Haptics, Brains And Sensory Marketing
People are wired to respond to touch. We all know the emotional pull we feel when we touch smooth silk, a baby’s warm cheek or wrap up in a cozy knit blanket. But did you know that we also get emotional messages from the paper of a book, the finish of a toothpaste box or the feel of the paper used for a brochure we read while we wait in a doctor’s office?
The substrates you use, the finishes you apply and the hand of your printed pieces strongly influence consumers’ opinion of your products and services. In fact, your customer is evaluating and re-evaluating your brand, the quality of your product and your pricing strategy every time they touch one of your products, packages or printed pieces.
Touch is so elemental that scientists have recently elevated the study of touch into a discipline called Haptics. Haptics is any form of interaction involving touch. Haptic branding is a term applied when marketers use tactile elements to influence the way the brain perceives. Haptic branding explains why so many successful marketing professionals continue to rely on print as a key ingredient of the brand experience.
Sappi, a global provider of papers and pulps, has spent a lot of time educating the industry about the power of Haptics. Sappi’s report on Haptic Branding emphasizes that the way people see and interpret the world is fundamentally rooted in their physical bodies. As a result, the way packaging, printed materials or paper feel profoundly influences not only the user’s comprehension, but also triggers emotional connections.
Neuroscience tells us that about half of the brain is devoted to processing sensory experiences. Touch, in particular, is an important part of the communication process. After all, you have over 5 million sensory nerve receptors in your skin. While there’s been a lot of research on touch, some of this is pretty intuitive. Many of us have felt that sense of wonder when we unpack a new Apple product from its smooth yet velvety box. Perhaps you’ve seen the glossy printed patterns inside a Vera Bradley shipping box. Some of you lucky readers will know what it’s like to peruse a Monocle magazine and experience their thoughtful use of paper and stock. The list of haptic brands goes on and on.
In the March 2015 Harvard Business Review Aradhna Krishna, from the Sensory Marketing Laboratory at the University of Michigan, weighed in on sensory marketing. She noted, “In the past, communications with customers were essentially monologues—companies just talked at consumers. Then they evolved into dialogues, with customers providing feedback. Now they’re becoming multidimensional conversations, with products finding their own voices and consumers responding viscerally and subconsciously to them.”
Are you considering the impact touch has on your brand perception? Are you thinking about how a customer, client, prospect or stakeholder feels when they hold your printed materials? What does your paper choice and printing technique communicate? Is your printing style aligned with your other brand efforts? Are you allowing the lingering impression of print to lead into a deeper connection to your communications and your brand?
If you’re ready to discover the power of haptic branding, contact us to set up a consultation on how to take your printed communications to the next level.
Intelligencer became one of the oldest printing companies in North America by constantly improving and innovating printing, direct mail, fulfillment and customized services. We don’t rest on our 200 years of experience. Intelligencer continually pushes the boundaries of technology to provide the latest advances in the art and science of printing. It’s no wonder we’re the preferred print supplier for so many Fortune 500 companies throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic .