Choosing to brand your vehicle fleet means increasing your organisation’s visibility in the communities your vehicles operate in.
For a Fleet Manager, applying vehicle graphics is also an important tool in achieving standardisation and consistency within a vehicle fleet. Vehicle wrapping, for example, can be used to ensure different coloured vehicles appear the same. Often this type of wrapping offers added protection against minor scuffs and scratches – especially important if end-of-contract charges are a consideration.
Types of vehicle branding
- Full Wrap – This is covering the entire vehicle with vinyl, including in some cases rear
- windows, completely changing the colour of the vehicle.
- Partial Wrap – This covers a substantial part of the vehicle, usually up to 1/2 the area.
- Decal – This type of branding is usually covers just one area, usually a flat surface, such as a side or rear door.
- Lettering – This is usually used for call to actions, or identification.
- Magnetic Panels – This type of panel is easy to remove or used for temporary branding.
As a starting point, when you are considering branding your vehicle fleet you should think about how your graphics will work on a mixed fleet, your budget and the length of time your vehicles are used within your fleet. Most graphics will only last approx five years, and the lifespan of your vehicles is obviously much longer.
Keep things simple, don’t opt for long messages that might be out of date next year, stick to the organisational logo and contact details – a web address is less likely to be changed than a phone number or tag line. Add your social channels this will also help drive people to your organisation to read more about how you operate, or your latest environmental campaigns for example. If your fleet has been awarded any accreditation – this should be added as a sticker and not thought of as part of the branding.
If you are wanting to convey a message, such as ‘recycle more’ or something that is relevant for a shorter period of time to any given community, you may want to consider removable or interchangeable graphics, these work especially well on council vehicles.
Vehicles operating within urban areas are more likely to pick up minor dents and scuffs, low impact reversing damage for example, which means regular trips to the body shop. With this in mind, if your vehicle branding covers the wheel arches or bumper this may prove to be expensive, as each time a graphics repair or renew will be required. So think about which points on your vehicles pick up most damage and avoid applying any graphics in that area.
Before finding a supplier to work with, you should carefully audit your vehicle fleet, making sure you have a comprehensive list of every vehicle make, model, registration number and also all scheduled maintenance – in addition whether the vehicles are leased or outright purchased. For any leased vehicles, you will have to seek permission from the provider and ensure the graphics are removed before return. Most importantly your graphics partner will have a full picture of what they need to provide and will be able to quote more easily if all the information is to hand.
Set a budget but don’t compromise on quality. If you opt for the cheapest quote, it may mean you pay more in the long run. Make sure your provider gives you realistic time scales, having to replace poorly applied graphics that were rushed to meet an impossible deadline is costly and means vehicle downtime is increased. Most providers will offer a warranty for your vehicle graphics, but this may only cover you for replacement if the graphics appear damaged after application or start to peel away. You are better off choosing a provider that will offer a Service Level Agreement in addition to the warranty – the SLA will set out clearly what you expect from the provider in terms of repairs and replacement and it will also outline what services are provided as part of that agreement.
Many graphic providers have in-house designers that will work with your organisation to produce your vehicle branding, if not there are many graphic design companies that can help. Your own communications or marketing team will also be instrumental in making sure the vehicles are branded correctly. It is important to request several examples and vehicle mock ups before committing to any design as your choice has to last for many years to come and that these are shared with all stakeholders.
Once you have agreed on your vehicle branding, think about your insurance policy, are you changing the colour of any of your vehicles with a full wrap? Check that you have declared any modifications with your provider.
The Police and other enforcement agencies also rely on DVLA records for vehicle related investigations and therefore any colour change should be reflected in the vehicles paperwork. It may be worth noting that if a vehicle has had its colour changed it is more likely to be stopped for a Police check as the original colour will not match the original details when an ANPR check is made.
Vehicle graphics that display bright and clear logos also have the added advantage of making them much less attractive to thieves. The work involved in removing graphics makes a branded vehicle an unattractive proposition to the opportunist thief.
Your vehicle graphics form an important part of your corporate image. The condition of the graphics and how they look to potential customers, says a lot about your organisation so take care of them. With a small amount of care and preventive maintenance, quality vinyl vehicle graphics will stay fresh for years. Your graphics partner will be able to offer the best advice for cleaning.
The above information is meant as a general overview of vehicle branding, every fleet is different but the core principles remain the same.
For further help you will find companies featured on the next few pages of Essential Fleet Manager.
Article featured in Essential Fleet Manager Issue 3 – visit the archive