Seven Ways To ‘Wrap Up’ A Cost-Effective Branding Approach

February 24, 2010
“Jakada, what did you do? Bad dog!” I heard my wife, Leann, shout from the walk-in closet adjacent to our bedroom as our oldest Weimaraner darted down the hallway, his stump of a tail tucked between his legs. At that point, I knew Jakada had gotten into the closet and found something he considers tasty in the trash, making a mess along the way.

Well, one thing leads to another and instead of buying a trash can with a lid, we found ourselves in the midst of a closet renovation to completely conceal the trash can and anything else the dogs might get into. And why not? Like many of your customers, we’re convinced that the economy is in recovery and believe that updating our home is a good idea.

 Phillip Ampel
Phillip Ampel, of Atlanta Audio Consultants, uses a van wrapped with compelling imagery to promote his brand with great success. 

Those of you who know me or have worked with me setting up trade shows or training sessions realize that I should never be on a ladder or allowed to operate a power tool. So our best solution for the closet retrofit was to hire a professional installer. Unfortunately, a quick Google search revealed so many installers in the Miami area that choosing one would be quite a hassle. Not looking forward to the task, I sent off a half-dozen e-mails and left several phone messages in an attempt to begin the appointment, consultation, design, and quotation process. That was on a Thursday.

By Saturday afternoon, I had received a few responses, but no one stood out. Because I had some chores to do, I headed to the neighborhood strip mall. After buying my groceries, I loaded the car, and began backing out of the parking space. I then noticed a van pulling into the space next to me. There was something special about it that grabbed my attention and immediately related to my desire for a remodeled closet. Pictured along the side of this clean E-Series van was a beautiful closet scene, just like the one that Leann and I dreamed about having in our home.

I didn’t even need to read the company name on the door to know that this was who I would likely contract to update our home. Glancing over the vehicle one more time, I noticed a contractor license number proudly placed on the front fender and felt confident to begin a discussion with the driver. I pulled my car back into the space, and as the driver exited the van I approached him. He explained that his company was a local closet renovation business and that he was familiar with my type of home. He even cited one of my neighbors as a reference. Guess who ended up getting the job?

This experience was so powerful that I couldn’t help but share it with you in this article. It reminded me of visiting Phillip Ampel, a custom electronics integrator in the Atlanta area who is a member of the Niles Dealer Advisory Board. He too uses a van wrapped with compelling imagery and messaging to promote his brand with great success. In a conversation about effective marketing, Philip told me, “Having a van wrapped with the image of a beautiful home theater helps make the community aware of what my company does. The powerful graphic image I use positions my company ahead of the competition,” he added.

In my opinion, there isn’t a more cost-effective way for custom electronics installation companies to promote their service and brand than with vehicle graphics. Hey, you’ve got to use a van or a truck. Why not make it speak to your market and draw customers? But as in everything else, there are a few best practices to observe. Keep these tips in mind when outfitting your vehicle(s) with graphics:

1. Your vehicle is the first impression of your company. So make sure that the imagery and messaging appeal to your target customers. A simple- yet-clean image depicting the lifestyle you purvey, supported by few words, will do the trick. By keeping your messaging short and focused you will likely create a stronger impact among viewers. Busy is not better.

2. Effective vehicle wraps rely upon impressive design. Don’t be afraid to consult a public relations agency or design house for this. Alternatively, many of the companies that do vehicle wraps also provide design services. In the case of my closet installer, design was included in the $1,800 price he paid to wrap his van.

3. Use professional graphics. If you are using an image of one of your jobs, make sure a pro photographer shoots it. On the other hand, stock art is available at reasonable rates from online providers like Getty Images ( As a third resource, consider asking one of your core vendors. At Niles, we’ve provided images to our Elite dealers under certain circumstances.

Detmer is vice
Mike “Sparky” Detmer is vice president of sales and marketing for Niles Audio.

4. You don’t need to wrap the entire vehicle to make a powerful impression. A good designer can use the color of your vehicle combined with spot graphics to keep costs down while getting your point across. One cost-effective technique employs blending text cut from vinyl lettering integrated with spot digital graphics.

5. Don’t wrap what you can’t see. Save your budget for the vertical surfaces that potential clients will see, such as the vehicle sides and back. Stay away from the roof of a van or the hood of a truck.

6. Shop around. Your clients get multiple quotes and so should you. There are a variety of companies in the graphics business that can provide you with quotes rapidly. And don’t be afraid to ask about financing. Some companies offer financial assistance and can arrange an installment plan so you get the immediate benefits of strong branding without paying for it all up front.

7. Drive politely. Once your vehicle is branded, you will be easily remembered by potential customers (and local officers of the law). So be sure that they have a good impression by always being a courteous driver.

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