Take truck branding to the next level
By James Auerbach
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Take truck branding to the next level

How to turn your vehicles into rolling billboards

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), approximately 11 million commercial trucks operated on American roads in 2018. That’s right — 11 million trucks. With such crowded roadways, standing out with memorable branding has never been more important.

Dan Hooks, CERP, president, Party Reflections, Charlotte, N.C., and American Rental Association (ARA) president, says truck branding is important to the success of his full-service event rental business.

“Without question, the best marketing decision we have ever made was to brand our trucks. With four locations, these trucks can be switched between markets with complete continuity and impact. As soon as I am introduced to someone, the first thing out of their mouth is that they see our trucks everywhere,” Hooks says.

The trucks at Party Reflections all match the colors and branding seen at the company’s multiple showrooms. They also display their website prominently and showcase large and colorful images of tables, linens and other equipment available to rent. As Party Reflections has grown, the trucks have helped extend brand recognition for the company. “They are rolling billboards that promote our regional brand with every mile they travel,” Hooks says.

Anyone who has ever visited California or Phoenix has probably seen the colorful and extremely memorable trucks from Bright Event Rentals. The company, with headquarters in Sonoma, Calif., has 10 California locations and one in Phoenix. The trucks literally are impossible to miss. Each truck features bright neon colors that extend from the top of the trucks and all the way down to the matching tires.

Bright’s trucks have become so recognizable over the years they have gained their own trending hashtag on Instagram — #ISpyBright — with more than 1,000 mentions. So why did Bright wrap their trucks this way?

“There is no more visible or memorable form of advertising in our industry than our trucks out and about in our communities. They need to be eye-catching, professional and indelible,” says Mike Bjornstad, CEO, Bright Event Rentals. “At one time or another, we’ve all been asked what we do. Inevitably, when we answer, the response is, ‘Oh, I see your trucks everywhere.’”

To extend this distinctive branding, Bright’s employees also wear matching shirts on job sites and the same colors are used on the company website and all marketing materials.

Elite Events & Rentals, Tampa, Fla., is a full-service event rental company that went multiple years with unbranded trucks. But after seeing more event rental companies in the competitive Florida market promote their new truck designs, the company’s executives knew it was time for a makeover for their fleet.

“We kept pushing off wrapping the delivery vehicles for years due to the associated costs and the downtime while the trucks were off the road. We were just too busy to pull the trucks off the road for an extended period,” says Brandon Ahlgren, CERP, Elite Events & Rentals president.

The impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19), however, quickly changed things. “When the pandemic slowed down our business, we decided it was the perfect opportunity to get the trucks wrapped,” Ahlgren says.

The positive response in the local region was almost immediate. The phones started ringing. “Within a week we received a call because they saw our truck and wanted a quote. This has been well worth it and I now wish we would had done it sooner,” Ahlgren says.

For more than 35 years, family-owned-and-operated Standard Event Rentals, Richmond, Calif., has served the Northern California region providing full-service event rentals for all size events. For most of its history, the company operated with unbranded trucks that did not display the company’s name or the different rental options and services available.

In 2021, Standard changed its name from Standard Party Rentals to Standard Event Rentals to better reflect the wide range of customers and rental options. Branding their trucks was a big part of the rollout of the new name.

“2020 lent itself to take a deeper look at our business and the services we offered, knowing 2021 would crave more. We started the year off with a rebrand bringing visibility to the depth of our capabilities and the cultivated rental experience that Standard Event Rentals offers,” says Isabel Galindo, senior vice president of sales and marketing. “From delivery to pick up, our new fleet design is an integral part of our brand exposure and client experience. The response thus far has proven to be worth the investment, and we are excited for what’s to come.”

There is no question that there is a real cost to a business to wrap trucks with colorful and memorable graphics and logos. But this added expense can be quickly negated by increased rental inquiries and long-term market recognition for a business. The bottom line is that a delivery fleet of trucks are all rolling billboards that are in front of thousands of potential new customers each day.

James Auerbach

James AuerbachJames Auerbach

James Auerbach joined the ARA in November 2020 after spending the past 25 years in the event rental, event planning/production, and hospitality industries. During his career, he managed businesses of various sizes from small owner-operated companies to large corporate or private equity-owned businesses. When he’s not working to support the event rental industry, Auerbach loves spending time with his wife, two kids, and two small dogs — Bella and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

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