How to increase brand equity while protecting your most valuable branded asset

How to increase brand equity while protecting your most valuable branded asset


Tuesday, August 5, 2014 | Philip Guiliano

In brick and mortar businesses with recognized brands, signage is arguably an organization’s most powerful branded asset. The benefits of investing in comprehensive signage standards and guidelines—and adhering to them religiously to increase your brand equity—render this aspect of corporate branding a no-brainer. This article describes how BrandActive drives the development of signage families, guidelines, and standards that enable organizations to manage their brands with consistency while instilling trust and loyalty in their customer base.

Because signage can represent up to 70 percent of a rebranding budget—and because consistent signage represents valuable brand exposure to the outside world, cutting corners is simply not an option if brand equity is important to your business.

We recommend this three-step process as the foundation of a successful signage program:

1) Signage Guidelines

General signage guidelines include the graphic elements of the brand identity (the “look and feel”), proportions, white-space requirements, PMS color palates, and typography. A creative agency typically documents these guidelines which include detailed mockups of signage sizes, color usage, and the like.

2) Signage Standards

BrandActive uses the abovementioned guidelines to create signage ‘families’ that meet business and communication requirements. Different environments require different sign types. For example, in a large hospital system, a small satellite clinic has different signage requirements than a large hospital. The signage family defines different signage types so that all requirements are met. Included are:

  • Visuals of the various sign types that guide the industrial design of signs (i.e. ‘translation’ into 3D)
  • Placement/application instructions and examples (‘usage rules’)
  • Options for non-standard applications (e.g., to address municipal restrictions or landlord requirements)

3) Signage Technical Specifications

The third step is the documentation of technical specs that enable complete accuracy in the industrial design and manufacturing process of your signage including color matching, illumination, texture, materials, scale, etc. This phase also involves materials specifications, detailed dimensions, approval processes (protoyping) and installation requirements.

Good Specs Lead to Serious Savings

In 15 years guiding the transition of some of the world’s most respected brands, we’ve helped our clients realize cost savings of up to 30 percent on their signage rebranding. These savings result from a true ‘apples to apples’ comparison during a vendor RFP process, and by implementing a rationalized approach to signage replacement. In addition, for companies planning to construct or lease additional buildings, acquire other businesses, or replace worn-out signs at existing locations, having signage guidelines in place streamlines procurement and purchasing, especially in situations where facilities management is decentralized.


A well-documented signage program is an important aspect of brand management and enables company-wide brand consistency. Commit to protecting what may be your most valuable branded asset by using these tactics to maximize public perception of your brand. Bookmark the BrandActive blog and follow our LinkedIn company page for weekly tips and recommendations for brand implementation, acquisition brand change, and ongoing brand management.

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