8 - February 2018 Woodall’s Campground Management MODERN MARKETING Evanne Schmarder Don’t Overlook the Power of Visuals in Marketing Efforts I’ve spoken a lot about brands and branding over the years. I’m still “all in” — and you should be, too. Understand- ing your brand and telling your story continues to be the lifeblood of success- ful marketing campaigns. Consumers are hungry to connect with ideas and organizations that match their values, reflect their dreams and improve their lives.Fortunatelyforus,theoutdoorhos- pitality industry is made for connecting — connecting families, connecting to nature, connecting to our adventurous side, connecting to our best selves. Regardless of your brand, you have a storytotell.Isitthatyouareamom-and- pop park opening for the umpteenth year? Are you part of a franchise that delivers quality experiences across the country? From rustic to urban, family- focused to 55-plus, the act of opening and operating a business presents a brand image. So how do you communi- cate that story and connect? Scientific studies have taught us that color and movement capture attention. MIT found that we can understand the meaning of an image in 13 milliseconds. We remember images and recognize them long after we’ve seen them. In 1982, a firm reviewed 55 individual experiments regarding text, illustration and learning. It determined that adding visuals with text resulted in an astonish- ing 323% increase in following directions. What marketer in their right mind would ignore the power of visuals? Creating Visuals The term “visuals” is broad. A visual mightbeaphoto,avideo,anillustration, an infographic, a chart, a drawing. In past columns I’ve talked extensively about today’s most relevant types of visual content. For our purposes here let’s take a closer look at creating photo- graphs and videos. With their ever-increasing image quality, storage capacity, ease of use and omnipresence, smartphones are my recommended tool to capture both stills and video. Why? Nearly everyone has a smartphone, the learning curve is small andit’slessinvasivewhenfilmingpeople. Consider these points when develop- ing your visual content: • Assign image capturing as you would any other job duty. Chances are good that your youngest to your oldest staff members are familiar with smart- phones and know how to use them. Ask team members to volunteer for these job duties (on the clock of course) and ask to see examples of their work. Choose two to three individuals to be yourroamingphotographers/videogra- phers throughout the season. Schedule two hours per week for each individual. Be clear on what you are looking for both in content and quantity. Evaluate the visuals after the first two weeks and provide direction. •Shoothi-resimages.Camerasshould be set to the highest resolution setting. While smaller images are best for a web- site and social sharing — images can always be reduced in size, but never bumped to a higher resolution — larger images may come in handy for printed collateral, newspaper articles, etc. • Think in a series. Rather than a bevy ofone-offshots,askyourphotographers toshootwithaseriesinmind.Thismight be family fun, craft workshops or other activities you are known for like camp- fires, sports and games and the like. It’s All In the Edit Oncethefilmisinthecan,sotospeak, it’s time to edit. Again, search your staff for an individual that’s comfortable and experienced with editing video and/or photographs. If necessary, choose one staff member for each modality, but use thesameeditorthroughouttheseasonto maintain a similar look and feel to the final product. Consider these tools when editing your visual content: • At their most basic and available, WindowsMovieMakerandAppleiMovie can be used for video editing. • Photos can be edited using a num- ber of free tools including Instagram, Adobe Photoshop Express or Pixlr Editor to name a few. • Add illustrative effects to an image with Prisma or PicMonkey, the former free,thelatterapproximately$12/month. • Both PicMonkey and Canva will allow you to add text to an image. See and Be Seen The visual content created allows a smart modern marketer numerous opportunities to share their brand mes- sage across the marketing landscape. From Facebook to Instagram, Pinterest to Snap, your website and even in print, having ample visual content leaves you a few steps ahead of the game. Great images alone, however, are not enough. Fold a few unusual campaigns into your visual content marketing mix to garner buzz and interaction. Consider modeling these successful ideas when marketing via your visual content: • A fun and friendly back-and-forth battle between parks (think best bonfire, relaxing spot, nature moment, piece of play equipment) can spark interest in your brand and the outdoor hospitality industry. Look to the #CuteAnimalTweet Off for inspiration and engage a few of your peer parks to build excitement and anticipation. • Develop a short themed campaign and post to the theme daily. TOMS One Day#WithoutShoesInstagramprojectis a great example to study. Here are a few theme ideas to get you started: count- down to summer, six days of setting up camp, nature’s seasons unfolding and outdoor adventure A-Z. •The#StraightOuttaSomewherecam- paign, created to promote the movie Modern Marketing – continued on page 40