Vehicle branding has been around in Kenya for the longest time. From the basic vehicle branding required by Kenyan law to more extensive and sometimes over-the-top branding like politicians will start doing next year.
AKSENT has just concluded some Vehicle branding for Paramount Catering, a Nairobi based catering firm that supplies quality food to offices daily and events. There are five key lessons we drew from this project and I thought I would share them in a blog post.
We would like to see you use these tips to make your branding more effective and actually achieve the purpose for which you set out for it.
1. Focus on one detail
There is so much space and you sell so many products so we understand the temptation you might have to place your entire product range on the vehicle. Especially if it is a lorry or canter!
Do you remember meeting someone who talked a lot at a mixer or cocktail party? The conversation was all over the place, one minute it was about his investment ideas, then about parachuting and sky diving, then about phobias, then about architecture.
Even if the conversation was stimulating, you will take away one thing from that conversation and it will probably be, “what an interesting guy!” It’s very likely you will forget that he sells water to offices and why his quality is better.
The same principle applies to vehicle branding, at Aksent, we call it ‘the recall principle’ keep it simple and focus on one chunk of detail about your business. The more focused the message the better. For example, saying “we will cover all your packaging needs is very clever, but, saying “suppliers of quality water bottles” is much more effective.
Action: Settle on one very specific message you want to communicate on your vehicles.
2. Use one contact prominently
It is tempting to include all the telephone numbers you can be reached on as well as three emails for three key departments your customers could email. It would show your customers you have capacity and that you are big right?
Yes, but, at what cost? With many contacts on display, it will be confusing for someone looking at your branded vehicle moving in traffic to try to copy the numbers down, every time they look up, the vehicle has moved and so they need to locate the contacts again and then find where they were in the numbers or letters of your displayed contacts or email addresses.
Action: Keep it simple for your customers, display one contact and make it prominent so it is easy to see. You do the work internally to channel communication appropriately.
3. Make your colors bold
It is a fact that most cars spend a lot of the time parked and hidden from customers’ eyes. When customers do see them, it is likely that the branded vehicle will be at speed.
That means you must invest in a high visibility strategy. A strategy that means that people will recognize your car even before they know what company it is for. The high visibility strategy scores many points for your brand as you endeavor to build a strong and well known brand.
Action: Keep in mind your branded vehicle will likely be at speed when your target audience sees it. Make it easy to remember by using a simple message and promoting your brand colors boldly.
4. Re-apply your branding as soon as it shows any age
Imagine you had a mascot outside your shop that everyone knew and loved. After a while it got dirty and a bit beat up due to weather and time. Would you leave it as long as possible before you cleaned it up and restored it?
Better yet, wouldn’t you keep it in mint condition on a daily basis so that as a reflection of your business it was always in first class condition? Do the same for your branded vehicle, wash it with regularly and with the right soap so as to maintain the branding. When it is scratched, fix it as soon as possible.
Action: Your branded vehicle is a reflection of your business. If your vehicle drives around Nairobi looking fabulous, your target demographic will assume you will handle their business the same way.
5. Keep it simple
Your branded vehicle is not the place to provoke thought, or encourage rumination. It is the place to say what you do and say it simply. Your target demographic does not have the time to take in complex thoughts as they overtake your vehicle, or as it passes them going in the opposite direction.
You do not want to take a drivers attention away from driving, accidents happen that way. You almost only want to say “hello” with a smile and leave your target demographic with that warm feeling people get when they have interacted with good, clear and well thought out design.
Action: Decide what you want your audience to take away and keep in mind the scenario where the vehicle may be at speed. Then make it pleasant enough to take in when the vehicle is stationary, like say in traffic.