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Reach Out and Touch Someone

Posted Monday, December 21, 2015

Reach Out and Touch Someone | H&H Graphics

As you stand in your kitchen, sorting through the day's mail, you hardly pay attention as you toss pieces into piles... bill, bill, junk, bill, junk... Suddenly, you feel something different. That's strange. It doesn't feel like paper. You take a closer look and realize it is a printed direct mail piece but it feels soft. You are compelled to look closer and read the text. After feeling the soft sensation, you are also more open-minded. As a result, you decide you are interested in the product being advertised, and you decide to buy.

Does that seem far-fetched? Not according to new research by a team from Yale, Harvard and MIT. Their study, reported in the June 25, 2010 issue of Science concluded that "our sense of touch profoundly affects how we view the world and other people, influencing thought and behavior."

The sense of touch originates in the bottom layer of your skin called the dermis. The dermis is filled with thousands of tiny nerve endings that relay information about the things you come in contact with. The information is carried to the spinal cord, which sends the message to the brain where the feeling is registered. Given that, it only makes sense that touch can influence behavior. According to Christopher Nocera, a graduate student at Harvard who worked on the study referenced above, "touch remains perhaps the most under appreciated sense in behavioral research" and experiments suggest that "greetings involving touch, such as handshakes and cheek kisses, may in fact have critical influences on our social interactions in an unconscious fashion." If that's true, then what about printed greetings?

Certainly there are many options for adding tactile effects to your printed pieces. We have inks that are made to feel raised (it was originally used to print Braille), gritty (think sandpaper) and soft. When combined in different ratios, we can get print to feel like just about anything. We've created the feel of duct tape, a basketball, a baby chick and sea salt just to name a few. That means that your piece can be felt as well as seen, and as a result you are likely to get an increased return on your marketing investment.

The researchers from the June study concluded that first impressions drawn from a tactile environment "may be especially important for [those] interested in interpersonal communication. The use of ‘tactile tactics' may represent a new frontier in social influence and communication." And, after all, as marketers and printers, aren't we all looking for a new frontier?

To discuss putting a tactile finish on your next printed piece, call us at 847-933-9470 or...

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