How Our Print Products Feel Is More Important Than We Think
Remember when four-color printing was still something that people really "oohed" and "ahhed" over?
Don’t get me wrong. I know you and your customers still appreciate the importance of great-looking colored print products. But you have to admit that, at least to a certain degree, the novelty of a once astoundingly-vibrant colored brochure has worn off a bit.
It’s just what people expect today.
And perhaps that’s the nature of the beast: Once an advancement becomes more affordable and more widespread, we start to take it for granted.
But that’s got me thinking: What’s going to be the next “big thing” in print?
More than Just a New Print Feature: The Unsung Potential of Touch
One possibility for how print features will advance is in the area of tactile embellishments.
I’ve written before about my company making a major investment in spot UV, a technology that can create some pretty amazing textures on print collateral and other pieces — and do so at an affordable cost.
So maybe I’m biased about the whole texture-on-print thing.
On the other hand, I have to say I didn’t truly appreciate the potential that exists in the power of touch until I started looking more deeply at the research out there on the topic.
And a lot of it is pretty compelling.
For example, Joann Peck at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has devoted most of her research for the past 20 years to touch and consumer behavior. Findings that she and her colleagues have revealed include some pretty interesting implications for the print industry:
- Some people have an exceptionally high need for touch. They’re more likely to respond favorably to a company, service, or product when they encounter a textured piece of collateral.
- Conceptually matching a marketing message with a texture improves the effectiveness of the collateral. For example, imagine a nature conservancy including a tree bark-like texture on a postcard.
- The very act of handling a piece of print collateral can initiate feelings of psychological ownership and begin to create an emotional connection to the organization, service, or product that collateral represents.
- Textured labeling and packaging is a profoundly underused marketing differentiator, especially considering the research showing how people respond favorably to texture.
Changing directions slightly, there’s also encouraging research done by neuroscientist David Eagleman and his team on paper quality, digital screens, and reader responses. (You may have seen Eagleman on PBS with his “The Brain” series.)
They found that people who read — and touched — company brochures using high-quality coated paper ...
- Gave higher company favorability ratings
- Were more likely to recommend the company
- Were three times more likely to recall company names a week later.
This was in comparison with people who read the same company information on both low-quality, non-coated paper and on websites via digital tablet screens.
And I’m just scratching the surface.
Our customers are looking for an edge: are we helping them tap into touch?
Of course, I can’t say with certainty whether texture and other tactile-centric features will be the next big thing. And I don’t really think that’s the most important question. If you’re like me and my company, you think of yourself as more than just a print provider.
We love being able to consult with our clients and use our years of experience and knowledge to help them ultimately perform better. I’m convinced we need to delve deeper into the possibilities of how touch can play an even bigger role in the products our customers use.
There’s plenty of untapped potential. And that’s exciting for all of us.
Chris Yuhasz founded POV Solution as a basement desktop publishing business 27 years ago in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. POV Solution provides printing services from Cleveland, Ohio, servicing clients coast-to-coast with commercial printing, graphic design and spot UV printing for finishing services.