Merchandising is the technique of adding elements to any marketing effort to enhance the visual appeal. This week we are going to look at some of the most important elements to consider when adding graphical cues to your proposals, presentations and advertising.
Some have a gift for visual display and some do not. If you do, congratulations! If not, join the ranks! I depend on more visually creative types to source photographs, recognize good color combinations and to construct advertising. If you need this type of assistance, you are well advised to find and use it.
A good starting point is to understand well what you are marketing. If your objective is more strategic you are likely to be building your brand. If your objective is more tactical, you are more likely to be attempting to engage viewers in purchase of a particular type of travel such as a group cruise you are organizing. In either case, remain true to your brand and incorporate your company’s core ethic and mission statement into your creative.
Make it easy to identify your company as the origin of the effort by prominent display of your logo, company name and contact information. Also include a strong call to action. In some instances this may be as direct as “Call Now!” In others it may be a more subtle request for a “Like” inherent in the context of a Facebook post. In either case, give consideration to each of these elements. The graphical cues you utilize are there to support your company’s effort – your travel practice is the “Star” of the effort. Don’t allow the props to detract from your mission – be direct in what you are trying to accomplish.
Every visual aid you use should connect two points: your brand and an emotional keystone in your viewer. Only use visual aids that are complementary to your brand. For example, if your travel practice specializes in luxury travel planning, a dollar sign graphic would be a poor choice as a visual cue. Likewise, if your travel practice promotes green travel, graphics of animals and jungle would be better choices than cityscapes. Consider the context of your readership. If you are marketing to a clientele that identifies with health, fitness and spirituality, graphics evoking yoga postures or outdoor activities may resonate better than photographs of tour buses.
Choosing the right graphical elements for your marketing takes time. I make heavy use of istockphoto. Whatever site you use, however, will likely present you with an overwhelming number of possibilities. Here is an excellent article on the use of stock photography. http://www.onextrapixel.com/2009/11/06/the-analysis-of-choosing-the-right-images-and-stock-photography-sites/
Tomorrow: Your company’s visual system