These are unprecedented times.
We’ve encountered challenges that have tried our societal mettle before, such as 2008’s economic downturn or the aftermath of 9-11. But financial crises have happened before, and the terrorist attacks, while very tragic, were not life-threatening after they have run their course.
The coronavirus (aka CovID-19) is challenging us in unforeseen ways. It’s an unknown virus without a known template for how and where it will strike, so the only way to effectively stem its growth is home isolation. The consequences are multi-faceted. The most obvious is the trauma of the deaths and disruptions of virus-related illnesses. The economic toll may be of a greater magnitude than even the Great Depression, with every retail sector except groceries and pharmacies shut down or extremely limited. Jobless claims soared to approximately 3 million in a week in March, and one Federal Reserve official predicted 30% unemployment and a 50% drop in GDP during the second quarter of this year.
But, as dire as the medical and economic ramifications of the coronavirus may be, the social and psychological toll may be even worse. We’re social animals by nature and forced to alter our habits radically. With no sporting events to attend or cheer for from home, no movie theaters to visit, and no church services or social events to attend, we’ve lost essential connection points that provide friendship, inspiration, and comfort.
So, where does a small-business owner fit in within this chaotic backdrop?
Despite the economic and social turbulence that the coronavirus has wrought, it’s still possible, and even necessary, for business owners to remain top of mind with the public.
One incredibly impactful way to raise awareness with the public is vehicle wraps. The cost will vary by market, materials, and model of the vehicle to be “dressed,” but $2,500-$5,000 is a substantial rule-of-thumb range. And, for that investment, vehicle wraps and fleet graphics reward customers with a high-octane cost per thousand impressions (CPM).
According to a study conducted by the Outdoor Advertising Assn. of America and 3M, a vehicle wrap delivers a CPM of $0.77, which represents the tremendous value when compared with the CPMs of a TV ad ($23.70) or radio spot ($7.75). Translated into daily and annual exposures, a vehicle wrap, on average, makes 101 impressions for every mile driven, and 30,000-70,000 daily and 10-25 million annual impressions.
And, unlike a radio, TV, or newspaper ad, where the viewer can change the channel or flip the page, someone seeing a vehicle wrap in traffic or as a pedestrian provides a more captive audience. And, a vehicle wrap isn’t required to be overloaded with verbiage to fill airtime; to create a wrap that gets results, less is often more in terms of text. A vehicle wrap has the advantage of being visible in four dimensions rather than two, which provides a more significant opportunity to use color, typeface, and various design effects for optimal effectiveness.
What do you want to say? The message you want to deliver could vary widely based on the nature of your business and its product repertoire. In these times, if your business is deemed essential, your products and services are in higher demand than ever.
To review, here’s a list of crucial companies as designated by the Department of Homeland Security:
- Supermarkets and grocery stores
- Big-box stores
- Convenience stores and discount stores
- Restaurants that offer delivery and carryout
- Healthcare operations
- Daycare centers
- Hardware stores
- Gas stations and auto-repair shops
- Veterinary clinics and pet stores
- Educational institutions, to facilitate distance learning
- Warehousing, storage, and distribution
- Transportation, including airlines, taxis, ride-share programs, and vehicle rental
- Businesses that allow essential businesses to operate
Granted, some of these will have a higher demand for fleet graphics than others. But, there’s still tremendous opportunity, especially when many stores that previously didn’t deliver products are now doing so because it helps keep their staff employed and helps maintain revenue during extremely uncertain times. Restaurants expanding into delivery service with a dedicated fleet would be particularly wise to invest in a vehicle-wrap program. If the public doesn’t know that you’re now offering this service, what better way to spread the word? Pharmacies provide a vital service and are particularly essential to the elderly population – those most at risk of succumbing to the coronavirus. A dedicated wrapped vehicle can combine this service with engaging, empathetic messaging that provides an emotional connection to match the tangible delivery of essential medicine.
The last designation on that list, businesses that support other essential companies, shouldn’t be ignored. Who does it include? Tradespeople – HVAC installers and maintenance specialists, plumbers, handymen, and others. What do they drive? Vans. What do they need to convey their business to the public? Vehicle wraps. During an economic slowdown, companies with enough capital are investing in infrastructure to prepare their businesses for when economic activity returns to normal.
And, even for those businesses that don’t deliver, it’s still a smart move to essential firms to use vehicle graphics to take your message to the streets. Naturally, while most of the public is sheltering in place, there’s less vehicular and pedestrian traffic, but that doesn’t mean there’s none. Humans are still social animals that crave connection. Smartphone calls, text, and FaceTime chats can only fulfill so much of our innate need for contact. People still need to circulate as much as is safely possible to walk their dogs, exercise, and release pent-up energy. A wrapped car or truck helps convey impactful commercial messaging while doing appropriate social distancing.
Every business maintains its own unique formula for success. However, every enterprise shares the need for cost-effective branding. This has always been true, but it’s especially important in challenging economic times to take ownership of your brand. In 1921, a cattle-industry trade journal called Holstein-Friesian World stated, “Can you afford to stop short of an intelligent, well-planned advertising campaign, when so much depends on that very thing for the results of your … work? Can you afford to be without it? We say not.”
That’s as true a century later as it was then – in today’s media-saturated world, it’s even more so.
Thanks for reading, stay informed and stay well!
ps- If you feel this will help your vehicle wrap shop ( repost with a link back )