Go BIG: 6 Ways to Brand with Your Building and Outdoor Spaces

Experiential Innovation

Out-of-home advertising offers big promotional opportunities. Here’s how to make the most of them.

When you think of “the great outdoors,” do you think of forests, lakes, and mountains? Or do you see a huge opportunity to promote your brand? Outdoor advertising—also known as out-of-home (OOH) advertising—is a high-impact way to reach a wide range of audiences. Billboards, bus stop signage, and even the sign outside your business all work to catch people while they’re out and about in the world, delivering impressions in a large-format way, and they work especially well as part of a larger campaign.

And these vehicles are effective. A recent report from the Out of Home Advertising Association found that OOH advertising “produces the best combination of reach and consumer activity of all media. Consumers reported action responses—purchases, online searches, brand-related social media activity, etc.—within a half-hour of exposure to OOH advertising 22 percent of the time.”

While emblazoning a large space with your brand and message can promote your business in a big way, good design requires some knowledge of what works. Here are six guidelines to keep in mind.

Know your goals

The first question Callum Beattie, partner at Canadian advertising and marketing firm Honest Agency, asks clients is what their goal is. Are you building general awareness or promoting a specific idea? “Understanding the medium and what its strengths are is the first step. If you start designing without knowing what you’re trying to achieve, you’re not going to be successful,” he says.

Keep it simple

Graphic designer Leah McCloskey, founder of LM Studio, LLC in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware says most OOH advertising should have one visual and one key idea expressed in roughly seven words or less. “The shorter the better, because people see and comprehend these messages within seconds, often at great distances or at fast speeds,” she says. The fastest way to lose your opportunity is to try to cram too much into the space you have.

Choose the right font

Leave the dainty, cursive fonts on wedding invitations. McCloskey says fonts on large-format advertising media should be bold and easy to read. Your audience members may be driving 50 miles per hour past your sign, so they have seconds to figure out what it says. If they can’t read it easily, your opportunity is lost.

Consider contrast

The greater the contrast, the easier it typically is to read, McCloskey says. Look at the color contrast in your design, but also consider the environment where it will be. Will the colors on your sign blend into the background? Make sure you design to stand out, she adds.

Show action

Researchers at the University of Michigan and Brigham Young University released a February 2015 study that found people react significantly faster when street signs depict movement, such as walking or running. If it’s appropriate for your overall goals, such a tactic might get additional attention.

Make your contact info memorable

Your contact information needs to be simple and easy to remember, Beattie says. Specialty Web addresses or phone numbers, (for example, a pool installer may choose 1-800-NEWPOOL or www.swimbysummer.com) that spell out a concept related to your message help your audience remember where to find out more about your business.

Explore simple, effective ways to build your brand and business with graphics.

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