One of the most difficult things to do in marketing is to distill a complicated concept down to a few meaningful words. You often hear of marketing companies being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to develop a theme line of five or six words.

You might think that’s a lot of money for a few words, but it is one of the hardest things to do in marketing. It’s pretty easy to write a few sentences, but try picking the exact few memorable words that says everything you are trying to say in a few seconds. Not easy.

This analogy is the same for vehicle wraps. It’s pretty easy to fill the wrap up with all kinds of information, graphics and colors, all in the interest of trying to get attention. It’s a fact however, that the more “stuff” you add to the wrap, the less valuable and memorable the message becomes. Remember, if everything is important, then nothing is important.

Time Is money

As a general rule for designing vehicle wraps (and exactly the same for billboards), you have about 5 seconds (maybe even less while driving) to make an impression and start to create a memory. Next time you see a wrapped vehicle, give yourself 5 seconds and see what one thing you remember about it. The colors? The company name? What makes them unique?, What they do? Then wait 30 minutes and see if you recall any of it. Chances are you won’t.

But the more pithy and memorable a message that can be delivered in the shortest period of time is like money in the bank.

It takes an objective perspective, a high level of discipline and an experienced marketing professional to deliver the best message and execution. Most vehicle wraps are a huge waste of money because they don’t leverage that skill set. The point is, get professional marketing help. It’s money well spent.

Everything looks like a nail

Another issue we see all the time is the urge by graphic designers to over-design. Graphic flourishes, lots of colors, waves and stripes — all designed to get attention might be pretty, but, it’s the design that gets all the attention! The client’s name and message all to often get lost in the pretty pictures.

Design for design’s sake is normally not a good idea. We see that mostly from people who do graphic design, not from marketing professionals. Many, and dare I say most, designers think it’s the design that is the message. And as the old adage goes, to a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Let’s wrap it up

Focus. Focus. Focus. Keep it simple. Find your brand message that tells your story in as few words as possible. If graphics help tell your story, use them. If they are there just to be there, remove them. Make sure your logo and message are prominent. That sounds like an obvious point to make, but trust me, you’d be surprised how many times clients and designers forget what the wrap is there to do in the first place: tell your story.

That’s a wrap.

Art Fyvolent is CEO of IDEAS4, a full-service digital and traditional marketing firm based in Tampa, Florida. Art has been in the advertising, marketing and web business for more than 35 years, including being an early adopter of the Internet, starting his first website development company in 1994.

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