The amount of signage in a restaurant can be overwhelming. Here are some tips to keep it simple and effective.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, businesses have needed to communicate multiple messages to customers quickly and effectively, especially those in-store. Early on there was a pressing focus on what brands were doing to keep their guests and shoppers safe amid the stress and uncertainty of lockdowns and reopening. First it was social distancing and cleaning protocols. Next it was notices of mask policies, later followed by vaccination requirements.
Soon the growing list of customer communications began reading like a bulletin board in a company break room. Retailers and restaurateurs that might have previously had a “clean door” policy or a messaging hierarchy in place now had locations overrun with signage and information.
Time passed and circumstances changed, but the assortment of extra signs remained. Overwhelmed shoppers now often have no idea of where to look first or what the priority messages are. Further, jaded customers no longer take note of the signage array, other than to note the aesthetics of the clutter.
So, what can we learn and enact today from this proliferation (and accumulation) of signage? Let’s explore.
The current state of signage
A recent study surveyed various businesses and branded environments, from hotels to big box retailers to QSRs, on signage and in-store messaging. The findings revealed a shift in the messaging brands are highlighting compared to the start of COVID. What was once solely safety protocols overwhelming entry doors and windows has been joined by hiring, delivery, online ordering, causes or community service and so much more.
While it is necessary to share important information, such as safety precautions or business offerings, remembering that providing shoppers/guests with the best buying experience possible needs to remain the top priority. Often, having overwhelming entryways with multiple messages leave those entering uncertain of the key messages.
Worst case, they’ll just ignore the signage altogether.
However, many businesses have considered this and decided to take a new tactic.
A signage revamp
In lieu of one sign for every notice, consider a combined messaging approach. Having all related messaging housed together on one sign provides a sense of organization and rigor. It’s low-key but also provides clear information to the customers who needs to be informed about new protocols, offerings or processes set in place.
Now more than ever, it remains vital to focus on your business and how your brand can best communicate with customers and support their many paths to purchase. The retail industry is continuing to shift, and expectations are rapidly changing.
The messaging that should be front and center on your windows and doors should speak about your products and visually celebrate your brand. Highlight the products and services that you want customers to be most aware of and purchase. Although this may be a lot of information for the common customer who just wants to get in and out, there are effective methods that will allow the message to be positively received by most guests.
Developing a plan
Start by reviewing all the signage you currently have in place. Inventory all needed general signs and the promotionally oriented messages for the next 6-12 months. Determine which messages must live on the doors and windows and which communications are more effective elsewhere.
Based on your understanding of what is vital for your business, develop a plan-o-gram — a schematic drawing for displaying messaging to maximize sales — for a layering of communications that enables your products/services to play the lead role.
Brand communication is always evolving, but its primary purpose doesn’t change. It serves your shoppers and what their needs now while anticipating how they might change over time.
In other words, it’s not 2019 again. For one, the pandemic forced many businesses to accelerate the adoption of their years-ahead roadmaps, particularly digital innovation. When you reconceive your messaging on windows and doors, consider how your omnichannel paths to purchase changed and how your optimized customer experience evolved.
So, take this as your sign to take a hard look at your entryways and reconsider your signage strategy. It’s time to declutter and refocus messaging to meet shoppers where they are, now.