Chris' Corner: Choosing Automotive Signage

Choosing Automotive Signage

 As longtime readers, or people in my marketplace might know, I previously drove a Dark Blue Passat Stationwagen (diesel).  I had my brokerage (and symbol - "rock" and then "hot air balloon"), my website and my office phone number in white vinyl lettering on the side and rear windows of this car.

It has been the most effective (and cost-effective) single piece of marketing I have attempted.  The signage on my Passat, as simple as it is, has resulted in three listings and numerous inquiries, and only comes with a small price... any and everyone knows who is driving my car. 

I can remember driving home from a vacation in the U.S. on Q.E.W. heading to Toronto when Alec asked for a drink.  Helen passed him a carton of milk and asked for it back when he was finished drinking.  Unknown to us, he had not emptied the carton and cold milk spilled on my arm and leg.  The surprise caused me to swerve on this six lane highway (we were between Burlington and Oakville), I corrected my driving and continued on our way home.  About five minutes later I received a page from another driver informing my office about my driving (leaving no name of number).  I resisted the urge to question how they called my office, but this impressed on Helen just how "accountable" I am at all times when in this car.

In early May, Helen and I decided to trade cars.  Helen drives much further than I do, and the Passat gets much better mileage than her Kia Soul does.  Helen has told me that she has had people ask her about Real Estate while filling up fuel, while in a parking lot at Walmart... She informs them that she is not a Realtor, and gives them my card, letting them know that I am a neighbourhood professional.

Now, I would have not chosen the car that Helen did, but I was not about to trade it in...  I started to think about some kind of signage for the Soul, but never seemed to find the time to act.  I waited much too long for the company that did the work on my Passat.  After almost a month without a reply to my original request and a follow-up phone message, I decided to look elsewhere.

I searched Brampton, Newmarket and Barrie and came up with a short list of about six websites that interested me.  I took one morning and started in Brampton, went to Newmarket and ended up in Barrie (I had to drop off material in Brampton and had a meeting in Barrie late in the day so there was not much wasted travel time or mileage).

I had a two people give me rough quotes and tell me that they could have artwork to me in a few days and have the job done inside of two weeks.

Then I drove to mariodesign.ca, located on Bryne Dr. in the south end of Barrie.

Mariodesigns.ca

 
I waited for Mario in a lobby (with wi-fi) and watched streaming pictures of various examples of their work.  I found Mario to be very pleasant and professional.  He sat be at his desk, pulled up a 3D rendering of my car, coloured it to match, and proceeded to flesh out my ideas.  He then proceeded to suggest some different ideas and showed me what they would look like.  We changed colouring and within the hour had the project mapped out.  I found his pricing to be very easily understood, he prepared an invoice in a Bill of Material format, with a charge for design, material and labour.  It was so reasonable that I asked what the premium would be for reflective material and chose that.

Mario

 What really impressed me was when he told me he could schedule the install in two days (he had an opening in the morning).  I agreed and though missing a component (a QR Code to an introductory video message which will be added at a later date) had my signage installed.

Soul chris-smith.ca

 

chris-smith.ca Soul close-up

I have leveraged the marketing of my brokerage, choosing not to try and "brand" myself like some marketing gurus suggest.  The "SOLD" sign and the phrase "The sign you want, The Agent you need!" is part of a RE/MAX advertising campaign.  I will add a large QR code to the right rear and both rear side panels that will link to a casual introductory video.

Honestly, it is a little "brighter" and a little "louder" than I had intended, but with Helen's "Lava" Soul, I think it works.  What do you think?  Do you or would you consider this type of marketing?

Chris Smith CSSBB
          Sales Representative

Interested in Buying or Selling Real Estate?

  ph: 1.866.936.3500

Re/Max
Chay Realty Inc.,
Brokerage

Comment balloon 21 commentsChris Smith • July 19 2012 04:22AM

Comments

Good morning Chris,

You are making the most out of your advertising budget.

Make yourself a great day.

Posted by Raymond E. Camp, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) almost 8 years ago

You will certainly be noticed as you are out and about.  No speeding or texting while driving a well identified automobile.

Have an outstanding week with your camera in hand.

