So, she ditched the old magnetic signage that was prone to gather grime, falling off, blowing away or being stolen, and invested in full colour van wraps.
Janine says: “At JB Sales, we’d always had one van without any signage on it. I thought it was wasted space and persuaded the previous manager to invest in some magnetic signs which we put on the side of the van. At least then people would know the name and number of our business and have some idea of what we did. The moment I was appointed to take over the marketing, I decided to do away with the magnets and get the van fully wrapped. Almost immediately, business started to improve so we bought a new van and got that wrapped as well.”
Raccoon came up on a Google search and they were close by. I liked their work and commissioned the wraps. It was a straightforward process. I provided a few images, roughly explained what I wanted, and their creative team got to work. They picked out colours that we had never considered using and it brought our business to life, so that it looked like a proper brand.
It would have taken me months to come up with the design they put together. They weren’t just wrapping technicians; they were brand creators. The team even had the inspired idea of a reversed two-tone colour scheme so that when the vans are positioned side-by-side they look particularly striking.
"They weren’t just wrapping technicians; they were brand creators."
The wraps were completed quickly. Once we’d agreed on the final design, we dropped the first van off at 8am and it was ready by 2pm. While one van was being wrapped the other was on the road so there was no downtime* for us. When we saw the first completed van, we were amazed at how good it looked. Even though we’d seen the design on the screen, seeing the vehicle in its shiny new wrap was a genuine ‘wow’ moment.
What really surprised us is that once the vans were wrapped you couldn’t tell them apart without looking at the number plates. On the old black van, the paintwork had been dulled, where the magnet had been, and the bodywork was full of scratches. But you can’t see any of that now. The wrap goes around the edges of the doors, behind the lights, into all of the little nooks and crannies, and looks like a good paint job. You can run your finger over the body and it's as smooth as the glass.
There was a definite and noticeable uplift in morale across the team. Having the magnets on the sides of the van was better than nothing but didn’t provide that slick look of professionalism we have now. The wraps have really helped sharpen up our brand image and they’ve become a point of pride for everybody, especially the drivers who are in them every day.
I think, when people we visit on construction sites see that we’ve invested in our vehicles with the wraps, it improves perception and increases trust. Construction sites are the places where our existing and prospective customers work – our clients will often be working alongside four or five other contractors with similar survey equipment needs. So having a van that’s visible from a distance, showcasing our leading supplier products, is a great way to attract new leads.
"Once we’d agreed on the final design, we dropped the first van off at 8am and it was ready by 2pm. "
We really haven’t made any meaningful changes to our marketing other than getting the vans wrapped. Since doing that, incoming business has increased quite rapidly, and we’ve had to employ another driver to cope with the fresh demand at a time when many businesses are cost cutting through redundancies because of the pandemic.
Marketing is all about raising awareness and communicating effectively. We now have striking visuals on the vans. The main image is a larger than life Total Station, which is one of the main pieces of kit surveyors hire from us.
We actually used our main supplier’s official product photographs, which are clear and sharp even though they’ve been blown up to a large scale. When the van wraps were done, and we sent them the photos, they were absolutely delighted with the result. The fact that it’s helped cement an important business relationship for us has been an unexpected benefit.
The vans have definitely increased the level of inbound phone calls and more people directly approach our drivers when they are out in the vans. It’s made getting leads and securing new business a lot less labour intensive.
I’ve spent a long time taking care of all aspects of the company’s marketing including the digital side of things such as Google AdWords and SEO. The thing is, you could spend all of your time working on optimising your online marketing, but with a generic name like JB Sales, and generic search terms such as ‘servicing’, it’s difficult for people to find us if they’re not specifically looking for us.
If you look through the search terms on our AdWords, most of it doesn’t relate to us and what we do at JB Sales. So we needed something that was tangible, something outside there in the real world, something that everybody could see. Now, people that wouldn’t necessarily be looking for us see the vans and come over. We don’t have to approach them to quite the same extent. And those people working on the construction sites are as close to our perfect target audience as we’re ever going to get, so for us it really is the best form of marketing.
"So we needed something that was tangible, something outside there in the real world, something that everybody could see. "
With the vans on the road there’s no mistaking what we do. It’s that loud visibility that makes people who aren’t looking online aware. Not everybody is going to sit on a computer or mobile phone and search for you online. Why would they? They’ll be more likely to use a firm they’ve used in the past, which is the main reason we needed another avenue.
The van wraps have injected new life into the JB Sales team. Anyone driving a plain van might as well be invisible. If you have a business a plain van is a wasted opportunity. When you have a branded vehicle you multiply your chances of getting calls, generating leads and of being referred. And the cost of a wrap is a tiny fraction of the cost of fuel that gets burned over a year.
Yes, but it still makes sense to bring all elements of marketing together, to connect the offline to the online worlds. So my next step is going to be getting some QR codes added to the vehicle. That way, with a quick scan, people can get taken straight to the JB Sales website or a downloadable asset, such as a catalogue. And they can share it with anyone they want to refer.
Worth every single penny. I would never not do it. I want to do my own car! You think about how much money people spend on Google AdWords or printing and distributing flyers or an advert in a newspaper, which are often short-lived and poorly targeted. With the wraps, we’ve spent comparatively little money and have already had to take on two new employees in the downturn.
Yes. The vans help identify you. A few months ago, even before we had the magnets, we actually got turned away from a major site. The driver had his licence but no way to prove who he worked for. Having a fully branded van gets around this problem and makes it easier to access construction sites with confidence, especially as security gets tighter.
Actually, I did. My main concern was whether or not it would last. Our vehicles, visiting construction sites on a daily basis, get really filthy and they need to be jet washed when they return to base. Those jet washes are truly powerful. I thought they might tear off the wraps, but they didn’t—when the dirt’s off, the wraps are as good as new again. It’s just like jet washing any other vehicle.