In a personal service business like travel consulting, it is easy to forget the importance of fundamental marketing techniques and concepts. One such neglected topic is the art of visual merchandising – developing the visual creative to accompany your advertisements, proposals, presentations and other client communications to enhance their appeal. Properly done, visual merchandising makes it easier to engage both the client’s emotional responses to your presentations and their intellectual understanding of your offer.
A great example of visual merchandising is the window displays in major departments stores. The display draws the eye of the shopper, engages their interest, inspires and creates empathy and generates the desire to make a buying decision. Many storefront travel agencies do an excellent job of their display advertising for their windows and storefronts.
Beyond the storefront, however, is an entire array of opportunities to engage the consumer at an emotional level, to provide a portal through which to draw their interest. The better we are at visual merchandising, the better we will be at client engagement and motivation. For example, you would likely find this article less engaging if it were not visually merchandised with the pictures accompanying it.
At a more abstract level, your proficiency at merchandising does a lot to define your brand. When visual merchandising takes a prominence in your practice, clients take notice and associate your travel practice with the images you project.
Here’s a quick example using a travel quote you may know:
“Travel brings power and love back into your life.” ~ Rumi
And here is the same quote, visually merchandised:
With the simple addition of a graphic element, the quote comes to life. The quote plus the graphic now evokes much stronger emotion and appeals to not only the intellect but the spirit. The graphic speaks to yoga, to prayer, to spirituality and to the power of travel to transform. Best of all, the reader is likely to identify the positive emotional appeal of the experience with your brand.
Done well incorporating visual elements into your marketing will enhance many fold the degree to which you draw your clients into your brand. Get the picture?