Monday, September 28, 2015

What's In a Monday?

Here it is!  You didn’t really ask for it and chances are, it snuck up on you kinda quick but….it’s MONDAY!

You could face it with a snarl.  You could go back to bed.  You could work behind closed doors till noon or 1.  You could so a lot of things but let’s take a good look at MONDAY.

It’s a new start!  It’s a new game!  It’s the golden opportunity to hit the reset button and begin to be the person you want to be.  Honestly, every day is a new start but Monday is special because it’s a building block.  You have a good Monday, and that leads to Tuesday and it’s acceptable, Wednesday comes along and you’re half way home for the week!  It’s a matter of getting off on the right foot and bringing your champions attitude with you.  If you lack a champions attitude….fake it, fake it till you make it.

We’re not immune to a case of the “Monday’s” but we believe that a new week of challenges defines who we are.  After all, those challenges wouldn’t be present if we didn’t have great customers and a highly a motivated staff to find solutions for them at a great price.  We take great pride in the image and message we share and we hope that comes across in our excitement for your project or need! 

Hopefully…we’ve given you a little pick me up for your Monday, and should you need a hand with a project or two….we’ve got the coffee on!  Get a hold of us.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Weekend Blog - USS Silversides

Welcome to the weekend!  We’ve got a few minutes to chill with you this morning so, how about a peek at one of our hometown of Muskegon Michigan’s greatest treasures.  The USS Silversides.

Photo Courtesy of The National Register of Historic Places
The USS Silversides was commissioned on December 15th 1941 and served in the Pacific theater of WWII racking up 23 sunken ships to her credit!  Only one American was lost on the submarine during her time.   The 23 sunk made the Silversides the 3rd most lethal submarine in the Navy.  The Silversides is also has the most prolific combat record of any still extant United States Submarine.

Today, the Silversides is painstakingly taken care of in the Muskegon Channel between Lake Michigan and Muskegon Lake and is available for tours, overnights and a history lesson or two for those younger people who may like an adventure.  The USS Silversides Museum is a growing monument to our military service men and women.  They work hard to bring in interesting speakers, special exhibits and maritime artifacts.  You can take a self-guided tour through her quarters and see, smell and feel just what it was like for our “Greatest Generation” to have served on this amazing ship.  You can also tour the Coast Guard Cutter McClane also located at the Silversides Memorial.

We are proud to have a National Landmark here in Muskegon.  If you like, you can watch this video produced by our blogger a couple years ago to learn a little more and take a peek through her hallowed hull.  We’d recommend you come take a look for yourself though, and bring the family for a nice day out, and a lesson on what life was like on board the USS Silversides.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Now, That's a Wrap!

At one point, the only vehicles you saw with a wrap on them were usually some kind of promotional vehicle for a radio station or maybe a bus sponsored by a sports team in your local community.  Well, there is a reason for that kind of vehicle treatment… works!

Your vehicle, or vehicles in some cases, are essential to your business and why wouldn’t you take advantage of the places your vehicles go, the people who see them?  Think of the daily impressions made by a stationary billboard.  Think of the impressions made by your website?  Think of your television, radio and print advertising.  Now, take all of the advertising outlets and make it mobile!

Everywhere you go stand out with a vehicle wrap!  John Belasco owns Belasco Electric in Muskegon Michigan and we asked him about his wrap – “It’s fantastic!!  I have even talked to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers about getting some of their vehicles wrapped by GH Imaging (our sister company).  The response is phenomenal and everywhere you go, it turns heads and gets you noticed”

Our vehicle wraps use the highest quality inks, state of the art material and instillation by experts to give you the mobile power to stand out in any crowd!  It’s an exceptional value in advertising and brand awareness!  If you have a vehicle or a fleet, put them to work for you in ways you never imagined and in areas where you can reach people most.  Where they are!

Click on the image below for a quick quote on your vehicle wrap needs!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Say Thank You With United Sign

Recently, a local drive thru has implemented the phrase “It was my pleasure to take your order today” and “It was my pleasure to serve you today”.  Both very nice thoughts but let’s face it, a drive thru at 7am is about speed and accuracy and in as much as the pleasurable salutations are nice, they are often delivered to fast and with no genuine feeling behind them.  It feels like an airport actually….a busy one.

Yes, the daily grind often finds all of us trying to get to the next meeting, putting out this fire or that and as demand picks up so does everything that goes along with it.  It’s important to make sure that you are genuine with your words and actions and make sure to let people you work with and people you work for know that they are a valued and essential.   Be genuine in your gratitude.

There comes times too where an employee or customer deserves special recognition.  Maybe it’s a work mile stone or maybe it’s a loyalty reward.  Maybe they hauled in a big sale or maybe they found an innovative use for a product that somehow slipped past the R&D.  We can help with a huge selection of items customized just for you.

Take a look at our page dedicated to recognition and appreciation.  We can custom tailor just about anything to help you say thank you and show your genuine feelings.  

