This is Part IV.  For Part I, CLICK HERE.  For Part II, CLICK HERE.  For Part III, CLICK HERE.

Part I of this series highlighted the advertising value of a truck (around $15,000 per month).  Part II presented good truck design practices.  Part III presented practices to avoid.  Here, are tips for your vehicle marketing program.  Some of these are mutually exclusive.  Some might appeal to you, while others will not.  The purpose of these tips is idea stimulation.

Sponsor a Local Sports Team – One way to stand out and build positive associations with your brand is to sponsor a local sports team and display the sponsorship in a specially decaled truck.  Fort Worth based Stark Air added a purple version of their truck with recognition of the TCU Horned Frogs.  Stanley Steemer sponsored the Dallas Cowboys and wrapped one of their vans with their standard yellow on the front and a large Cowboys football helmet on the back.

Sponsoring a team works best in a one-team town (and could work for a high school as well as a college or professional team).  Be careful not to violate copyrights or trademarks.  Also, take care in your wrap or decals to ensure your brand is not subordinated.

Sponsor a Charity – A variation on sponsoring a sports team is sponsoring a charity and promoting it from your trucks.  Once again, Ben Start led the way by sponsoring the Susan G. Komen Foundation, painting a truck pink, and paying a percentage of the profits to the Komen Foundation. The promotional value to Stark Air was phenomenal with the truck featured in publications, women getting their picture taken with the truck, and so on.  Following Ben’s lead, other contractors around the country have created their own pink trucks.  Still others, affiliate with different charities.  This is a triple win where the company benefits from the promotional impact, the charity gets publicity and donations, and customers are able to painlessly help support a favored charity.

Create a True Billboard – Your trucks need not be limited to your logo.  You can create a true billboard, complete with a headline and call to action.  Just remember, your exposures are many, but brief.  Don’t clutter it up.

Use Reflective Decals – Reflective decals cost more.  They’re worth it.  They light up at night when headlights strike them.  The darker the night, the greater the impact.  If nothing else, use the reflective decals on your logo.

Use Slightly Different Graphics on Each Side – Nothing says the graphics on one side of your trucks need to exactly match the graphics on the other side.  Change them slightly and it has the effect of multiplying your fleet.  Just make sure there’s enough commonality in the design that people connect the trucks to your company.

Promote Your Website – If I was putting a Service Roundtable truck on the road, instead of using the standard logo, I might promote ServiceRoundtable.com.  A website is more memorable than a phone number.

Use Color to Aid Website Recall – Using the ServiceRoundtable.com URL, I might make it easier to remember by changing the word, Roundtable, to a different color.

Use Graphics to Help Brand Retention – Create a visual jingle.  For example, The Parking Spot, an airport parking company, features yellow passenger vans with lots of polka dots (i.e., spots).  Team Auto Glass uses an Indy car silhouette with a checkered flag to associate with a “racing team.”  Blunt’s Electric in Melbourne, Australia features yellow light bulbs that are prominent, but secondary to the logo.

Promote Benefits – What do you offer?  Clean air?  Healthy homes?  Reduced utilities?  Green lifestyles?  Lightening quick service?  Promote the benefits on your trucks.

Logo the Roof – Anyone looking out of a second floor window can see the roofs of your trucks.  Anyone standing on a small rise or overpass can likewise see the roofs of your trucks.  So whether you live in hilly Tennessee or flat West Texas, you can benefit from putting your logo on the roof.  The reason is simple.  It’s unexpected.  It stirs that primitive reaction that causes us to pay attention to something different to see if it’s a danger or not.

Use Humor (With Taste) – The Truly Nolan pest control vehicles make an extremely effective use of humor.  Some of them feature bolted on mouse ears and tails.  Some note accordingly that they are “ears and tails above the rest.”  Others proclaim they are “licensed to kill.”  The Zombie Plumbing Company proclaims, “Draiiins.  We clean draiiins!”

In the next issue of CB Hotmail, this series will conclude with more truck marketing tips offered.

The Service Roundtable is issuing rebate checks this week.  For the year, we paid out more than $2 million dollars to contractors for buying parts, products, and services from our Roundtable Rewards partners rather than someone else.  Are you getting cash back on your purchases?  In not, join the Service Roundtable and enroll in the free Roundtable Rewards program.  Call 877.262.3341 for more information.