gradually raise the relevance of the logo when your customers understand your value. Tie it in, but don’t make it the focus of your three seconds.After the important orientation phase, then a picture is worth a thousand words.

Just so you know where this perspective is coming from. Fundamentally, I am trained as a salesperson. I have corporately directed marketing functions effectively. I managed to increase volume over fifteen years at one company where my very first sales call introduced me to a customer that asked me, “Why would a bright young man like you want to work for a company that is just selling a fad? I took the sales volume of another company, where I directed sales and marketing, from about $12M to $35M in three years. To me, it is less about pretty and more about function and the generation of a sale. And not ice to an Eskimo, but providing a solution that really matters for a client. I learned in the trenches that a display of merchandise that was too pretty is less likely to be shopped. A display that looks “just” good, will actually sell better. If that is considered a bias; I am totally ok with that.

If I put my logo at the top of this page; would it have mattered? It might if you believe I am qualified to have an opinion. Or not. Only if I convinced you that I might know what I am talking about, would this logo have any value at all.

My website is gobpi.ca  Feel free to take a look if you want to see what we have done for clients we have supported.

It is very easy to place a logo on a vehicle and then think “Done. We have maintained the integrity of the brand”, but while that is relevant, the trick is to be consistent in the message associated with the brand, versus an icon that is easy to replicate.

Outdoor advertising, of which vehicle graphics is a definite category, demands a bit more complexity. It is communicating a message to hundreds of thousands of road warriors, and if you haven’t built your brand with all the other media mechanisms (TV, radio, magazine, social media) you have to pack your entire punch on your fleet…or your work truck.

Consistency of message is critical when you have a multiple vehicle fleet.

The three areas to carefully consider are initial eye candy to attract attention, then a clear understanding of why the viewer should care and finally an easy way to connect with the potential vendor.

In this case different background colours are irrelevant to the brand. The colours add eye appeal. But the message is simple; there is a Chrysler dealer in Galt. This aimed at consumers and independent mechanics who need parts. This dealer has about 5 trucks in town and every one of them ties the same message as a foundation with overlying messages on the back where a driver has an opportunity to give the message some attention.

This dealership does a great job of consistently communicating that they are there for all the potential customers they pass each day. The consistent foundation, coupled with a few variety communication elements tells the people who see multiple versions, that they offer a range of services, including those they may not see referenced. All they know is what they have seen and each time they see a new one, they have a built-in expectation that they may see another. OK, let’s call that psychological babble, but our brains have some interesting habits that consistently get represented by us all. This dealership has enough trucks on the road in a relatively smaller population town where the odds of seeing this advertising mechanism is high.

Here are some other examples of the three key issues necessary to consistently manage your message. A powerful corporate brand, the dealership “personal” brand and a consistent mesage on the back of each vehicle offering the same reason to care.

and from a different industry

In conclusion, it really isn’t about a logo. It’s about what the brand actually means. Depending on your marketing budget, how you establish that meaning needs to be considered carefully to ensure people think what you want them to think every time they see a marketing piece used to communicate to them. We call that determining the strategic communication objective. Once that important consideration is established, determining the tactical executions is far more effective.

We help you express yourself. This link takes you to our website section on vehicle graphics Mobile Marketing

Happy business building!!




What is your dealership doing to stand out from the crowd?…and it really is a crowded competitive market. As consumers decide on the car they want on-line; the next obvious decision is “Who am I going to buy from?’ This is where differentiation plays a vital role in clarifying what makes you the right choice. You can’t always categorize your demographic into male, female, 35-54, affluent, family, youth…the list goes on. You have to be all things to all people and if you can’t figure that out, you can be sure your competitors will be trying.

At the Big Picture Imaging Inc. www.gobpi.ca, in association with the Dealership Design Group, we start with the fundamentals. We want to get down to the core of what you, at the dealer principal level,  consider your approach to attracting and more importantly maintaining your customer base. We have heard the “We treat you like family” line so often now most people automatically filter that out as white noise. It’s time to get creative. Here are a couple of important things that could be your claim to fame.


You opened your first dealership in 1971. Do you know that is 44 years in business. Do not underestimate the value that presents to a customer about to part with a big chunk of their personal monthly revenue. If you got it flaunt it. We can help deliver images that reinforce the equity in that history.

 Community Activism

It’s harder to really play this card if you are one of many dealers in an urban area, but if you are the only dealer carrying a brand in a smaller town. This is important. It has to be real too. If you are going to shout from your rooftop that you care about your community; be genuine and receive the benefits that are incremental to the benefits of supporting your community. One dealer we know keeps track of the percentage of people who use their boardroom for community meetings, that come back as customers. It’s a double digit percentage. A graphic illustration on one of the walls in there that shows dealer involvement in the community speaks quite clearly about what matters to you, is them.

 Best value for the dollar; not cheapest

At the very beginning of the relationship stress value. Low price does not usually equate to best value. How do you give them MORE for their money. Is it professionals who give them a reason to buy, versus selling them the left over ice that the Eskimo didn’t need? The message of value is an important message to promote, but it has to be real. If everyone on staff doesn’t buy into the program, customers can spot a fake a kilometer away.

 Fair Dealings

A great way to do this is by having a testimonial wall. A percentage of your customers are what are called by Malcolm Gladwell, Marketing Mavens. If they are thrilled with your service they will tell the world for you. Recognize these people. Get a testimonial from them and place it on a wall that potential customers can’t help but notice. Are you taking potential customers on a tour of your facility? You should be and you should have a planned tour that reinforces why they will prefer coming back to you instead of that place where they can’t help but wonder if someone is taking advantage of their lack of knowledge.