Click on the plaque below to see the page and all of the items.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Weekend Blog

If you are in search of a nice drive this fall, may we suggest a drive up Scenic Drive in Muskegon and get yourself a look at the Muskegon Block House.

At one point, a "Block House" was a military outlook point and they were usually built high atop a hill to give armies a chance to look out to see if invaders were on the way.  We're not really planning on an impending invasion from Wisconsin anytime soon, so the Block House today is more of a place to take the kids to climb around and take a look out of.  It's a stop for motorcycle riders, it's a place for romantics and over all, a pretty fun place to get to as Scenic Drive is filled with lots of hills and twists as you make your way there!

The history of the Block House does have a checkered past!  It would seem some local trouble makers set fire to it back in 1962.  Originally built during the depression as a "make work" project, part of the probation for the offenders was rebuilding it!  Justice served!  You can click on the picture for the full story.

If you'd like, plug the address in your GPS and take the drive.  3560 Memorial Drive, Muskegon. You'll be sure to get a great look out and a fun, free place to stop to take a look around.

Photo Courtesy MLive

Thursday, September 17, 2015

What's In a Sign?

I was scrolling down my news feed the other day, and I stumbled across this sign for Uncle John’s Pancake House in Toledo Ohio.  It got me thinking a little about signs and everything they say about you, your business and the connection between the two. 

Photo Courtesy Uncle Johns Pancake House
In the case of Uncle Johns Pancake House, they have been serving Toledo since 1963.  Their menu is diverse, their d├ęcor is comforting and original and from what my friend who posted about Uncle John’s Pancake House said in his post, the food is delicious.  Great care has gone in to that old neon sign you see above making sure that the restaurant stands out as an original in a world of clones.  Not that a solid branding message isn’t important, but does anything truly reflect the uniqueness of your business better than what is probably someone’s first impression, or in the case of the Toledo locals, does anything say,  “We’re the tradition” better?

We live in a world of constant bombardment of images, messaging, cookie cutters, branding, perceptual studies, market testing, standards, and identity.   Don’t let your identity take away from what your business really is.  It’s an extension of you.  It’s your brand, it’s your style and it’s YOUR personality coming through.  Are you sure you want to leave that up to an open/closed sign you pick up at the office supply store?  Can you see the value in the long term investment of making sure you stand out?  Can we help you build your brand and your image?  Can we help reflect your business as part of you with a custom sign?  Could you please pass the syrup?

If ever you are in the Toledo area, stop in and see the good folks at Uncle Johns Pancake House!  Tell them you like the sign!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Lights, Camera - Action!

Our sister company GH Imaging has done the research, made the comparisons, invested, developed and now it’s time to get the cameras rolling!

We’ve always been known for our signs, banners, creative design and second to none customer service.  Now, we are heading the charge to give you the tools you need to be more effective with your online presence with video!

Who better to tell the story of your company than you?  A video profile is a tool that once you have, can give you almost endless return on your investment.   Your video won’t get thrown in a drawer like a phone book, it won’t be gone in a month like a billboard and a 30 second cable TV spot can cost you between $8 and $2000 to air let alone the production cost of the spot.

You, telling your story in a professional studio, with professional sound and video or at your place as we have everything mobile and ready to roll to just about any location.

Statistics?  59% of executives prefer video content over text when both are available according to Forbes.  64% of consumers are more likely to buy a product according to comScore.  65% of executives have visited a vendors website after watching a video also from Forbes.  70% of marketing professionals report that video converts better than any other medium from MarketingProfs and 80% is the increase in conversion rate when using video on landing pages!

Let’s do it! Let’s get the lights up….the camera rolling and YOU as the star!  We are keeping this really affordable for now….don’t sit around and wait…..let us help you tell your story!

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Weekend Blog

We'd like to leave you this week with a little special something.

We're very proud to be a Michigan based company, pretty much everyone in Michigan has a story or two to tell about Tahquamenon Falls nestled in the Upper Peninsula.  If you are from Michigan well, it never gets old and if you are not from Michigan, have a look.  You'll see part of the reason we love Michigan.  Here's wishing you a relaxing weekend. If you'd like on the picture!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Importance of Your Job

It was last Friday, just before the long holiday weekend, and from my end of things as Director of Media Development and Public Relations there wasn’t a whole lot to do other than sit at my desk and read blogs and try and look busy.   I caught wind of the fact that one of our departments we kind of behind on a few things.   I didn’t want everyone there to have to work all weekend so I went down and told the boss I was heading downstairs to help out if anyone needed me.

I grabbed the production manager and said “Ben, I’m yours for the afternoon – what needs to get done around here?”  That was the beginning of a real eye opener. 
We had a lot of products to get shipped out and some were a real rush.  I was asked to gather and package a few posters that were to be packaged in tubes according to how many were needed for each retail outlet they were going to.  “Ok, I can do that”.  I had to stop and really set my mind to “order of operations” which if you are a “creative type” is really not the easiest thing to do.  I began to roll them up and get them in the tubes, sometimes forgetting to get a tube first….then sometimes having to re roll the posters as they were not quite tight enough…I’ll save you the minutia, but it was truly a fish out of water moment for me.  I was approaching the end, and at the last minute, there were some changes.  OY VEY!  We had to start all over from the beginning and luckily Ryan,  a guy who really knows what he’s doing came along to help.  We figured out a workflow and got it done and out the door on time for the customers.  Outside of the UPS lady who had to wait a couple extra minutes…..BAM!  We found a way and got it done!

