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Branding Reaches Parking Payment

June 19, 2017

Renee Smith

When it comes to parking technology, branding isn’t exactly a new concept. App providers have provided their customers unique branding offerings for several years.


For instance, white labeling of parking payment apps and the associated signage was considered groundbreaking just a few years ago, but today it’s commonplace.


Most communities that offer pay-by-phone have their own municipal logos prominently displayed on both their apps’ smartphone interfaces and all of the on-street signage associated with their payment programs.


The idea is to establish ownership of the systems among users, while at the same time letting parkers know how to use the system.


Pay-on-foot, access and revenue control, and “smart” meters have long been staples of the parking world. Custom art hasn’t been a priority of parking owners in the past, and as a result, most parking equipment has typically carried the branding of its manufacturer.


While the art on the equipment was primarily designed to let parkers know how to properly use it, the overall design scheme revolved around the manufacturers’ branding. It has always been pretty easy for the parker to tell who manufactured the equipment—if he or she actually cared about that sort of thing.


Today, however, parkers are increasingly likely to use parking equipment that’s branded with the parking owners’ themes. Over the past few years, there has been a trend among parking owners to extend their brand to the curb or into the parking structure to kick off patrons’ visit on a positive note.


Businesses don’t want their customers getting ticketed — 


or worse, towed — because they’ve accidentally parked in the wrong parking lot!


As a result, parking technology providers are getting more creative about providing custom art to their equipment, and they are working closely with the parking owners they represent to ensure that the custom art they are creating is closely aligned with their customers’ brands.


Take, for instance, the example of Jungle Island, a theme park in Miami. Its management had images of animals and people added to the parking payment kiosks serving the park. They understood that their patrons’ visit begins at the parking space, and they wanted the initial impression of the visit to be fun and appealing. At the same time, by decorating the equipment with the park’s branding, they were able to clearly demonstrate to patrons that they were using the proper parking areas.


Similarly, Ark Encounter, a religious-themed park in Williamstown, KY, added artistic themes closely aligned with their branding to the parking equipment. The park has a brand guideline that it compares to the “thickness of a phone book,” so creating the artwork required working hand-in-hand with Ark’s graphics team to extend the branding to the parking system, it successfully did.


Extending the user experience to the curb is always a primary consideration in adding the owner’s branding to parking equipment. The strategy also can be beneficial for directing patrons to appropriate parking facilities. This is particularly useful in urban or closely developed areas where there is limited parking and where parking is at a premium.


Businesses don’t want their customers getting ticketed — or worse, towed —because they’ve accidentally parked in the wrong parking lot! Clearly labeled equipment can help direct parkers to appropriate areas and reassure patrons that they are indeed parking in the right place.


This branding trend also can provide new opportunities to extend a business’ services to the parking lot, as well. For instance, some hotels have begun adding key depositories next to parking payment areas to give guests who left with their keys a last chance to drop them off.Extending a business’ branding to its parking equipment provides a number of benefits to both the business and its patrons.


From the business’ perspective, branded parking equipment essentially provides free advertising at the street level. It also assures that patrons’ first experience is a positive one.


At the same time, branded parking equipment provides a subtle way to direct patrons to appropriate parking areas and assure patrons that they are parked in the right place.


When it comes to parking equipment, branded artwork is a strategy whose time has come.


Renee Smith, JD, MBA, is President and CTO of Parking BOXX, a leading provider of parking payment technologies. Contact her at r@parkingboxx.com.



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