Veterans in the outdoor-graphics industry discuss how their companies have dealt with changes in the market and how other recent issues, such as the economic recession and the push for sustainability, have impacted their businesses.
By Lori Leaman
MCDANIEL: The push towards green initiatives cannot be avoided. It has increasingly been requested by customers over the last 12 months to know what we as a company are doing. We are currently pulling information together on what we currently are doing and also are getting ready to gear up on some more initiatives. We are going to make this information accessible to our clients via our Website.
RENDA: Some of our customers are starting to ask for green products. Our reply has been to seek out suppliers that carry green materials. We have found that more and more substrates are becoming available in an environmentally friendly form. These materials usually cost more, but some customers are willing to pay the higher cost. As progress continues and demand grows for green materials and products, I believe that costs will not be as big of a factor.
GARCIA: We are being asked by most of our major clients to make recommendation on making their product more green friendly. We have initiated a recycling program with our biggest client where we will be collecting outdoor banners once the promotion ends and using the material to fabricate other products.
SP: Looking forward, what do you see as the greatest challenges facing outdoor graphics providers?
GABRIEL: There are several options, in terms of materials and equipment that meet or exceed the goals of our clients. We will see more consolidation, mergers, and acquisitions. Fighting off the commoditization of the industry—companies that are just cranking it out, who don’t care what it looks like, dropping the value/price of what they are giving. We are holding our pricing because we believe the service and quality warrants, and eventually those companies will go out of business. Shipping and installation is becoming more cost prohibitive. Creativity and advertising is another challenge. You want to reach your clients two different ways: through the internet and outdoors. If you can do both through creativity, you’ll be golden.
NORRIS: I think the greatest challenges going forward will remain the classic ones: how to provide the best product for the best price for your customers, and then to stand behind your product and give your customers the best service available, certainly better than the guy down the street.
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