By Nell Withers McCauley, CCC, SEDC

Carroll EMC 2018 Spotlight on Excellence Gold Award Winner for Best Graphic Design

Carroll EMC’s golden opportunity began with a simple request to update a lineman equipment trailer. This trailer is used for the annual statewide lineman’s rodeo and out-of-town storm work. Updated, professional images can instantly convey a message going down an interstate highway or rural byway.

“The paint on the trailer was starting to fade and not looking top-notch. I saw how some other utilities had wrapped theirs and they looked nice. Wherever our trailer went, I wanted it to project a positive image of our co-op, and I think we’ve accomplished that,” says Tommy Cook, Carroll EMC Construction Manager.

Cook gave Carroll EMC’s communications team creative freedom requesting that they include a photo of a lineman and Carroll EMC’s logo in the final design. Kelly Hester, Carroll EMC’s Communications and Corporate Events Coordinator brainstormed internally and teamed up with Trina Farris with Wilson Graphic Designs to create the eye-catching mobile message.

The design started with a Touchstone Energy stock photo of a lineman. Farris then took their ideas and created the final design in Adobe Photoshop utilizing a background image purchased from Adobe Stock for $10. After coordinating with a local printer to ensure all the artwork specifications were correct, the artwork was printed and mounted to the trailer.

Since getting the revamped trailer back, the Carroll EMC linemen have used the trailer for the Georgia Lineman Rodeo and International Lineman Rodeo in Kansas City. It is also used during storm events to assist other cooperatives. The last few years, Carroll EMC has also begun storing tents in the trailer thus providing another opportunity to share their mobile message with communities.

Making this work at your cooperative.

Finding the Right Message

The Spotlight on Excellence program provides inspiration to incorporate winning ideas into your communications programs. When taking a closer look at the opportunity of mobile messaging using vehicle graphics, two essential elements come into play: messaging and design. For both of these, the gold standard is the K.I.S.S. method of communication – Keep It Short and Simple.

How many words would you use if your vehicles were billboards? The general rule is that you only have 7 to 10 seconds to tell your story. Like Carroll EMC, a 2018 Spotlight on Excellence winner, your cooperative can also convey a message with a striking image, cooperative logo, and limited text.

Creating the perfect mobile message is daunting and remembering these tips can help:

  • Know the number one piece of information you want people to remember. Your cooperative name might be the most important takeaway. Highlight what makes your cooperative standout.
  • Replace words with an eye-catching design that effectively convey the message. Think about what you notice when you see a vehicle on the road with a mobile message and develop your design with this in mind.
  • Make it easy for the viewer to contact the cooperative by including a telephone number and website.

Carroll EMC lets their powerful image, logo and tagline tell the story wherever the lineman trailer goes. How will you incorporate these ideas at your cooperative and create your golden opportunity?