Posted by Roy Kelley (Realty Group Referrals) almost 8 years ago

Valerie, I will give credit to Mario, I was thinking monochromatic white lettering...

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) almost 8 years ago

Raymond, one advantage of this type of marketing is that local people are aware when you are working with buyers.

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) almost 8 years ago

Roy, I learned that years ago... I tend to be much more generous allowing people to enter in front of me, clear intersections, stopping for pedestrians, etc... also.

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) almost 8 years ago

Chris, personally?  I love this look.  It works beautifully together and because the Soul is an ultra cool and hip car ... IMO... I think it conveys that the driver is also very up to date on real estate and technology.  Everything is easy, easy, easy to read so you don't have to worry about people wrecking while trying to get your number.  I wish you much success and I wish Mario was in Sylva, NC.

Posted by Mona Gersky, GRI,IMSD-Taking the mystery out of real estate. (MoonDancer Realty, Dillsboro,NC) almost 8 years ago

Good MOrning Chris:  I think the ad looks great.  I too have used my marketing $ on my vehicle and often wonder if it is a good or bad tool.  I have received the same "anonymous" complaints about my driving.  I guess that is one negative. 

I was involved in an accident last year and the people tried to sue me because "I own my own Business" .  This was scary and ended up costing $$$.

Good luck with your rolling billboard!

 

 

Posted by Debi McKamie, Realtor®/Property Manager (McKamie Real Estate Services, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Fantastic Chris! Bright, Cheery, Noticeable, Effective!! We think you are going to get a real boost in your business! 

Posted by Al & Peggy Cunningham, Brokers, Our Family Wants To Help Your Family! (RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage) almost 8 years ago

I love it Chris... what a great idea... I am going to post this on my back office with the hope that some of our agents will pick up on the idea... have a great day...

Posted by Beth and Richard Witt, Long Island Cash Home Buyer 516-330-6940 (Long Island Cash Home Buyer) almost 8 years ago

Mona, Thank You, I think it will make the statement even more clearly when I add the QR codes.

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) almost 8 years ago

Debi, it does put you "out there" and that can be a risk... If I am on my way home, and I see a car that appears to be following me, I will go elsewhere until I am sure they are not following me anymore...l

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) almost 8 years ago

Thank You Al and Peggy =)

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) almost 8 years ago

Richard and Beth, if you are "out there" working, it lets all the buyers and homeowners know it.

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) almost 8 years ago

Wow, you will certainly get a lot of attention with that car Chris, it's like a beacon. You definitely have to be a courteous driver now.

Posted by Malcolm Johnston, Trenton Real Estate (Century 21 Lanthorn Real Estate LTD., Trenton, Ontario) almost 8 years ago

I like it Chris. I was thinking about this myself but we live in such a conservative community it might cause a little ruckus  ;-)

Posted by David Popoff, Realtor®,SRS, Green ~ Fairfield County, Ct (DMK Real Estate ) almost 8 years ago

I would never allow Chief Cook to put signage on any of our vehicles, but she is a walking billboard anyway.  She gets most of her business through her mouth...which isn't a bad thing.  But, if it works for you, and it does look great, more power to you!

Posted by Ron Marshall, Birdhouse Builder Extraordinaire (Marshall Enterprises) almost 8 years ago

Malcolm, even though my signage was much more understated in the Passat, I still had to be a very courteous driver..

 

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) almost 8 years ago

David, my Passat has a white REMAX Balloon, with the name of my brokerage, my website www.chris-smith.ca and my phone number all in whilte lettering against tinted windows on a dark blue passat, it was much more understated... I did not pick this colour, my wife did...

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) almost 8 years ago

Ron, I guess I could remove the signage off her car (the passat), but if it leads to a buyer or seller?

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) almost 8 years ago

It looks really powerful Chris! I am sure it will draw a lot of business!

Posted by Liz Hill (YOUR CHOICE REALTY CORP BROKERAGE) almost 8 years ago

Howdy and morning Chris

Chris my friend, that sure is outstanding looking Signage you had done, and Vehicle Wraps Signs and Graphics sure did an outstanding job!!!

Have a good one

Dale in New Hampshire

Posted by Dale Baker, New Hampshire Relocation Real Estate Information (Baker Energy Audits and Commercial Properties Inspections) almost 8 years ago

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