Feel the print

By John Blyth, Marketing and Communications Manager, Ricoh Graphic Communications, Ricoh Europe

It’s a well-known trope. Print is better than digital marketing at landing and implanting key messages. And is superior for brand building. It’s the physical connection that print delivers. And digital is not in the same ballpark.

But why do brands still put so much faith in online marketing? Especially in the face of many, many reports, often drawing on neuroscience to explain the ability of print’s haptic qualities to capture attention, stimulate emotions and create memories. Why are they willing to miss out on a huge opportunity?

One of the reasons is that too few advertising, marketing and creative executives are aware of the true potential of print to evoke emotion, and ultimately, action as well.

Touching something unlocks a sense of ownership, which helps to bind people to a printed page or book they are holding. Agency digital natives chasing likes and clicks are often blissfully unaware of the results that print could bring them.

It’s worth adding that the “touchiness” of print goes far beyond a nice premium stock to reflect the image of a luxury brand. Because there is a world of print embellishment that can magnify the potency of almost any application. Once the preserve of offset, advances in digital production technology mean that Digital Print Enhancement (DPE) is now most definitely “thing”.

For example, digital foiling affordably produces a genuine metallic texture and can create truly outstanding documents. Similarly, gloss varnish, applied selectively or in flood mode, adds a smooth, highly tactile, sheen.

Of course, DPE is not purely about texture. Special toner colours like white, neon, gold and silver will also lift any print document out of the ordinary. And research has shown on more than one occasion that print buyers are prepared to pay a healthy premium for the results they expect from such added value embellishments.

But, the fact remains, digital marketing still dazzles while print’s formidable capacity to engage consumers remains under the radar. And therefore, under-exploited.

So, how to tackle this situation?

Education, education, education. Talk to your digital print partner and absorb all the knowledge you can about the full capabilities of your digital print technology, and how to unleash them.

Don’t stop there though – talk to your contacts at paper suppliers and find out what substrates they offer that can really bring the wow. For example, Fedrigoni and Favini both have some spectacular eco-friendly products (not just paper either) that demand attention: yours, your clients, and their customers. While burnishing environmental credentials.

So, armed with the expertise and insights from these consultations, you can confidently set out, marching forward, holding high a torch for print. Evangelising its unique haptic properties which give it a true edge.

All hail print. Feel it, love it.