It left me thinking over the weekend though.   What a way to learn the importance of every aspect of your business.  What a “leveler” if you will,  to remind you of the big picture of the importance of everyone’s role within your company.  Everyone matters.  From the top of the heap, to the guy putting address labels on everyone’s package is important, everyone along the way contributes to the goal,  and what an experience for me to have thought “Packing up some posters….who can’t do that?”  Well, I couldn’t really.  Not like the true pro’s downstairs do it.   I found my back hurting, my feet hurting and honestly my ego too because I thought it would be easier.  They all dwarfed me downstairs with knowledge, efficiency, speed and team work.  A good lesson to anyone, on the importance of everyone.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The War Room!

Every place has one!  “The War Room”.  Do you make the best us of yours? 

As seen here, it’s a strategic brand meeting.  There are some thinking about logo placement, there are some thinking about color patterns, yet others thinking about style and packaging.  Some are thinking fonts, some are thinking website design and content, and quite honestly, there are some thinking “Why am I sitting here?”

The age gap stretches from the mid 20’s to the mid 50’s and previous life experience is being blended with new ideas and thoughts.  It’s an area where some ways of “doing things the old fashioned way” meet with “no one does that anymore”.   Yes, there are occasional side bars, drifting topics and of course awkward moments of silence.  There are those who think in millimeters and those who think in the distant future of “long term”.

The best part of all of it?  The amount of different viewpoints.  The ability to share, learn and grow.  The power of an actual “brainstorming session” looking at a product or service from every angle and helping to decide what’s the best way to produce, market, print or talk about those products and services.  How does a 20 something see things?  How about a 55 year old?  How about the millennial?  How will these people see and use the product being discussed?  Who will leave excited about it and who will just feel like they were there.  Who at the last minute will have an idea pop that no one could come up with till just then?  Who’s going to be the one that sat silent….but then got hit with the winning idea in the shower that night? (That’s the one who was thinking “Why am I sitting here” earlier)

It’s called collaboration.  It’s called communication and it’s also called contact.  In an ever increasing world of emails, instant messages, texts, Instagrams, Snap Chats and Tweets, it’s important to come together in a room once in a while and catch up on things.   See people’s faces and learn their body language.  What makes them move, what makes them shrug their shoulders and what makes them lose attention and begin to doodle.

Collaboration leads to imagination, which leads to inspiration, which hopefully leads to a little perspiration and finally, the perfect presentation of your product or service.  If you are thinking for yourself, or working together to help a client, think of the value of what’s happening in this picture.  Foster it.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Do You Know Your Sherpa's?

In our weekly solutions meeting here at United Sign, we had a vendor of ours come in this week to show off some of their new clothing offerings by way of materials, fabric patterns, hot fashion trends for casual business wear, athletic clothing and oven some really nice outerwear items, one of which was called “Sherpa Lined”.  It got me wondering…..does anyone here know what a Sherpa is?  

So I asked.

Didn’t get a single response other than “a coat liner”.  Well, kinda, but not really.  So what is or who is a Sherpa?

Sir Edmund Hillary and his "Sherpa" Tenzing Norgay - First pair to summit Everest

A Sherpa is an ethnicity of people who live mostly in Nepal, China, Tibet and India and they are specifically known for their ability as mountaineers and living in the harsh climates of the foothills of Mount Everest and they are remarkably able to sustain at very high altitudes as their blood carries in some cases almost triple the levels of oxygen that a normal person does.  They actually have three teams of Sherpa People for climbers trying to make a summit attempt on Mount Everest.  One team for base camp, one for middle camp and the heartiest of the bunch are called the “Summit Team”.  They all go up in advance of the climbers to help them along the way as the actual “climbers” have to stop three times on the way up to “acclimatize” themselves to the thinner air, often for weeks at a time.  If a person were to go from sea level to the summit of Everest the simple fact is, they would lose consciousness in a matter of seconds and die within minutes.  The Sherpa guides are there to take care of their needs.  They are truly remarkable humans.
Ed Viesturs and his "Sherpa" Jamling Norgay, who happens to be Tenzing's (pictured above) son.
The reason for this blog and tidbit of info?  Have you looked around you lately for your “Sherpa’s”?  Do you recognize this among your employees who always come through in a clutch?  Do you stop to thank the people who help you reach glory?  Do you have someone who truly is able to carry a heavier load or lead the charge while everyone else take a little time to adapt?  They are the people who truly make up the life blood of your business.  Yes, just like the Sherpa’s on Everest, I am sure your Sherpa’s are compensated, but the key here is to always remember that without them….your climb to the top would be a disaster.

Thanks for the read!