Making sense: Touch

Humans are a highly sensitive species, our decision-making and emotions are greatly affected by our senses.

Recent research suggests that marketers should focus on the senses to better influence their audience. At first thought it may seem an area reserved only for coffee retail giants, high street bakeries or fashion brands. However, many alternative brands are capitalising on the power of sensory awareness to create a stronger, more enduring relationship with their audience.

For many years print media has been under pressure from digital. From a commercial point of view it’s easy to see why; digital delivery is instant, finding content is easy (in theory), updates are instant and low cost, analytics, distribution, storage, portability and engagement are all part of the digital appeal. Companies throughout the globe must keep with the times in order to compete in a world of disruption. Despite the wholly attractive advantages of digital, physical media has a few trump cards hidden between the pages…

According to a study by Millward Brown, printed media creates a longer lasting first impression and leaves a deeper footprint on our brain. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) brain scans show that our brains process digital and tactile differently — in particular printed ads created more emotional processing. Since it has a physical place, printed media engages with the brain’s spatial memory networks and memories created were likely to be more vivid.1

The overwhelming prevalence of digital also offers thoughtfully designed physical media an air of exclusivity. We touch our phones an almost unbelievable 2,617 times per day on average.2 So when an engaging texture, beautiful emboss or satisfyingly weighted document or product is held in the hand, it’s not surprising that the experience can be more memorable than the digital alternative, especially when you consider that humans have evolved and flourished using touch and texture as a means of survival and communication.

To be truly memorable, marketing should try to encompass every human sense in a consistent and coherent way.

¹ Source: Brainfluence by Roger Dooley
² Source: Dscout