Creating positive impressions for building occupants is essential. Often times, that impression is what determines whether or not a person returns to a facility. Which is why facility managers are getting creative at customizing exactly what message they want to communicate and how they will do so.

For example, while floor mats help keep floors looking their best, they too can make a lasting impression. In a floor care program, entryway floor matting is the most common product purchased by facility managers looking to create a unique image. Branding of floor care equipment and products also is possible, and gaining momentum, but distributors agree that branding floor matting is most common.

With matting, the possibilities for customization are nearly endless. Facility managers can convey a welcoming message with text, a logo and even a photograph.

Almost any type of mat can be customized in some fashion whether it’s an entrance or exit mat or even an anti-fatigue mat, says Eric Cadell, vice president of operations at Dutch Hollow Supplies, Belleville, Ill.

Because there are a plethora of options, Dan Ott, co-owner of Chicago-area Facility Supply Systems Inc., begins a discussion about entryway mats by asking his customers what they hope to accomplish. For example, he might ask: “Are you trying to enhance the appearance of the foyer, vestibule or lobby? Do you want to help prevent people from slipping and falling? Or, are you trying to assist in keeping the building clean?”

Once the customer’s needs are determined, distributors can offer a solution. Depending on the facility manager’s budget and the look that’s being sought, the solution may be standard matting, which manufacturers design to meet a wide range of needs. Other times, Ott finds a customer is looking for a more specialized problem-solver or a unique look.

“Typically with custom matting, we can do just about anything the customer wants,” Ott says.

Often matting is customized not because of branding, but because a custom cut is needed to cover the floor space, but there are many other ways to customize and create a distinct look. Distributors comment that mats can be ordered in a large variety of colors. For example, if a facility manager wants to have orange matting with a blue border, that can be done.

There are also many ways to add a logo — with a laser-cut inlay, flocking or applying color to the fabric. Ott prefers using a laser-cut inlay because, he says, the logo will last the life of the mat.

Whether it’s a high-rise condo requesting an address and photo of the facility, or a university showcasing their mascot, a customized entryway mat can help create a lasting first impression.

“It looks like the mat was designed to fit the space,” says Ott. “Generally when people incorporate logos, they’re trying to convey an impression.”

Hank Josephs, president of Rahway, N.J.-based Spruce Industries, does a lot of multi-color logos for universities, schools and management companies.

“Everybody is into branding and likes to see their name in lights,” Josephs observes. And why not, if the price is right?

Josephs says the up-charge for adding logos or names is minimal, maybe 10 to 15 percent. If the order is large enough, that additional charge might even be waived.

“It’s certainly not cost-prohibitive,” Josephs says. “If we’re talking about a 6’x10’, 6’x20’ or 3’x5’ with a logo, our experience is that it’s a minimal amount of money, and when people talk about branding, cost is an inconsequential conversation.”

Whether due to the low cost or the myriad customizable options, requests for these mats are increasing.

“Customized floor mats are an easy and low cost way to promote your brand,” says Melissa Schechter, vice president of Armchem, based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “This is a product that provides an important function while at the same time, enhances your company’s image.” 

In addition to branding, some distributors have seen an increase in floor matting used for facility layout. For example, hospitals are featuring floor plans on matting in various locations to help visitors see where they need to go next to reach their target destination.

According to distributors, the trend towards matting customization spans the market segments. In the past, it was common to find branded mats in school and hospital entrances, but today, commercial facilities, retail stores and restaurants are also hopping on board to brand themselves. 

REBECCA KANABLE is a freelance writer based in Milton, Wis.

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Benefits Of Branding Floor Care Equipment