While a lot of businesses are rushing to join the digital advertising bandwagon, there’s still a solid rationale for using analogue banners. They’re cheaper, portable, re-usable, easy to maintain, and in many ways, more versatile than digital billboards. You don’t need a programming expert, electricity, or fast computer processing speeds to run them.
Plus, as much as humans are constantly glued to their screens – maybe even because we’re constantly glued to our screens – there’s a special impact that comes from things we can physically see, touch, and smell. Our addiction to the digital, in some ways, enhances of our offline experience when we pause long enough to recognise it.
So now that you’re sold on the idea of using actual banners, you still have to choose between stands and flags. Each banner type has its pros and cons, and there’s no reason why you can’t use them in combination. But in situations where you have to make the choice, here are some tips to guide your decision.
Variety vs specialisation
There are two main types of banners – vertical and horizontal (or rather, landscape and portrait). While these could be divided into sub-categories like retractable, backlit, desktop, or pull-up, the main distinction is in the layout, and the layout defines the nature of your graphics and wording. In most of the Western world, we read things top-to-bottom, left-to-right, so the orientation of your banner controls which part of your banner customers will see first, or pay the most attention to. Clever design and careful focus matters.
On the other hand, flags offer lots more options. There could be made of paper, polyester, or PVC, printed on one side or both. They can be mounted on walls, cars, or handed out to passing customers at a parade or festival. They could be strung up like fairy lights or placed outside your shop door. They could be attached to street poles, tops of buildings, or even the hats of models and sales teams. They could have national colours or brand logos. They also come in a variety of shapes from triangular buntings to feathers, teardrops, and standard landscape national flags.
Attention vs communication
The primary selling point of flag banners is that they flap in the wind, so they instantly draw your attention. You can’t help looking at them and smiling. Feather banners sometimes have a spinning axis that allows them to rotate in the wind, for greater visual effect. However, while the flapping and spinning in flags is eye-catching, it can make it hard to read the messages printed on them. At the same time, flags are smaller, so they hold fewer words.
Therefore, it’s best to minimise your wording and stick to easily recognisable icons like a logo, a mascot, or a visual reference. That’s possibly why national flags and family crests have no words on them. On the other hand, banner stands have lots of room and a more captive audience, so you can include detailed messaging and communicate more effectively. Just make sure you don’t put too much wording or your clients will get bored and move on.
Portability vs Impact
In many ways, a flag banner offers more mobility than a banner stand, because any puff of air will make it twitch, and that slight lateral movement could be enough to catch the corner of a customer’s eye and make them to turn to look at your flag. This means the icon printed on that flag is more likely to be remembered, due to the repeated exposure. Also, hand flags can be a take-home option for customers. Flags are generally mounted high, so customers can see them from all over the field or hall.
Banner stands are mostly stationary, in the sense that customers have to be in close proximity to view them. They often have to stand a few feet away on order to read the message. Still, banner stands are quicker to set up than flags, so you can move them around your exhibition booth to get the optimum position. They’re larger than flags as well, so they have a stronger visual impact in terms of branding. In this sense, flags are accessories, while banner stands are the ‘main furniture’ that engages your customers.
Flags and banner stands both have their uses in outdoor events, so it’s really about mixing and matching. While you’re driving to the venue, flap some flags on your car mirrors, street poles, or along the path to your exhibition booth. They help to ‘light the way’. But at the booth itself, banner stands are the best way to show your customers what you have to offer.