Because we live in a visual world with nanosecond attention spans, the words on your sign are as important as the colors you choose and the type of signage (banner, yard sign, sandwich board, etc.) you select. The following are a handful of brainstorm-like questions to help you achieve marketing brilliance:

The five types of power questions to start the ball rolling in the right direction:

  1. R-Mode. These questions use the right side of the brain, which thinks in images and patterns rather than words.
  2. What-if. These types of questions, popular with children, encourage imaginative thinking.
  3. Wild-card. Think of ‘The Riddler’ in Batman. Wild-card questions stretch the limits of credulity, and may turn up unexpected ideas or problems.
  4. So-what. These questions turn assumptions on their ear, by asking why we believe what we do or why a certain product’s features matter.
  5. Appreciative. This type of question, as its name implies, focuses on what’s right with the situation rather than on what needs to be changed.

Some ways to delve into the question categories:


  • What is beautiful or unusual about this product or service?
  • At a gut level, how do I feel about this product/service?
  • What do I hope will happen? What am I afraid might happen?


  • What if we failed — what good might emerge from that?
  • What if we toss out everything we think we know and start fresh?
  • What if I let my team handle this with no input from me?


  • What trends could alter our business completely?
  • What could decimate us?


  • What’s so terrific about our new product? This type of question requires participants to drill down to essence level: if they keep asking about the product, eventually they’ll arrive at the core reason your improvements make a difference for the customer (such as increased productivity).


  • What do we do well?
  • What’s the grandest version of our highest vision?

Marcel Proust said, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” Asking powerful questions will help your business create eye-opening sign verbiage that causes potential customers to stop, take a second look — and enter your place of business.