Signage Foundation Research Proves Value Of On-Premise Signs

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

While anyone in the business already knows the importance of signage, a comprehensive study, The Economic Value of On-Premise Signage, makes it scientifically clear and provides strong proof of the importance of signs to businesses.

The study, a collaborative effort between the University of Cincinnati’s School of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning and the Economics Center, was unveiled recently during the annual National Signage Research and Education.

Key findings include:

  • Sign changes typically provide a business boost. Approximately 60% of those surveyed said a new sign increased their business by an average of 12%. Similar improvements also were seen in profits and the number of transactions, while smaller but still significant improvements were found in employee hiring as a result of a business getting a better sign.
  • Making a business stand out and helping customers find their location were most cited as the reasons companies use signage.
  • Companies with multiple locations cited branding as an important reason for signage. Companies surveyed reported that clear readability was the most important factor in signage, followed by conspicuity.

Researchers, led by Jeff Rexhausen, associate director of Research, UC Economics Center, surveyed 225 companies representing 60,000 retailers, franchises and other small businesses that use on-premise signs to identify and promote their establishments. The researchers contend that their findings should be considered as local officials across the country develop sign codes, since restrictive ordinances may have the unintended consequence of limiting the ability of local merchants to reach their economic potential.

The report included case studies that fully explored sign usage at a national lodging chain, a national retailing banking business, a specialty store small business, and a small car dealership. The University of Cincinnati is planning on conducting more research on the economic value of signs to businesses in 2013 and beyond, in order to provide even more fact-based evidence to local officials and other key stakeholders.

“Scientific research such as this undertaken by SFI continues to show the value of signs to businesses, which in turn leads to stronger economic conditions for communities,” said Lori Anderson, ISA president and CEO. “Our industry has an important story to tell about the positive impact signs can have, and this research provides plenty of data to reinforce that idea.”

The report will be available on the SFI website in the coming weeks.

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