Brand Entrance

by Katie Lee

Enhance your corporate identity with a brand maintenance program.

By John E. Markelwith

Brand maintenance is vital to the long term success of any organization. Your brand is the foundation of your corporate identity that can increase membership, credibility and customer loyalty. Brand maintenance programs can enhance your brand image by keeping your signage looking fresh, vibrant and new. Well designed and executed brand maintenance programs can reduce your operational expenditures by minimizing the number of outages, increasing the mean time between failures and extending the overall life expectancy of your signage. Brand maintenance programs can dramatically enhance your brand equity while having a tremendous impact on your bottom line.


Proactive vs. Reactive

Preventive Maintenance is the systematic routine inspection, detection, correction and prevention of emerging failures. It is a proactive approach to minimizing the failure rate and extending the useful life of your signage. Effective preventive maintenance programs can enhance your illumination while decreasing your operational expenditures.

Corrective Maintenance is the action taken to detect, isolate and rectify a fault or potential fault so your signs can be restored to their normal operating state. Corrective maintenance is typically referred to as on-call or break-fix service and is directed by a work order with a clearly defined scope of work. Reactive, on-call maintenance programs can be effective if outages are reported upon detection and immediate corrective action is taken.

Fixed Fee vs. Variable Cost

Fixed Fee Programs are designed to keep your signs fully illuminated by providing routine scheduled maintenance for a pre-negotiated per-site fee. Fixed fee programs are manageable and predictable and can provide significant value if they are designed and implemented properly. Unfortunately, no two signs are built the same and their useful life can vary dramatically depending on the quality of the materials, craftsmanship and the environmental conditions. Without the benefit of detailed maintenance records or an extensive site survey, service providers will be challenged with delivering guaranteed service levels for a negotiated fixed fee. Vendor selection becomes increasingly more difficult as selecting the lowest bidder can easily compromise the overall integrity of the program. Making an initial investment in detailed site surveys or “bring-to-burn” site certifications to identify or replace failed or end of life components can dramatically increase the success of any fixed fee maintenance program.

Variable Cost Programs can offer many of the same advantages found in fixed fee programs such as routine inspections, detection and correction but require little or no upfront costs to successfully implement. Variable cost programs are typically less manageable and predictable as the major repairs are addressed on an as-needed basis. A well designed variable cost program can be an effective proactive approach to achieving your brand maintenance goals while minimizing the initial investment associated with fixed fee programs.


Quality Service Comes From Quality Companies

Vendor selection is critical to the success of any brand maintenance program and is rarely delivered by the lowest bidder. It takes a quality company with the capability and capacity to deliver the quality service that your company deserves.

Specialist vs. Generalist

Each sign is a unique architectural fixture that requires experienced skilled technicians to service, maintain and restore. Your sign service provider must maintain the capacity, capability, parts and equipment to deliver 24/7 on-call and emergency service for any sign type — anytime, anywhere. Certified sign technicians have the experience, skills, equipment and parts inventory to handle almost any service request on the first call, eliminating the need for wasteful returned trips.

Efficient vs. Effective

It takes a dedicated team of highly skilled professionals combined with efficient processes and advanced technology to consistently deliver cost-effective quality service on time and on budget. Efficient work flow, policies and procedures can dramatically increase the speed, accuracy and quality of your service delivery by deploying the right resource at the right place with the right part at the right time. Eliminating significant waste can significantly reduce the cost of service delivery which will have an impact on your bottom line. “Effective” gets the job done but “efficient” gets it done for less. “Faster, cheaper, better” is obtainable with the right service provider.

Partner vs. Approved Vendor

Your sign service provider should be a trusted partner — an extension of your organization that shares common goals and has a vested interest in your success. Your sign service provider’s workflow policies and procedures should be tightly coupled with your own, and their systems and technology should be seamlessly integrated to provide maximum operational efficiencies.

Bundled Services

The highest cost associated with any service call is the “truck roll.” You can eliminate unnecessary trip charges by bundling similar service requests on a single work order. Many sign technicians are licensed electricians who are trained to service your exterior signs, parking lot lights and interior lighting. They typically maintain the lift equipment to reach almost any elevation and the parts inventory to replace any failed component. Combining multiple service requests on a single work order can significantly reduce your maintenance costs by eliminating multiple trip charges, improving overall time management and negotiating volume pricing.

The Value Of Data

W. Edwards Deming once said, “In God we trust; all others must bring data.” A professional sign and lighting service provider should be able to supply you with a detailed inventory of each sign as well as a component parts inventory for warranty administration. They should be able to provide you with a detailed site survey, site plan and complete photo library for each of your facilities. Your service provider should provide real-time reporting and a complete maintenance history for each site location. These data points are essential for conducting statistical analysis, strategic planning, budgeting and for managing the quality and consistency of your brand maintenance program.


Implementing an efficient brand maintenance program will create an overwhelming first impression, dramatically enhance your customers’ experience, influence your customers’ future buying preferences and create that long term reciprocal loyalty that customers demand and companies so desire. In essence, a well-managed brand maintenance program will dramatically reduce your operational expenditures while increasing your visibility, brand equity and the value of your corporate identity.

— John E. Markelwith is president & CEO of Accelerated Service, a national sign, lighting and electrical facility services provider headquartered in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Accelerated’s 24/7 call center provides on-call, preventive and emergency maintenance services to retained clients nationally. Email [email protected] or call (609) 363-6000.

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