When business tycoons want to get the message out about their product or service, what do they do? Webpage ads and social media outlets are the best ways in this digital age. Traditional marketing techniques like billboards, mail outs, newspaper and magazine ads, radio advertisements, and television commercials are still used. The smartest businessmen go after their customers using every technique mentioned above and marketing stunts that are unique.
The brands that get noticed are the ones that saturate consumers with their message. They want the customers to see and hear about them everywhere. For some organizations, that means trying some pretty bold stunts. Last year the Ice Bucket Challenge was created to promote awareness and support the research for ALS. The ALS Association took a big risk that paid off. They raised over a hundred million dollars for their cause (as of October 2014). In 2005, Snapple got people’s attention by creating the world’s largest Popsicle. That marketing stunt was not as successful. Even though the Popsicle melted before they could reach their goal, Snapple still succeeded in advertising themselves.
Maybe your business is in the newspapers, on television, and online, but is that enough? Maybe you do not have “guerilla marketing” in the budget. Maybe you can’t use your product or service to break a world record, but you owe it to your company to try any technique you can think of to get the word out. One marketing tool you might not have thought of it using your security gates.
On Commercial road in Southampton, England, near the Southampton railway station, there is a business called The Guitar Store. There is almost nothing special about this music store. They sell CDs, amps, guitars, and other instruments. Why is it worth mentioning? The Guitar Store uses their security gates as a marketing tool. The outside of the store looks exactly like a guitar amp complete with a power switch and volume dials. Instead of boring gray shutter gates there is a painted speaker grill. The “Fender” logo is in the upper left corner. When shoppers walk down that street, they do not see a faceless store closed for the night. They see an instant advertisement for The Guitar Store.
There are other creative ways to use security gates as a marketing tools. Some business owners have hired artists to design their gates. Graffiti artists have taken the grills over farmer’s market warehouses and painted bright, colorful murals of apple trees and grape vines. With just a few images and a little paint, those gates become advertisements.
Businesses can learn from the architects and designers in charge of zoos. In order to promote a fun, kid friendly environment, many zoos add iron characters to their iron bars. Bars meant to keep criminals out at night delight children during the day. The silhouettes of birds perch on top. Monkeys wrap their tails around the bars like they are tree limbs. From a public relations point of view, the zoos succeed in something very simple: they are recognized at a glance. You do not need to read a sign to know you are approaching the zoo.
Some businesses add custom banners and signs to their gates. Usually the signs read like this: “Caution: Automatic Gates. No playing on or around the gate. Gate is timed for one vehicle only. Owner and management are not responsible for any injury, damage or loss caused by problems or malfunction of gates.” To compare, companies with their tongues in their cheeks post signs like “Warning: gate treated with anti – climbing paint” and “Beware of attack turtle.” Those messages do little to communicate a marketing message or brand image to passersby, but they still catch the eye. Catching a customer’s eye is the first, best step because you can then lead that watchful eye to, for example, the company advertisement on the billboard down the block.
So, business men and women, what are you going to do with that big, blank space on your security gates? You could stick with the traditional “No Trespassing” message, or you could get creative. Here are some additional ideas:
- Add some color by painting the gate bars. Use the same color scheme on your logo. If your colors are green and purple, consider painting the horizontal bars one color and the vertical bars the other. If your colors are red, white, and blue, then paint the bars red, white, and blue, too.
- Go all out and plaster your entire logo on the gate. This could be a simple sign, a six foot by ten foot painting, or even just a flat tied across the bars.
- Decorate for the holidays. Put red and white candy cane stripes down the bars at Christmas. Hang hearts from the grates around Valentine’s Day. When it gets close to the fourth of July or President’s day, use the gate bars as flag poles for the American flag.
Every business out there is looking for an edge over the competition. Even if your magazine ads and pop ups on smart phone apps are bringing in business, it never hurts to put your logo in front of more eyes. To get the customers that nobody else has, you have to use methods that nobody else uses. Try using your security gates for more than protecting your company. Get creative and use them as a marketing tool.
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