• Tom Jackson on Wildfires and Monument Billboards

    Insider talked with Veale Outdoor’s Tom Jackson about the Santa Rosa, CA company’s innovative monument sign program and what it’s like to operate a billboard plant when wildfires sweep your market.

    What impact did the October 2017 Northern California wildfires have on your company?

    The wildfires in Santa Rosa/Sonoma County, CA had a significant impact on our company. While we didn’t lose any structures, the severity of the wildfires and our office’s proximity to the damage in the commercial area of Santa Rosa that was affected closed our office for eight days. Our office is located on a street that was in an evacuation area and we weren’t allowed access for four days and power, internet and other utilities were out of service for eight days. We were unable to communicate directly with our digital billboards during this time due to our inventory being directly tied to the server and internet connection in our office. During this period we had to work with the manufacturer YESCO and their support team to update the digital billboards. YESCO and its team were very helpful but even with their assistance we weren’t able to respond in “real” time to provide community service alerts and update advertisers message’s to messages of support for the community.

    How did you change your operation as a result?

    Not being able to access our digital inventory directly for eight days caused us to take a hard look at our operation. We are now in the process of moving our digital inventory to the IBO (Independent Billboard Operators of America) FUZE support system utilizing the Apparatix operational administration system. We will still maintain control of all sales, contracts, posting etc. but this system will move our inventory to the IBO FUZE/Apparatix cloud based operating system which will allow us to access our inventory from any location in the event of another natural disaster in Northern California.

    Veale Outdoor monument sign with fire support message.

    Veale Outdoor Advertising has some amazing looking monument digital billboard signs. What gave you this idea?

    When we began our investigation into adding digital billboards to our inventory we drove Northern California to look at the digital billboards that had already been developed and decided we’d like to do something that stood out and looked good instead of just being a digital billboard. When we started working on our first digital unit we took into account the wishes of the local government officials to not build a “TV on a stick”, the aesthetics of the local community and worked with the sales staff at YESCO to design and ultimately build Veale Outdoor Advertisings signature looking monument digital billboards.

    Whose digital signs do you use and what have you learned?

    At this time our digital inventory are all YESCO signs. I think one of the main things we’ve learned regarding the manufacturing is that digital billboards provide a great service to advertisers and especially local advertisers by making the purchase of advertising time convenient and affordable. From a manufacturing point we’ve learned that it is important to have a great relationship with the sales team and support team.

    What are the pros and cons of digital monument signs?  There are many more pros than cons. Pros include community members, government officials and advertisers all comment on how great the signs look when compared to some other digital signs. During most initial meetings with prospective advertisers they say how nice the signs looks.

    The only con that I can think of is the cost to build these monument digital billboards is greater than the average looking digital billboard. However, given the good will with advertisers, local communities and government officials we’re going to continue to build monument digital billboards as we grow.

    You can watch a two minute video featuring the company’s monument signs below.

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