Think back to the last time you received a letter in the mail. Maybe it was for your birthday. Maybe it was for a holiday. Or, maybe it was a friend saying hello. Wasn’t it exciting? I bet you felt special receiving something that was made just for you. Plus, I’m sure it was nice to break up the clutter of bills and ads that you get every day in your mailbox.
What caused this feeling you may ask? The piece itself. But not just any piece. A print piece. Many companies in the internal communication industry are trying to move away from postcards and home mailers, and instead focus on creating apps and web portals for their employees to go to for the same information. While apps and web portals do provide employees easy access to communication, they often lack the authenticity that print pieces provide. So, in order to stay true to employees, it is important to keep in mind the following impacts of print pieces.
There is psychology behind print pieces.
In an interview with Dr. Jay Bernhardt, Dean of Moody College of Communication at University of Texas at Austin, he mentioned that students will be taught to incorporate more print work into their advertising campaigns.
Why? It gets and keeps people’s attention.
In a study done by USPS, it was found that printed materials get people to act, which is key to any company’s success. This is because printed pieces trigger activity in the reward center of the brain. When consumers hold your company’s material, they react strongly and truly value what is right in front of them. In other words, printed materials elicit a more positive reaction than digital ads.
Printed pieces also allow consumers to recall information they read better. From an employee communication perspective, this is extremely beneficial when a company is trying to communicate important benefits information that will impact an employee and their family’s everyday lives.
Because the stimulation is stronger in print versus digital work, it is important to take Dr. Bernhardt’s method to heart in your next campaign.
Print doesn’t have to stand alone.
Recently, Nike released a campaign dedicated to equality. The message of fairness, respect and power were communicated through social media posts, videos and print. Billboards and posters were placed all over U.S. and Canadian cities to get the message across in the areas that needed it to be heard the most. The poster wasn’t brief. The language wasn’t simple. The tone wasn’t lighthearted. It was real and harsh and meaningful. It made people stop and read, but most importantly, it made people react. The posters drew people online to videos and social media posts to learn more. The videos and social media posts made people stop and read the posters. Each element of the campaign was crucial to its success and would have not been successful with a piece missing.
Therefore, print should not be thought of as a stand-alone method of communication, but as a strong and vital piece to any campaign.
Print isn’t the same as it used to be.
We used to think, and sometimes still do, that print was simply a newspaper, magazine or postcard. While these areas of print still exist, they are no longer at the forefront of the print market. We are now seeing market segments such as direct mail, book printing and packaging grabbing the attention of consumers. What these pieces have in common is specialization.
- Direct mail targets a specific target audience and customizes the message to meet their needs. Thus, it physically goes into the hands of every member of the target audience and hits them with a point that connects with them, instead of a generic postcard that will get tossed aside.
- Book printing creates a well-crafted and visually appealing source of information. These books hook the reader with creative storytelling, which makes them want more. More importantly, these books break through the clutter of digital reading that people do every day on their mobile devices and on their computers at work. Therefore, readers are not only more interested, but they also experience less fatigue, creating a more positive reading experience.
- Packaging is all about presentation. Any time a consumer receives a product from your company, you have the opportunity to grab their attention before they even see your product. If the packaging is fun and engaging, the consumer is more likely to take interest in what is inside. Packaging gives you the opportunity to hook consumers around the globe with a first impression of your brand.
So, the next time you are thinking of creating a campaign, think about how you can utilize print to enhance your message and trigger a response from your consumers.