Do your hours reflect what’s best for your customers or what is best from an operational standpoint? Do you offer shuttle services that make it easy for their vehicle to be serviced without them having to grit their teeth in agony while waiting…and waiting, Do you offer space where people can get work done while waiting. Do you use greeters to ensure every customer is acknowledged and accorded respect for them having chosen your building to have their automotive needs fulfilled.

If this is you; how can you communicate these issues so they can become a part of the equity in the brand that is YOUR dealership? We do it with the right communication images to reinforce the reality of what you offer. Not platitudes. Turn a blank wall into a communication medium to clearly let your customersAND reminds your staff every day, that the customer really is your priority. Not necessarily their wallets. Convince the customer that they really are the important issue and their wallets have a habit of being somewhere nearby.

OK, so you are sold on the value of using a vehicle wrap to promote your business. You recognize it as the most cost effective way to generate impressions at the lowest possible cost per impression, when comparing to virtually any other form of media. Now comes the tough part. Creating a design that actually communicates information that will lead to a potential customer contacting you, placing an order and paying you so you can make a bank deposit.

53 Forward

Before I get into this, think about what you remember when you are purposefully investigating the landscape to see what other people are doing. Drive along the highway where the volume numbers get generated. Drive past a rolling wrap and see what you remember from the drive by, 5 seconds after you passed it. Odds are you may response with, “well…it was blue…and there was a website on it…and I remember that the driver should have got out of the left lane, because he was obstructing ME!.This example illustrates a lot of what NOT to do. Try to imagine seeing this in real life and if you would even bother trying to decipher what they are trying to tell you.

Now, let’s consider how to make that a high value, outdoor advertising mechanism that is actually effective. A vehicle graphic is more effective if it accomplishes 3 three things.

  • Eye candy that attracts attention
  • Any immediate (and I mean IMMEDIATE) understanding of why the viewer should care. Think about what your target needs to know.
  • An easy way to understand how to get more info

Miss Honda

Eye candy is easy. We see white trucks, black and grey cars which seem to be the dominate the highways and bi-ways. A red, orange or yellow car stands out. There are a lot of colours, Some very standard that are unusual enough in today’s environment, that you will have many alternatives to pick from. Keep the colour background to a simple single colour, without complicating with a rainbow of colours because that is what will be remembered, not the benefit you want to express. A single bright (and clean) colour will accomplish step one “Look at me!!

You have now earned the right to tell them something. But be lightning quick. The more letters you apply to your vehicle, the more likely the response of a viewer will be  “Forget it. I’m never going to get all that, so I’m not going to start reading”. Think about how you filter out distractions as you are driving around. Letters mean a commercial truck. You have the radio on. Your are trying to halfway de-stress on your drive home from work. Last thing you want is some electrician telling you who he is when you have no need for one at the moment. The thing is, you may need an electrician in the future and if they gave you a reason to remember them, you could file it away for future reference. Same goes for all the trades. Any images that are a bigger detail of something that is usually small can make a huge impression, literally. If you saw a van driving by with a 4′ tall wall receptacle, what would you think? That guys an electrician. You don’t have to read it. You know it. Time lapse to having your attention and knowing what this vehicle is about is a second. You know have 2 seconds of a viewers attention left now to combine why they should care, with how to get more information.

You’re thinking, “oh yeah genius; website right?” Yes, website, but how you display your website can be a double whammy with one way more effective than another and one way being pretty close to useless. One way is illustrated below as a call to action, but there are ways to make that call based on the benefit you deliver. Don’t underestimate the value of a tag line. That tag line needs to do two things. Clearly identify what you do and clearly express why you are a good choice



Got questions?


Thanks for reading!


When you first read that question, your first glance might precipitate a reaction of “Huh?”, but let’s start by considering what both environments have in common.

Both are places where people want to be educated towards making buying decisions. Another very important component of both is that it is where people come together to find people who can answer questions. Establishing productive relationships between people is the absolute fundamental function of both environments. Once this is clearly understood, the objective of establishing functional environments that facilitate those relationships should be what drives the tactical executions that support a communications strategy.

An effective trade show booth should stop a visitor first, so anyone manning the booth can establish a relationship with a capacity to support. An effective automotive dealership environment should do the same thing.


With the paradigm shift of consumers doing most of their automotive research on-line; the value of the environment they ultimately choose to do business becomes much more important. They already know what they want. They need to now choose and establish a personal relationship with a consultant they can trust. The graphic enhancements within the dealership support that critical issue. Bombarding a customer with sell, sell, sell is not conducive to making them want to buy, buy, buy.


Communicating the “value added” that a dealership offers is that point of differentiation that allows for why they should choose your dealership over a competitor, both alternative brands and same. Understanding what your fundamental principles are and illustrating them clearly, while not stealing the thunder of the product is a balancing act, that when successfully executed, puts the emphasis of allowing the personal relationship to grow.

This applies to any retail environment. Use interior signage with a softer approach of communicating lifestyle benefits your customers can relate to, so the ground troops have a more receptive audience who are open to reasons to buy. That’s what closes deals in a trade show booth, or on the showroom floor of an automotive dealership.

Who is BPI? Big Picture Imaging is led by  Brian Spiteri  www.gobpi.ca . Brian’s background in consumer packaging marketing, combined with action oriented sales management, drives ideas associated with finding that balance of motivating action with an effective aesthetic. BPI converts ideas into the concrete applications including production and installation. Contact me at: brian@gobpi.ca  BPI is also a partner in the Dealership Design Group where we partner with JMPort Design in creating effective automotive environments Dealership Design Group


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Email: brian@gobpi.ca