Tourism Marketing Logo

Spaced Repetition

Let’s start in Pre-School; the teacher stands at the head of the class and holds up a flash card. She wants to teach the children names of body parts and shows a card with the word Eyes and a picture of a pair of eyes.

This same flash card is shown just a few moments later, then the interval between exposures is slowly stretched out until it is a day or two between showings. The technique is called Spaced Repetition and it is how we learn. In fact a friend on mine, David Wright says Spaced Repetition isn’t just one way we learn, it’s the only way we learn.

It turns out that David is a marketing genius and successful businessman.

Flash Card
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Logo from 1956

Now that we understand how everyone learns everything, we need to apply this information to our tourism marketing activities. Let’s start with something simple, like a logo:

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Logo Used Today

These multi-billion dollar corporations spend millions of dollars understanding marketing and they practice the exact same techniques we are discussing here. They never, ever change parts of their message. Colors, style, and some images do not vary.

The average person needs three impressions to store an item in short-term memory and five and one-half impressions to commit something to long-term memory. Of course, we cannot have half an impression, so we need to expose our visitors to our message six times.

The reason the logos above never change is that if you pull out a new logo or style, you re-set the six exposure counter. As small business will be lucky to get all six exposures in, so it’s foolish to change mid-stream.

In more actionable terms, your brochure must match your website and that must match the sign in your parking lot. Someone driving down the street with directions from your website on their phone is looking for the green & blue logo on the website, not the yellow sign in your parking lot.

Hopefully, you will begin to understand the real power behind email and Facebook. I am always amused by the gurus espousing the two-way conversation dribble about Facebook. The power behind Social Media is Spaced Repetition. The other stuff is just a side show.

You need your image to appear in the tourist’s Facebook feed every evening for a week or two before they leave on vacation. They are far more likely to turn when they see that exact same style, logo, and tag line on the sign saying “Turn Here!” because they believe they know all about your business.

To close, every last business card, brochure, online property, and sign must match. And it doesn’t count to just hang six signs around inside your store because the mind must re-set between exposures. The period between exposures must force the viewer to reach into his long-term memory and retrieve the image and recall what it is. The image in question: your professionally produced, stylish logo that never changes.

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