By Mike Flynn from Matisse Communications
In property development, signage is often a leading marketing source of enquiry. Whether it is the primary source of enquiry or acting as a reinforcement for another source is often debatable. Nevertheless, signage is an integral marketing channel for residential, commercial and retirement living projects.
Signage is frequently the topic of discussion within project meetings. Marketers often hear the war cry of ‘just get the signage up’ or ‘we need more signage,’ but there is a lot to consider and it is something that needs an upfront strategic and collective effort.
These 10 signage considerations for a property development are by no means comprehensive, but for developers, project sales or those new to property, they might be a good starting point.
1. Location, location, location
Know what’s possible! Get out to site with your signage and creative contractors and sales and development managers. Drive and walk the site and consider all signage requirements upfront so it is not an after thought.
• Sight lines for passing traffic
• Scheduled development / construction work
• Land which can be withheld and developed at the end of the sales period
• High visibility areas. I.e. road corners, roundabouts and higher ground
• Best signage sizes and angles to gain maximum visibility
Signage locations to consider:
• Main roads for billboards
• Internal roads for directional / way-finding
• Community amenities and facilities
• Sales office
• Display homes / village
2. Structural considerations
Understand site characteristics. These considerations might affect types of materials, construction and installation methods:
• Weather conditions: How windy is the location? What direct sunlight will there be?
• Is the area known for vandalism?
• What is the ground surface? Clay, rock or, sand or soil?
• Any underground services?
3. Signage permits
Create a detailed plan using satellite map sites like Nearmap or Google Earth. Plot locations, angles and sizes. This will become the working document for internal approvals, council permits, creative and signage briefs and stakeholder engagement.
With new projects, include the strategy document in the development application for council. Aim for the stars in terms of quantity and size of signs. If you don’t ask you don’t get! It is easy to decrease the sizes or number of signs than to seek approval for more signs or bigger signs.
Signage contractors can also help secure signage permits from councils. Council might want structural and installation details, so leaving it to the experts could be a good strategy.
4. Messaging - Keep it simple!
5. Imagery – Stand out from the rest
I was reading a Hubspot post recently and it stated that the brain processes visuals 60, 000 times faster than text.
But bear in mind, many types of images used in property development are becoming clichéd. For example, land developments showing families in natural surrounds; apartment projects showcasing city skylines; retirement living showing group activities. Do these sound familiar?With this in mind:
• What images best represent the project positioning?
• What images best represent the customer profiles?
• What images can differentiate the project from competitors?
• What images can create a point of difference or ‘cut through’ branding?
• What images can communicate a key message?And lastly, the choice of colours in the image or on the sign itself is an important consideration. Don’t use anything that might blend in with the background environment. Make it bold!
6. Directional and way finding signage
7. Destination signage
8. Flags and banners
Flags and banners are a great way to break- up a series of signs or if there are space restrictions, an effective alternative. Their strength is creating visual movement and perfect for:
• Project branding
• Business branding
• Destination messaging
9. Landscaping and maintenance
Signage will ultimately need updating with new stage releases, events, retail campaigns and branding.
• Keep messages current
• Consider what will replace the current campaign. Have creative printed and ready for installation.
• Brief signage contractors once for both installation and removal. Don’t have removal and updates as an after thought!
• Consider weather conditions for installation and removal deadlines
Mike Flynn is the Principal at Matisse Communications. He has spent 15 years in marketing leadership, communications and consultancy positions within property and related industries.
Throughout his career with national developers and smaller private property businesses, he has launched and marketed retail, land, housing, apartment and retirement living projects across Australia.
Mike created Matisse Communications in 2013 to provide strategic marketing and creative services for property and finance groups, private developers, architects, project sales and real estate agents.