“Print is dead!” – such was the cry of the online marketers as they marched towards the digital world, celebrating the triumph over printed material of social media, blogs, hashtags and all the rest. But, just as quickly as the rumours of this death ran wild, so the marketing experts are now once again quiet. Printed paper lives on. More than ever, perhaps? In any case it is alive, with a greater sense of quality.
Print equals image
Brand communication should ideally address all of the senses: in contrast to digital media, print can also activate the sense of touch. “Print is not dead, but its role has changed: Print is today understood as something far more sustainable; not just in ecological and economic terms, but also as regards content and feel. If you hold something in your hands - and I don’t mean a smartphone – then you expect high quality at every level. Print therefore has the task of properly presenting itself.”
The haptic effect
Touch is our most important sense. It gives us a feeling for the truth. We can fail to see or hear each other, but we never fail to feel. Physical advertising is a marketing effect amplifier; the recipient’s sense of touch produces various psychological effects through the feel of an object. We call this the “haptic effect”.
The endowment effect
We psychologically take possession of what we hold in our hands and touch – thus increasing its subjective value and our readiness to purchase and contemplate the price. Touchable ad-specials for example allow brands to aim for this effect.
The irradiation effect
The characteristics that our hands feel are unconsciously radiated from the perceived quality of an object to its value: what feels good must be good. This is true not only for products, but also for communication media and the messages they convey.
The priming effect
Haptic signals stimulate our perception and our behaviour, with for example test subjects assessing an applicant as more competent if they are holding the latter’s CV on a heavy clipboard in their hands instead of a light one.
Conclusion: the mix is decisive
As the renowned marketing expert Professor Kotler has stated, the art of marketing consists in finding the right mix. The recipe is what makes the difference – and this holds true for marketing communication too. It is therefore worthwhile to further consider the innovations in print as a possible part of a successful marketing mix – and to give the haptic aspect a similar weighting as content and graphic design.