If you’re competing in the Fortune 500 (or planning to, one day soon), it’s important to be aware of the special visual branding requirements that make these companies different from other businesses.
The Changing Makeup of the Fortune 500
When Fortune created the 500 in 1955, only manufacturing, mining and energy companies were included. The list was originally called the Fortune Industrial 500. In 1995, service companies were included, and this changed the nature of the list right away, with Walmart taking the top spot.
A Fortune 500 company may be private or public, but the list is only for those incorporated in the USA. Although they are recognized globally, each one has a domestic side like all other American companies.
Special Requirements for Visual Marketing
Some Fortune 500 visual branding needs are the same as any business: identification from a distance, billboard advertising, wayfinding, interior signage and point-of-purchase displays. But some marketing jobs for signs and displays are of particular importance for the Fortune 500.
Graphics have a role in every aspect of corporate branding, starting with the logos and colors which differentiate one brand from another.
We all know that the brown truck with the gold logo is UPS (#41 on the 500 list). The white truck with the Blue/Red logo is FedEx (#47), and the gray truck with the blue swoosh logo is Amazon (#5).
Corporate logos, colors and branding themes are applied throughout Fortune 500 graphic communications on billboards, building signs, trucks, welcome desks and drop locations.
High Level Capability to Measure and Improve
Like all businesses, Fortune 500 visual branding seeks to promote the personality of the brand, enhance prestige, communicate quality and build brand loyalty. But unlike small businesses, these largest of all businesses also need to communicate less obvious messages about global standards, environmental sustainability and social responsibility.
With their substantial marketing resources, Fortune 500 companies are uniquely well equipped to use visual branding to support key performance indicators, capture feedback and calculate returns on signage and display investments for future decision-making based on hard data.
Engaging Customers Worldwide
The first objective of branding is customer engagement, and again this is where companies in the Fortune 500 have special requirements. Among Fortune’s most profitable companies are Apple (#3) and Microsoft (#26), global marketers who must create localized display strategies for customers of diverse cultures, at work in every corner of the world.
Some companies on the Fortune 500, such as the medical distributor McKesson (#7) or the investment advisor Berkshire Hathaway (#4) may not have stores requiring retail signage or digital point of purchase displays. But many others, such as CVS (#8) or Kroger (#20) most certainly do.
Whether a Fortune 500 location needs a monument sign, window displays or interior wall signs, their visual communications must accommodate many languages, with cultural affinity for local populations, while supporting universal brand messages of quality, sustainability and social responsibility.
Beyond the globalization of the company’s visual marketing, each sign must also do basic branding work, such as reinforcing the customer’s sense of belonging and expressing gratitude for customer loyalty.
Employee Engagement at Fortune 500 Scale
Another unique characteristic which separates the Fortune 500 from all other businesses is the sheer number of employees they must lead and inspire. Walmart tops the list with 2.2 million associates.
Employees are a special audience for messages which convey corporate objectives and values focusing on quality, customer service, productivity and team spirit. Often, the simplest and most emotional way to convey these values is through well-designed signs and displays.
Fortune 500 companies keep careful metrics to improve employee commitment, reduce accidents, prevent theft, improve attendance, reduce turnover and attract the best recruits. When these objectives must be conveyed to a work force of thousands — or to a hiring pool of millions — signs and displays are once again among the most effective tools.
To design a high-quality new sign, or to update your visual branding with a partner in the DFW metro, get a free estimate from Cowtown Graphics & Signs. Visit us online at www.cowtownsigns.com , or to speak with one of our expert advisors, call 817-446-6000.