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British entrepreneur Richard Branson, the creator of the Virgin brand, is like most other entrepreneurs in that he relies "far more on gut instinct than researching huge amounts of statistics" ("Leap: A Revolution in Creative Business Strategy" by Bob Schmetterer).

For years, small business owners have known in their gut that LED signage makes their businesses more successful. Now, we have proof.

Watchfire recently attended the National Signage Research & Education Conference (NSREC) held in Cincinnati. Themed "The Science of Signage," conference sponsors unveiled a study by the University of Cincinnati on the economic value of on-premise signs.

The survey of 162 small business owners shows that signage is an important tool for driving traffic and sales. Sixty-four percent of business owners in the survey who had enhanced their signage (made it bigger, improved the location, etc.) said these changes resulted in increased sales by an average of 12 percent. They also reported increased number of transactions (59 percent) and profits (56 percent). Thirteen percent hired additional staff.

Detroit-based Century Banquet Center is a wonderful example of how LED signage can help a business grow. The facility replaced its 4-foot-by-8-foot two-sided manual letter board with a 4-foot-by-12-foot 19mm color LED sign, and quadrupled its number of weddings and events in just two years. The facility manager said part of the reason bookings are up is because the facility can program the sign with a digital photo of the newlyweds leaving the church, and the sign is ready to welcome guests when they arrive at the reception.

The University of Cincinnati study also validates what's long been cited in the industry from the U.S. Small Business Administration: "Without a properly designed on-premise business sign, a commercial site cannot function at its full potential."

We look forward to reading the full University of Cincinnati report when it is published. We believe the study will be instructive for city planning officials as they review their signage codes to reflect today's technological advances in business signage.

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User Comments – Give us your opinion!
  • Tom Humphries
    It is nice to see additional data coming out on the economic value of signage. People know that there is a benefit, but have a hard time with the ROI. With data like this, the discussion will go from "how little can I pay" to "how much can I get."

    There is a good book called "What's Your Signage" that has additional signage benefit data, although some of it is dated. Fresh data like the University of Cincinnati study will help clients make better decisions.
  • Tara Filson
    Great article, Randy. The success of LED signage is impressive and produces similar results to in-store digital solutions. Digital signage attracts customers into stores and, when the screens are interactive, they can be powerful sale tools as well. At iQmetrix, we have developed XQ, an interactive retail solution that allows customers to browse products and access information via touchscreen. XQ Interactive Retail also promotes 1-to-1 interaction with sales staff. Early adopters have seen a significant decrease in walk-outs, an increase in sales efficiency and improved customer satisfaction. For case studies that demonstrate how XQ has helped mobile resellers, visit:
    - Christopher Krywulak, President and CEO, iQmetrix
  • Hussain Ali
    It's the data and research that will divert the major Ad dollars from the conventional marketing and advertisement budget towards the DOOH and DS networks. From an advertisers point of view they need proof of play and impression stats and overall industry ratios to make financially sound and feel good decision.

    Hussain Ali - IT & DS Manager - National Signs Ltd.
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